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Friday, October 7 • 9:00am - 10:30am
Designing with Community Partners to Facilitate Meaningful Learning Experiences for Underrepresented and Marginalized Youth

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The Digital Youth Network (DYN) at DePaul University is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating learning environments that support all youth in developing the skills needed to actively participate in a democratic and globally networked society.  Critical to our design process is our collaborations with community organizations. In this panel we present five projects that differ in scale and the mode of the learning experience (online, blended, face-to-face).  We share our co-design process, and the opportunities and challenges faced creating meaningful experiences for diverse youth, while balancing the needs and constraints of participating organizations.

1) Transforming Chicago into a Citywide Campus for Interest-Based Learning

The Chicago City of Learning (CCOL) initiative is a partnership with the city of Chicago, DYN, and over 130 youth-serving organizations to provide low-cost, informal STEAM learning opportunities to all youth.  To transform Chicago into a campus of learning, we provide trainings, visualizations, and frameworks to build and make visible to all the living learning ecosystem of Chicago.   We discuss our approach and the challenges we faced supporting this citywide innovation.

2) The Young Author Playlist: Collaborating Across Spaces to Support Writing

The Young Author Playlist is a learning pathway designed to support youth's interest in writing.  The playlist was co-developed by writing mentors in Chicago's informal education space using a design process based on the DYN Learning Pathway Framework. This presentation describes the role of partnerships across informal and formal learning spaces in both creating and implementing an equity-based approach to supporting youth engagement in writing.

3) Digital Exchange Society: Connecting Youth in Chicago and Morocco Virtually

Under the J. Christopher Stevens Initiative, DYN has partnered with school and community organizations to engage youth from Chicago and Morocco in cross-cultural exchanges through the co-creation of digital artifacts. Key to taking this impact to scale is the collaboration across countries and sectors. Participants in this presentation will learn how we facilitated compelling learning experiences for youth and how virtual exchange utilized new media technologies to link young people across cultures in sustained and meaningful ways.

4) “We’re doing some cool stuff on there”: Designing a Collaborative Blended Learning Culture in the Classroom

We share a case study based on a collaboration with a school to develop an online social learning network to support interest-based and academic learning. This presentation will cover the successes and challenges of designing, implementing, and maintaining an active blended learning community through collaboration with teachers, students, researchers, designers, teaching artists, and administrators.

5) Minecraft Citywide Server - Creating an Gaming Ecosystem to Support Youth Exploration of Computer Science.

DYN is leveraging the popularity and extensibility of Minecraft, an online, multiplayer game, to expose and connect underrepresented youth to long-term computing pathways. Working closely with community partners, we are designing computing-related worlds and automatic digital badges to help youth translate their computing experience in Minecraft to other learning spaces. We also use badges to connect youth to relevant informal programs in Chicago. We discuss our design and collaboration process to implementing this initiative. We also discuss how we overcame challenges related to unequal technology infrastructures.


Jim Sandherr

Research Associate, Digital Youth Network

Friday October 7, 2016 9:00am - 10:30am
Woods BC

Attendees (36)