Creating Technology for Social Change

Youth Projects Brainstorming Session

On Wednesday, the Center for Future Civic Media held a kick-off dinner at the MIT Media Lab to brainstorm youth-related projects. While the Center will engage in a wide range of civic media projects involving people of all ages, a subgroup of researchers are focusing on the talents and enthusiasm of young people.

We invited educators who work with youth in local school and after-school settings, and we are offering them an opportunity to help us define and participate in collaborations with researchers at the C4FCM. We intend to give youth a voice in the process of citizen journalism, civic engagement, and “future civic media,” and to push the envelope in supporting technology. Engaging teachers and students at the start of that process is important. Strong local projects will give traction, and then the work can spread nationwide and even internationally. Guests at the brainstorming dinner ranged from in-school teachers and after-school teachers to activists and community members working in video, music, art, media literacy, citizen journalism, and outreach to underserved youth. Each guest shared a short description of their work and interests. MIT graduate students working with the Center described their projects ranging from Scratch, a new approach to learning programming and multimedia production, to mobile news platforms and viral networking. Project matchmaking between guests and the students is already beginning, and future meetings will continue collaborations. Thanks to all the people who attended and for the enthusiasm and ideas that were already generated.

For more about the meeting, see Bill Densmore’s blog at Media Giraffe, and some thought-provoking observations from Lisa Williams. If you work with young people in the area of civic engagement, community activism, journalism, etc., and would like to join the conversation, please send email to civicyouth (at)