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C i t y L ab

Spring An Elsewh ere Media 2012 Experimen t CityLab | 1

Inside Q&A.....................................................................................................4 - 5 with Katie Yow and Chris Kennedy An Introduction to Media Literacy.........................................................6-7 with Katie Yow CityLab Curriculum......................................................................23-29 a curriculum companion developed by Elsewhere 2 | CityLab

CITYLAB an elsewhere media experiment / SPRING 2012

AbOUT CityLab was the first installment of CoLab, a youth-led platform for digital storytelling and collaborative media experiments at Elsewhere—a living museum in downtown Greensboro, NC. Over the course of 10 weeks, CityLab worked with high school age youth from around the Triad of North Carolina to explore digital storytelling, and produce media experiments on issues ranging from audio experiments exploring the Citizen’s United Case, video works about bullying, and photographic essays on climate change and imagination. To view, and listen to these and other projects, visit us online: i

Collaborators Allie Corcoran, Laura Hutchinson, Famatah Tamba, Nyah Harris, Chaz Foxx, Aldon Pennix, Marcus Andrews, Opal Byers, Katie Yow, Felicia Nobles, Christopher Kennedy and Elsewhere’s visiting artists and staff

Support CityLab was made possible in part by the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro’s Future Fund. For more information visit:

606 S. Elm Street Greensboro, NC 27406 CityLab | 3


With CityLab Organizers, Christopher Kennedy and Katie Yow

Chris: Can you talk a little bit about colab - what were some of the goals? what approaches were taken? what is colab to you? Katie: Some of the goals that i personally had with colab were to experiment with using media technologies as a platform for drawing out student voice and experience and to challenge students to find ways to reframe their relationship with media and technology to become creators and critical consumers. Because students come into the program with previous exposure to media and differing levels of comfort with technology, built mainly through the use of personal technology and social media, one of the primary approaches for me was to start with instruction in examining these past experiences through a media literacy framework and to ask key questions throughout the project to shift students’ understanding of media technologies as something they consume to something they can use to exercise agency. CoLAB, to me, is a space for students to unpack their relationships with media, learn technical skills, and apply these skills and that personal analysis to independent artistic projects. Chris: So what ended up happening? What kinds of processes unfurled through our investigations? Katie: I think what ended up happening was a range of focuses for the students. Through encouraging the students to view media in different ways and

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to view themselves as active artists, different students exercised this view of themselves in different ways. Some students focused more on form - like the stop motion animation piece or the little football player’s surreal journey, where most of the experimentation happened with playing with the media platform chosen. Some students focused more on using technology as a vehicle for an idea - like the video piece about violence, or the slideshow about animals. Some students used the process of creating a piece to explore the idea they were interested in, discovering new ideas through the practice of creating the piece - like the audio piece about emotion, or the video piece about imagination. some students used new media technologies to do more documentary work - like the audio piece about citizens united or the colab reflection video. Chris: What do you think participants learned? What did you learn as a facilitator? Katie: One thing, in retrospect, that i wish we’d done more intentionally with the students is to ask them questions about what they learned. From my role as a facilitator, i witnessed students learning specific media skills that they applied through the course of their projects. I also focus a lot on interpersonal learning as a teacher generally, and i think that we watched students struggle to appreciate each other’s different personalities, and then learn to

appreciate each other as collaborators and learn to appreciate each other’s work as artists. I learned a lot of things. I could keep putting more thought into this piece and have more to say, but most immediately, i’d say that i learned a lot about how to refine instructional goals, and a lot about using structure to facilitate desired learning outcomes. With any artistic instruction, there is a large focus on both process and product - as instructors we balance our interest in moving students towards a final artistic product that meets our goals and their personal goals with our interest in instructing them in the process they use to get there. I think navigating this balance, especially as co-teachers, was really rich for me. Figuring out how to use limited time and resources to achieve ambitious goals of product while being intentional in instructing and supporting the development of the student as artist - creating space for experiments, space for failure and reinvention, and intentional instruction in the “artistic process” - was really challenging, and really instructive for me as an educator. Chris: If you were to do this again, what would you change? What would stay the same? Katie: I think the biggest thing that i would change would be to shift the timelines for the independent project. i loved having our lessons for each technology focus on a finite project that connected them with the museum, and i’d keep that format. However, i think i’d like to have students choose a personal project focus much earlier in the process, so that they could be trying out different ideas and experimenting with their own project throughout the program, instead of having a super-focused period at the end for their projects. I’m not sure how the time management of this would

work better, but i think having a visioning and planning session for independent projects much earlier on, and then having them be able to work on group projects learning the different technologies, while reflecting on how they might use them for their own work would be good. Like, if they were doing the same space-based group projects, but keeping a folder of ideas and questions for their own projects, and using the final portion of classtime each day to return to these, and cutting out one or two days that we used to have guest speakers/etc to have work/experiment days earlier in the process. Chris: Has your idea of media literacy shifted/changed? What about projectbased learning? Katie: My ideas about media literacy have changed, because my past instructional experiences teaching media literacy were focused on the student as media consumer only - helping students learn to evaluate and question media sources about specific topics. CoLAB expanded my ideas about media literacy education into working with younger people as media creators, something that i had lots of ideas about, but had never worked with in practice. My ideas of project-based learning did not change substantially - i found many of the same challenges and triumphs that i’ve found in previous experiences with projectbased lessons - but i think that it was really cool as an educator to experiment with project-based learning with a coteacher, because i hadn’t been able to do that before. One of the things i focus on with students when doing project-based learning is how to collaborate and learn from and with other students, and it was really cool to be facilitating that process but also experiencing that process as a teacher, collaborating with another teacher on the program.

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An Introduction to Media Literacy

with Katie Yow

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Media literacy means a lot of things. In some ways it is what it sounds like: the ability to read or interpret media. It’s about how we read (or watch or listen) and what we look for. All of the media we consume or create is full of messages. Some of these messages are obvious, and some are more hidden. Developing media literacy is about learning how to look for these messages and how to analyze where they come from and how they affect us and other folks who experience the media. Media is something we consume. Just as the food we eat affects our bodies in large and small ways, the media we consume fills our minds and our communities with messages that impact our health. If we consume media passively, these messages go unexamined. This can make the messages, values and opinions in media almost invisible to us. Learning to consume media actively helps us to name and examine the messages we’re receiving. Media literacy means asking questions and talking back to media. Media literacy means asking questions and talking back to media. Media literacy means educating yourself about the institution of mainstream media. Mainstream media is a business. To understand where the messages in media come from, who benefits from them, who is marginalized by them, and what impact they have on our communities, we have to learn about the companies and government agencies that own, create, and regulate media messages. Because most media is something that we receive

without much interpersonal interaction, we often feel like it is a one way street. You might yell at the TV, but the TV might not talk back. Part of media literacy is interrupting this channel of information, rejecting the idea that media only puts out and we only take in. We analyze, we choose, we reject, we embrace, and we create media - learning to treat media as a dialogue that asks questions and demands answers about what we are being told and why. Media Literacy is making our own media Once we engage in an active relationship with media, we begin to see the urgent need for independent media. We make our own media because there are stories that need telling. We make media because how we express, interpret and consume media has an impact on our communities and our ideas about ourselves. We make media because we have music we want to make, things we want to share, and new ways of doing it that no one can do but us.

ONLINE RESOURCES Center for Urban Pedagogy


Civic Studio

SECCA Intersections Project

Media Mobilizing Project

Digital Media + Learning Research Hub

Digital Youth Network

Media Literacy Project

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GET T I N G S TA RT E D Introduction CityLAB is a platform for exploring modes of digital storytelling through media literacy and experimentation. The goal is to investigate the ways in which media inform the stories we tell, and how we can use a variety of media production techniques to investigate the place we live - asking questions and exploring along the way. The first session will introduce participants to the idea of media literacy, and then provide a space to experiment with media formats - sound, video and photography - eventually producing their own media projects. Finally, a culminating Mediacast provides an opportunity for communities to experience and respond to finished

Goals x Media literacy: Engage students in thinking critically about where media comes from and how it influences what we believe x Media Production: Understanding how to use media as a tool to tell stories and share voices x Design Thinking: Understanding creative problem-solving strategies and tools x Active Critique: Project-based responses to real challenges and issues in downtown Greensboro

Overview x STEP ONE: Introduction to Media Literacy & Social Practice - how to identify/interact with various forms of media, how to use media as tools for communication, and respond to media critically x STEP TWO: Media Production - learn how to use equipment and different media formats: video, sound and image x STEP THREE: Exploration/Inquiry- asking question and exploring downtown Greensboro for answers x STEP FOUR: Synthesis - Mediacast of participants work, exhibition of artifacts, reflection and sharing of process

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Session 1: Media Media! Overview In this initial session introduce the idea of media literacy, exploring its many forms and meanings. Discuss the role it plays in our everyday lives using examples from Elsewhere’s Living Library, and objects in the collection.

Line of Inquiry x Where does news and information come from? Who decides what is news, what is culture? How does it reach people? What happens in that process? x What kinds of media do we experience each day?

Materials iPods, paper, signup sheet, clipboards, markers, pencils, Examples of media (ie. news, print, video, photo, social)

Activity/Lesson 1. Warm-Up: Have students interview each other about themselves using iPod touch, ask them to share their favorite kinds of media - movies, tv shows, magazines etc. 2. Introduction: Explore the different ways that media is defined, in what formats and how it’s recieved 3. Archaeology of Media: Compare and contrast different kinds of media found in the collection (ie. old magazines, books, newspapers). Ask participants to make a “collage” of new and old media using photocopies of collection images/media 4. Story Maps: Introduce the idea of storyboarding. To practice, use objects in the collection to tell a story and ask participants to fill out the Storyboarding worksheet

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Session 2: Production Overview Media is in the making. On your phone, in the world, around the corner. The latest trends come from the department store, but really unfold when your living them in the flesh. In this introductory session, talk with participants about the different forms media production can take - photography, video, sound etc. - and start to experiment with these modes of documentation and expression.

Line of Inquiry x What kinds of devices do we use to tell stories? x How can these stories be represented in different ways? How does format affect the receivership of this media?

Materials iPod touches, projector, paper, markers

Activity 1. Intro and Storyboards: Check-in and introductory storytelling session (have students collect one thing from the collection and create a storyboard about this object) 2. Productions: Provide a quick overview of iPhoto and iMovie, show examples on the CoLAB blog and start handling technologies 3. Project Brainstorm: Create a list of ideas for a quick production using note cards and the stories already told at the beginning of the session. 4. 606 News Production: Break up into small groups and use the result of the brainstorm to create a fake News Bulletin prompt. Ask students to create a quick news production using the museum or street as studio 5. Mediacast: watch raw video clips generated CityLab | 13

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Session 3: AudioMapping Overview Sound is all around us, and is one of the primary ways we communicate with each other. Sounds can be made, listened to and used to explore questions of all kinds. In this session, introduce students to the world of field recording and interviewing through techniques like participatory civic journalism. Focus on how to interview and ask questions and how to create a map of ones environment using sound.

Line of Inquiry x How do we use sound to communicate daily? Can sound be music? What do the sounds of a surroundings tell us about what’s going on in a particular space? x How does sound influence our relationship to a place? How can sounds/ music tell a story?

Materials iPod touches, sound recorders, microphones, headphones, instruments, maps

Activity 1. Warm-up Activity: Make sounds with the museum using our bodies (machine game) or spaces around Elsewhere like super piano bouncy ball 2. Field Recorder: An introduction to recording sound, techniques, introduction to Audacity 3. Sound hunt: Split up into small groups and hunt around Greensboro and Elsewhere recording sounds from a crowd-sourced list 4. Sound Project: Using collected sounds to create a song or soundmap of downtown Greensboro (integrate with Google Maps on blog)

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Session 4: Visual Essays Overview Images help tell a story in many ways. They can compliment written or spoken word, or stand alone to communicate an idea or story. In this session introduce students to basic photography and ask them to tell a story about downtown Greensboro using images to create a visual essay.

Line of Inquiry x How do images tell stories? How do we consider time and history in relationship to these images? x How can we create something unreal using an image? What kinds of images do we find often in the media? How do they distort or embellish the truth?

Materials iPod touches, cameras, lighting equipment, paper, pencils, maps

Activity: 1. Introduction to digital and analog cameras: Introduce participants to the basics of photography considering lighting, setup, speeds, film types etc. 2. Visual Essay: Break up into small groups and ask each group to create a photo essay in Elsewhere or around Greensboro 3. Showcase: Post these visual essays online with a brief narrative

You can make a view finder by folding a piece of paper in half, cutting out a rectangle or square. Use to find the right scene for a photograph or video shot

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Session 5: Storytelling & Moving Images Overview In this session introduce participants to video and film production; telling stories through the moving image. Participant will understand how to setup a scene, use a small camera device and edit a short movie.

Line of Inquiry x What goes into making a movie or video? How do we tell stories through film? x How can we use film to document or tell the stories that are often untold?

Materials iPod touches, microphones, headphones, lighting equipment, paper, pencils, props (ie. costumes etc.)

Activity 1. Film 101: An introduction to cameras, setting up a scene, editing with iMovie 2. Stop Motion Animation: Break up into small groups, or work individually to create a stop-motion animation using objects at Elsewhere 3. Mediacast: Edit and showcase your animation in the museum

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Session 6-8: Project Roundtable Overview Participants will investigate downtown Greensboro, the museum or other spaces to produce a short media work. CoLAB facilitator should decide on a theme, or goal beforehand to provide a specific framework for students to work within (ie. use a question/inquiry like where does our water go?; use a place or focal point such as a space downtown or in the museum; or address a relevant and place-based social issue like affordable housing, health care, education, economics)

Line of Inquiry x What stories do you think are important to tell? What questions do you have about the neighborhood or city you live in? How can media help tell a story in a new way, from a different perspective? x How will you set up, plan and implement your media project? How can you collaborate with other CoLABers or visiting artists at the museum?

Materials iPod touches, microphones, headphones, lighting equipment, paper, pencils, props (ie. costumes etc.)

Activity 1. Project Roundtable: Using the framework/inquiry for the project discuss initial ideas with CoLAB participants. Initiate a brainstorming process to tease out ideas on how to address the topic or theme. Next assign roles for each person and break-up into small production teams. Limit the projects to 2-3 minutes of audio or visual content. 2. Setup and Preparation: Ask each group to produce a timeline and storyboard for their proposed production. Each group will then present their storyboard to get feedback and start production. 3. Production: Allow 2-3 weeks for teams to produce their media projects using sound, photography or film. Assist with equipment check-out, scene setup and arranging interviews and field trips. 4. Post-Production: Download all media to the CoLAB hard-drive and determine a schedule for each team to being editing and putting their media together. CityLab | 21

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Session 9: Project Editing Overview Use the final weeks to allow groups to edit their media projects, create a description and add final touches for a Mediacast unveiling.

Line of Inquiry Is your media project’s message easy to understand? How can you present your project in an interesting way to a variety of audiences?

Materials Laptops, computers with iMovie or Finalcut Pro, Audacity, Photoshop etc.

Session 10: Mediacast Organize a Mediacast, or screening of each team’s projects inside the museum. Invite internal Elsewhere community and family to get ready for this public launch.

2012 Projects: Anonymous Allie Corcoran / sound An exploration of the Citizens United v. FEC ruling and an homage to NPR

Why the Violence Bro? Chaz Foxx / film It’s about violence and how we can stop it. Interviews and newscasting.

Primary Variety: A Responsive Range Laura Hutchinson / sound An exploration of emotion through sound

Wrap-Up! Aldon Pennix / film A media exploration of the CoLAB experience.

Imagination is Mind Boggling Famatah Tamba / sound & photo

The Great Debate Marcus Andrews / stop motion The next election with a twist...

SOS Animals Nyah Harris / sound & photo My project is about helping save endangered animals.

The Futility of John S. D. Smith Opal Byers / film This movie is about the futility of a small football player toy.

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CityLab was the first installment of CoLab, a youth-led platform for digital storytelling and collaborative media experiments at Elsewhere—a living museum in downtown Greensboro, NC. Over the course of 10 weeks, CityLab worked with high school age youth from around the Triad of North Carolina to explore digital storytelling, and produce media experiments on issues ranging from audio experiments exploring the Citizen’s United Case, video works about bullying, and photographic essays on climate change and imagination. To view, and listen to these and other

606 S. Elm Street Greensboro, NC 27406

CityLab Curriculum  

CityLab was the first installment of CoLab, a youth-led platform for digital storytelling and collaborative media experiments at Elsewhere—a...

CityLab Curriculum  

CityLab was the first installment of CoLab, a youth-led platform for digital storytelling and collaborative media experiments at Elsewhere—a...