youth | MIT Center for Civic Media

Youth are the future of our communities. How we educate them and help them to become good and productive citizens is critical as they grow to take their places as future voters, activists, and leaders. Their understanding of their identity in their communities is an important part of civic education. Many civic media projects work with youth towards these ends. See also <a href="/topics/education">education</a>.

How Do We Make Social Media In Higher Ed More Awesome?

In a guest post published today on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Head Count” admissions and enrollment blog (for which I myself have written), Jack Baworowsky, VP of enrollment management at Dominican University, warns his colleagues that it “is not a question of if but when will there be a major shift in the way we think about student recruitment.”


The Toy Interface Construction Kit Learning Environment (T.I.C.K.L.E.) is a universal construction kit for the rest of us. It doesn't require 3D printers or CAD skills. Instead, it's a DIY social process for creating construction interoperability.

Resources for Civic Mapping: Toolkits and How-Tos

Some toolkits and how-tos for the CivicMaps Toolkit research file.

Title: Envisioning Development toolkits
Description: A set of 3 toolkits developed by the Center for Urban Pedagogy in NYC: Affordable Housing, Zoning, and Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (last two are in progress). All 3 relate to specific NYC policies. Affordable Housing toolkit includes a guidebook ("first-ever illustrated compendium of NYC affordable housing programs", freely downloadable or puchaseable in book form), a felt chart for comparing and explaining affordable housing policies (purchaseable?), and an online map showing income demographics and rents in NYC.
External link:
Location: New York, NY 40.7142° N, 74.0064° W
Name of organization: Center for Urban Pedagogy
Category: toolkit and downloadable pdf guidebook
Tags: community organizing, policy, advocacy, analog

Dancing in the Public Square: Street Music as Activism (Civic Media Lunch Livenotes)

We were lucky to host two organizers of the HONK! Festival ofActivist Street Bands - John Bell and Reebee Garofolo. These collaborative livenotes were authored by myself, Denise Cheng, Nathan Matias, Matt Stempeck, and a few others I think.

Rahul introduced HONK! fest, which is an annual gathering of activist street bands that descends on Somerville, MA. It began seven years ago. Today’s speakers will explore what it means to take back the public space. One of the things about parading is that it’s breaking a lot of rules—you’re not allowed to walk down the streets, make so much noise in normal circumstances—and it’s fun!

Link spamming during the 2008 South Korean beef protests

I’ve narrowed down the focus of my semester-long project. In my first post, I talked about looking at different commenting systems and the role they play in spreading information. I’ve decided to narrow down my focus to link spamming — links to sites that incite civic action placed in comments of content that isn’t intended to incite civic action.

One of the most substantial examples of this was the 2008 U.S. beef protests in South Korea. when South Koreans stopped banning the import of beef from the United States. Many South Koreans opposed the lifting of the ban, saying that U.S. beef wasn’t safe from the bacteria that causes Mad Cow disease. It even escalated to the point where the President’s entire cabinet submitted resignation letters.

HONK! Activist street bands, artists, educators talk inclusion

HONK! Fest is an annual gathering of activist street bands around the country. While the festival has satellites in Austin and Seattle, it got its start in Somerville, Mass. five years ago. Last weekend, some 30 bands descended on our northern neighbor, and a pedagogical symposium on Monday topped it off.

Tell us your story

"Join us, tell us your story" is the prompt given by the Kitchen Sisters for their most recent project, "The Hidden World of Girls." This is one of 3 storytelling projects I've been enjoying lately that center women as storytellers about their lives and histories.

The Hidden World of Girls

The Hidden World of Girls, is a recent project by NPR radio production duo, The Kitchen Sisters. It's a series of radio documentaries featuring women and stories about women that people called in responding to the full prompt, "Who are the women that inspire you? What are the rituals for girls in your community? Whose stories have yet to be told? Help us on our quest for tales of the extraordinary and everyday, from the past to the present" by calling into the Hidden World of Girls message line (202-408-9576) or leaving stories in writing, images, audio and video on the web form.

What's Up

Project Status: 

What's Up is a software platform designed to allow people in a small geographic community to share information, plan events and make decisions, using media that is as broadly inclusive as possible.

The web today does a tremendous job in terms of storing and aggregating information. However, people still need to have access to the Internet in order to benefit from what is available online. Instead, What’s Up provides alternative pathways to get information to people wherever they are, independently of the level of access that they might have to computers or the Internet.

The platform can aggregate data from online community calendars to make the information available via low cost LED signs that can be placed in public locations, or via things like customized paper flyers and posters to be posted and distributed in the area.

What’s Up also generates a simple, yet powerful community hotline that is usable with the lowest-end mobile and touchtone phones.

Remixing and Newsjack-ing with Students from Press Pass TV

Early last week, the Center for Civic Media was able to conduct a Remix Workshop with a group of high school students from Press Pass TV. The facilitators from the Center for Civic Media included Co-Design Facilitator and Community Organizer Becky Hurwitz and CMS Civic Media Professor Sasha Costanza-Chock, along with myself. The workshop was intended as a hands-on space, where students had the opportunity to learn about remix culture, politics, and tools. The workshop began with introductions among all parties and a simple question to the students: “What is your favorite remix?” This question led to a discussion about the meaning of “remix,” and also comments about favorite hip hop remixes. The workshop then proceeded to a discussion about media remix culture, which includes many different types of remixes: hobbyist, musical, artistic, comical, political, etc.

Finding Bieber: Using Computers and Humans to Surface the Talent in Millions of YouTube Videos

This is a writeup of Hrishikesh Aradhye, Ph.D.'s talk at the Media Lab last month, with my own commentary sprinkled throughout.

Power to the people, at last! It's a new hour
Now we all ain't gon' be American Idols
But you can 'least grab a camera, shoot a viral

Kanye West, Power

An hour of video is uploaded to YouTube every second (or ten years' worth of video every single day). Think about that for a minute. That's a lot of content. And, as haters everywhere have pointed out already, a lot of it is crap.

The more interesting point, though, is that some of these videos are actually really good. If YouTube can get better at surfacing the good stuff, whether it's a funny comedian, a talented singer, or a hilarious FAIL clip, we all benefit (including Google). Identifying talent has traditionally been a very subjective art, and as a result, the quantification of talent hasn't really been discussed in published literature.