Civic Engagement

Why Critical Design Literacy is Needed Now More Than Ever

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 Comment 3 students conducting video interview and holding script

One thing is clear in our work at Texas City High School (TCHS) this year: students like to create their own media.  Students at TCHS create their own YouTube channels, compose original music, comics, games, Tumblr pages, art work, and fashion designs.  As young people’s use of social and digital media applications continues to evolve they are developing what I call a “design disposition.”  This is a reference to a distinct generational view that they expect to not only consume media content but create content, too.  Throughout the year we have sought out ways to both


Recommended Resources: Mobile Learning, Digital Activism, Multitasking

Thursday, December 29, 2011 Comment teachers holding ipads instructing students outside

Professor of urban planning, Amy Hillier, recently spoke at TEDxPhilly to talk about how data visualization technology can map a city’s emotions and memories. Geographic Information System (G.I.S.) technology has become more commonplace and allows statistics to be easily mapped, but in this article, “Mobile Technology: Mapping a City’s Emotions, Memories,” Hillier argues that we can go one step further. By using data visualization to map the city that isn’t visible to the eye (i.e. sewage system, water pipes, and other underlying infrastructure), it can be used as an experiential tool. She gives an example of


Basta! Telling Stories About Occupy Wall Street

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 Comment occupy wall street protest rally people marching holding up signs

Media activists Marisa Jahn and Julian Rubinstein recently joined us at the Center for Civic Media for our weekly Civic Media Lunch series. Marisa is the new director of the People’s Production House, a New York based project that works with low income workers and youth, building capacity around media creation. Julian is an author and journalist who now works on Newsmotion.org, a civic media and documentary storytelling initiative. Marisa walked us through some of her history as an activist and artist, showcasing some of her work as a graphic designer. For the 2008 Wall Street


Forgotten Places: How Digital Media Can Help Support Small, Rural Communities

Friday, December 16, 2011 Comment 3 black male students taking photo of shop window

Sean McCarthy is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English at the University of Texas, Austin, in the Digital Literacies and Literatures concentration. His dissertation explores the intersection between community literacy and digital literacy and community engagement theory and practice. As assistant director of the Digital Writing and Research Lab at the University of Texas, Austin, McCarthy investigates online digital writing as well as traditional writing practices. His interest in community literacy and digital literacy led him to examine the role digital literacy plays in restoring relationships, building connections, and rejuvenating dying conversations in small,


#Occupy and Digital Media in Latin America: Observations

Monday, November 28, 2011 Comment hundreds of men and women sitting on the ground holding up cameras

Young people from many countries in Latin America have organized themselves and occupied public places just like their counterparts around the globe.  While some protesters are still camped, others are not.  In both instances, the spread of these ideas through digital media and social media has been impressive.  In Rio de Janeiro, a nonviolent occupation is happening in Cinelandia Square downtown.  More than 100 tents have been pitched and protesters have decorated them with placards opposing capitalism, consumerism and social inequality. The #OcupaRio movement has an ambitious agenda.  It is taking up specific local issues.  One


‘Connected Learning’ in Edge Communities

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 Comment 3 youth filmmakers working together on video camera

For more than nine weeks now I have been working with a high school in the Central Texas area, getting to know students, teachers, and administrators.  Along with a fantastic team of graduate students, we are spending time with an after school digital media club that offers students a range of opportunities to hang out, mess around and geek out.  I have also been working directly with two video game development classes on a project we think will offer some insights into creating new kinds of learning environments, learner identities, and youth civic engagement. Part of


Media, Youth Activism & Participatory Politics: Case Studies in a Digital Age

Friday, November 04, 2011 Comment Education not deportation immigration reform rally protest women marching with signs

The growing use of digital media for social change is nourishing a dialogue about its impact on young people’s involvement in civic and political affairs. The Media Activism Participatory Politics (MAPP) project, an undertaking of the MacArthur Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP), was created to further that conversation by examining youth-led organizations that encourage productive forms of participation in the public sphere. MAPP’s case study on the DREAM activist movement is the first of four case studies from Henry Jenkins’ Civic Paths project at the University of Southern California. The four projects examine exemplary


In Search of the Other: Decoding Digital Natives

Monday, October 24, 2011 Comment Occupy your future sign on ground during protest rally

This is the first post of a research inquiry that questions the ways in which we have understood the Youth-Technology-Change relationship in the contemporary digital world, especially through the identity of ‘Digital Native’. Drawing from three years of research and current engagements in the field, the post begins a critique of how we need to look at the outliers, the people on the fringes in order to unravel the otherwise celebratory nature of discourse about how the digital is changing the world. In this first post, I chart the trajectories of our research at the Centre


Digital Opportunities for Civic Education

Friday, October 21, 2011 Comment digital democracy group meeting and working together

Earlier this year, Professor Joseph Kahne and a group of civic learning scholars announced a key finding from a study of student Internet usage: youth who pursue their interests online are more likely to be engaged in civic and political issues. On Thursday, at a day-long symposium in Washington, D.C., called “Civic 2.0: Citizenship Education for a New Generation,” Kahne, an education professor at Mills College and Chair of the MacArthur Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP), drew from this study and three additional studies to discuss the digital opportunities for civic education and engagement. Some


Learning, Freedom, Youth, and the Web: Brazil

Monday, October 10, 2011 Comment girl holding up camera phone in crowd taking a photo

Freedom of speech and social mobilization is new for many countries in Latin America. Most have had closed governments and dictatorships for the last 30 years. However, because of the spread of social media, political action, protests and activism have flourished. In Chile, for example, students have been leading protests demanding educational reform. Reports say more than 400,000 people have gathered in several of these marches. The protests, which have been drawing students to Plaza Italia in Santiago, have been organized with Twitter (for example, the umbrella march, when students protested under the rain and cold), Facebook