digital literacy

Media Literacy Critical in Today’s Schools

John Urkevich, Executive Director of Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis, Inc. discusses the need for media literacy training in schools:

Outreach and Development Coordination

Organization: 
Playing to Win (PTW)
VISTA Name: 
Kristen Wernicke
Program Start: 
6/2003
Program End: 
6/2004
Project Description: 

In the fall of 2003, the Playing2Win organization welcomed the assistance of two Vista- Fellows: Mr. Max Benitez, Youth Technology Instructor, and Ms. Kristin Wernicke, Outreach and Development Coordinator. During the course of their tenure, Mr. Benitez and Ms. Wernicke served the center in several component capacities.

As Outreach and Development Coordinator, Ms. Wernicke’s responsibilities included the following:

•Researched, coordinated, wrote, and edited general operation and program-specific grants including those to AOL, Ford Foundation, C. Virginia Fields Borough Needs, Home Depot, and William T Grant Foundation.

•Developed and maintained relationships with youth, media, non-profit, and public interest organizations on the local and national levels, including the above mentioned Harlem organizations as well as the Global Action Project, Educational Video Center, Reel Youth, Camp Interactive, Manhattan Community Boards 10 and 11, and community websites east-harlem.org, mibarrio.org.

•Created local resource list for community technology center issues and similar organizations.

•Worked on building an infrastructure for outreach (i.e., managing and creating databases) that is accessible to youth and other staff.

•Developed and maintained outreach database

•Expanded and intensified program partnerships in New York City and the US

•Developed programs and assisted with planning for future outlook of the community technology center

•Researched and wrote both general operation and specific program grants

Project Outcome: 

Vista Fellows were involved with the following:

• The development of research instruments and conduct of an on-going survey of 100 participants and adult and youth programs to better serve our community.

• The development of volunteer support program for the ongoing support of 10 volunteers and recruitment of 10 others.

• Oversaw teacher support assessments and provided ongoing support for 4 teachers in youth and adult programs.

• Provided technical support for our center to keep the 50 machines and network running smoothly

• Assisted with the development of 5-10 proposals to raise approximately $100,000

• Assisted in the development of our Job Training Program recruitment and development.

Impact Quote: 

As the purpose of the AmeriCorps*VISTA program is to provide useful outreach to local communities, our participants echoed their sentiment through visible outreach and service projects. One example I am reminded of was the special PBS viewing of “Every Mother’s Son,” coordinated by Mr. Bentinez. The event called for local law enforcement agents and community members to come together in support of the idea of social change, justice and a forum for communication and healing. This project used the power of media and the passion of human nature to discuss the realities of police brutality in New York City. This event is also an example of a sustainable solution effort and the ability of change.
- Shawna BuShell, Executive Director

Youth Technology Instruction

Organization: 
Playing to Win (PTW)
VISTA Name: 
Max Benitez
Program Start: 
8/2003
Program End: 
8/2004
Project Description: 

In the fall of 2003, the Playing2Win organization welcomed the assistance of Mr. Max Benitez as Youth Technology Instructor. As Youth Technology Coordinator/Instructor, Mr. Bentinez’s responsibilities included:

•Assistant Instructor of Media Literacy and Video Editing to the Middle School Youth After-School Program

•Assistant Instructor of iMovie video editing workshop for Playing 2 Win’s adult members

•Assisted with the Development of science/ technology curriculum

•Consulted the P2W’s development team in creating a youth hip hop entrepreneurship program

•Collaborated with Teachers College Columbia University students and faculty in the creation of an online iMovie video editing tutorial for summer technology camp 2004.

•Edited a video promoting a Harlem Renaissance Economic Development Corporation annual event “Art at the Park”

•Represented P2W on the Studio Museum in Harlem Community Advisory Board

•Created Virtual Reality images of Playing 2 Win facilities for the new website

•Created a TV commercial for Harlem Renaissance Economic Development Corporation’s Art at the Park Event

•Developed a series of Public Service Announcements about Playing 2 Win’s offerings

•Provided consultant support for the development team on program concepts and equipment needs

Project Outcome: 

Vista Fellows were involved with the following:

• The development of research instruments and conduct of an on-going survey of 100 participants and adult and youth programs to better serve our community.

• The development of volunteer support program for the ongoing support of 10 volunteers and recruitment of 10 others.

• Oversaw teacher support assessments and provided ongoing support for 4 teachers in youth and adult programs.

• Provided technical support for our center to keep the 50 machines and network running smoothly

• Assisted with the development of 5-10 proposals to raise approximately $100,000

• Assisted in the development of our Job Training Program recruitment and development.

Impact Quote: 

As the purpose of the AmeriCorps*VISTA program is to provide useful outreach to local communities, our participants echoed their sentiment through visible outreach and service projects. One example I am reminded of was the special PBS viewing of “Every Mother’s Son,” coordinated by Mr. Bentinez. The event called for local law enforcement agents and community members to come together in support of the idea of social change, justice and a forum for communication and healing. This project used the power of media and the passion of human nature to discuss the realities of police brutality in New York City. This event is also an example of a sustainable solution effort and the ability of change.
- Shawna BuShell, Executive Director

Digital Media Curriculum Development

VISTA Name: 
Michael Allwood
Program Start: 
11/2001
Program End: 
11/2002
Project Description: 

Michale’s responsibilities include creating technology curricula for our after school program and computer club.

In addition, Michael has spent much of the summer working with our teen summer job placement program New Horizons.

Project Outcome: 

Most of Michael’s focus has been on developing curricula for media classes for youth.

He has done extensive work on curriculum for youth using digital music mixing programs like Hip Hop eJay and Acid Music. He is also working on curricula for youth for Web design and graphics design. He is in the process of finalizing his curriculum materials and training a replacement staff person.

Michael is also developing a curriculum for the computer club up and helping to teach classes.

Michael has developed training materials for youth in New Horizons and is also teaching classes. Michael has also been assisting with technical support and is still in the process of further developing our documentation around this. Because we cancelled our summer camp this year, Michael was not able to develop any curriculum for the camp.

Computer and Digital Literacy Program Building

VISTA Name: 
Victoria Jackson
Program Start: 
6/2001
Program End: 
8/2003
Project Description: 

Closing the Digital Gap Program

Objective 1: The Program Director, BCFI staff and volunteers will provide orientation and introduction to the project and the Lansing community

Objective 2: New Horizon Computer Learning Center staff will provide four days of training in Beginning, Intermediate and Advance Windows and Beginning Internet.

Objective 3: Provide training and support in helping members of the target population increase their computer knowledge and skills.

Objective 4: : VISTA workers will assist in the implementation of the Port of Entry/Closing the Gap program

Objective 5: Public and private sector resources will enable the project to continue after the Members leave.

Project Outcome: 

Objective 1: Objective completed at the beginning of the program-February 2001.

Objective 2: All Vistas Have had over 10 days of training.

Objective 3: Victoria has provided support services to all 516 graduates

Objective 4: Victoria has scheduled Workshops for 414 graduates since she started. She has assisted in the recruitment of 24 volunteers. Victoria is part of the new and old equipment teams. These teams are responsible for the dispensing and acquiring of all computers and component parts.Victoria has assisted in the scheduling of 24 volunteers,

Objective 5: We have received funding from foundations for over $90,000. We fell short of our objective to raise $8,000 from faith based organizations and $14,000 in individual donations. We received $7,100 from faith based organizations and $10,000 from individuals. We have received a continuation from the City of Lansing Economic Development Initiative and increased the funding to $40,000.

One of the major problems our program has encountered in the past is the overwhelming popularity our program; we have reduced our waiting list to the point that that a new applicant is able to attend class in 6-8 months. We have a new internet service provider ACD.NET who has generously agreed to provide all of the Closing the Digital Gap’s graduates with free 1 year internet service. We have come along way in a short period of time, but we still have a long way to go.

Program and Curriculum Development

Organization: 
Kids Computer Workshop
VISTA Name: 
Benedict Tisa
Program Start: 
6/2002
Program End: 
6/2003
Project Description: 

Objective 1: Develop a series of activities cards for computer learning
a. Identify 15 topics and start to develop content, along with instructional materials.
b. Develop 40 individual cards or lessons
c. Pilot test material on program that will train 20 tutors.
d. Modify based on experience during implementation.

Objective 2: Develop resources section for the KCW (Kids’ Computer Workshop) website
a. Develop resources that can be used by students, tutors and parents.
b. Maintain and update resource section.
c. Identify person to maintain and update the resource section of the web site as needed.

Objective 3: Develop and implement classes for seniors
a. Develop and implement course materials based on feedback from two focus groups.
b. Develop a series of five short courses geared to the needs of 20 seniors’ from the Shaw/Columbia Heights community.
c. Identify two volunteers to continue working with senior outreach.

Objective 4: Develop and implement community outreach activities in the Columbia Height-Shaw area of the District of Columbia
a. Identify at lease two potential partners to strengthen and increase programs’ capacity.
b. Working with other CTC in the Columbia Height/Shaw area, develop outreach programs in the community.

Project Outcome: 

Objective 1
This has been accomplished and has developed into a Resource for Educators section of the KCW web page. Educational topics were identified and the materials developed in both digital and print form when appropriate.

Objective 2
Resources have been developed for the following topics: Resources for Educators that covers KCW specific materials as well as a resource to other information and organization useful to teachers and students in the KCW program as well as resources for adult class that offered at the YMCA by KCW.

Objective 3
These classes have been held each Thursday; the enrolment had to be limited to 15 participants due to space requirements. Courses and class materials were developed that not only impart computer skills but also are focused on activities and resources that empower seniors to take part in community, governmental, social and health activities.

Objective 4
Two additional partners have been identified and are in the process of implementing or developing activities with KCW.

Kids Computer Workshop

Location:
Washington, DC

Teaching inner-city kids computer skills in DC is the goal of the Kids Computer Workshop. The program is designed to build computer literacy while developing basic reading, writing and math skills.

Youth Digital Literacy Training Development

Organization: 
RTPNet
VISTA Name: 
Douglas Dumont
Program Start: 
6/2002
Program End: 
6/2003
Project Description: 

Douglas worked with Duke University faculty and students to develop CLICK (Creating Literacy in Computer Knowledge), a computer literacy training program for 6th graders. CLICK develops computer skills for at-risk middle school students, engaging them in an after-school setting that is interactive and fun. CLICK lessons include Internet research, word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and multimedia presentations. The website (http://www.duke.edu/web/isis/click/about.html) contains downloadable lesson plans and teaching modules, as well as tips and hints for starting up a technology training class.

Project Outcome: 

Douglas worked very well with Duke’s faculty and students. He recruited and trained students to teach CLICK, and he worked with the faculty and staff of the ISIS (Information Science and Information Studies) certificate program, primarily Edward A. Shanken, Executive Director, and Katie Watchman, Program Coordinator.

Douglas is now a graduate student in Biomedical Engineering at Duke.

Impact Quote: 

I am especially pleased with Douglas’ work. He completed all his tasks exceptionally well.

CTC assistance

Organization: 
RTPNet
VISTA Name: 
Martha Moore
Program Start: 
2/2001
Program End: 
6/2004
Project Description: 

The scope and activities of Martha’s job have been changing. Our original plan was for her to work with adults to develop job skills. However, the Learning Center is now leased to the John Avery Boys and Girls Club. They are liable for activities in the Center, and they only want activities in the Center when there is a John Avery Boys and Girls Club person there. So Martha’s worked has changed scope.

Project Outcome: 

Martha acquired a new Internet linux server (donated from Teaming for Technology) She also has gotten new network wiring and hubs. New software was acquired from fees from computer classes and donations. She has forged a partnership with Goodwill Training for free online classes.

Working with GCF online training, she has renewed her partnership with them and now facilitates classes of Adult students online.

She is upgrading the computer lab. She has gotten more furniture for the lab. She will be acquiring from Teaming for Technology 20 upgraded units (17 for the lab and 3 to go to students in the community). The Lab will also be re networked.

She is also a Durham Area Transit Authority (DATA) Pride Ambassador. She assists the bus drivers with issues that she can handle to help the bus driver do his job more effectively. She goes to monthly meetings to help in transportation decisions for her community. The perk that comes with this is that she gets to ride the bus free for a year.

Impact Quote: 

I’m proud of the work Martha has done and have enjoyed working with her.”
- Supervisor

Heads On Fire

Location:
San Diego, CA

Heads on Fire partners with social change agencies and community technology companies to provide technology access and education, primarily for youth, in underserved areas. Most of the work takes place after school and in the summer, at sites around the city.

Activities are divided into three areas:

The [i]-Team provides digital literacy instruction.

ECHOES magazine helps youth use digital technology to document stories of community interest.
This nationally distributed CD-ROM magazine contains multimedia journalism pieces as well as entertainment sections such as music and game reviews.
Working in close partnership with Christina Glavas, of Minds Wide Open, ECHOES provides training in journalism, digital photography, video editing, audio production, and interactive game design.
Participants work on Saturdays to develop their design skills and take part in a global education curriculum project. Themes such as imagery, oral histories, languages, community orientation, cultural heritage, and other international issues are used as a context for the work.
The work includes traveling to different sites to conduct interviews, as well as production and design time spent in the lab.
The ECHOES training is free and open to youth in San Diego between the ages of 14–18. There is an application process, and participants must be willing to make a ten-month commitment.

The Sunscreens series features the digital work of youth in a two-month gallery exhibit, based on an annual theme.
Each show includes a display of pieces on gallery walls, programs of audio-visual recordings, and interactive kiosks display works created for the computer and the web.
The theme for 2004 was artistic statements made either by or about young Californians who are a part of communities in distress. These included communities affected by crime, poverty, gangs, racism, health crises, refugee status, or social injustice.

Transmission Project