The New Digital Divide?
A recent New York Times article, “Wasting Time is New Divide in Digital Era,” focused on ways that children from families of varying socioeconomic strata use technology. While the article hints at the need to support parents in limiting and monitoring their children’s online activities, there is also a need to provide training and meaningful opportunities for young people to use and develop media skills that meet their goals.
There are a variety of initiatives across the country that aim to prepare young people for the 21st-Century workforce. These three programs employ three very different models.
Connect2Compete is a national public-private initiative of the FCC (currently implemented in San Diego) that offers reduced-price Internet access, low-cost computers and free digital literacy training to families with at least one child receiving free lunch through the National School Lunch Program.
YouMedia Chicago is a teen learning space in Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Library that connects young people with mentors in an interest-based learning environment where young people have access to equipment and training to become creators of new media.
The online Scratch community, developed by the MIT Media Lab Lifelong Kindergarten group, encourages young people to create their own stories, games, music, and art by providing a means to share their creations with the Scratch community. Individuals (age 8+) have access to video tutorials, collaborative forums, feedback and support from others in the online community.
In the Twin Cities metro area, public libraries, Minnesota 4-H, neighborhood houses, schools, community centers, and organizations such as Youthprise (founded by the McKnight Foundation) are working to create positive opportunities for young people to learn, practice, and develop essential digital literacy skills. Does your organization serve youth? For curriculum ideas, visit the TLC Curriculum & Digital Inclusion Aids, and search under Youth.
June 15, 2012
Posted by Katherine D.
Note: to discuss this and other topics that relate to digital inclusion in Minneapolis, please plan on attending one of the three remaining community meetings to discuss the 2012 Community Technology Survey.