Blog Post

Young Innovators: Get Out of the Garage and Into the Marketplace!

Shaping Youth, a very meaty online resource that includes a useful and inspiring blog by Founder and CEO Amy Jussel, as well as a forum on media andmarketing's influence on kids, has just run a terrific, breezy, fun, and informative poston the Young Innovators Competition. You can see it in the RSS feedfrom Shaping Youth that comes into Needle, our information commons, oryou can read it reblogged here.   Thank you, Amy!




Young Innovators: Get Out of the Garage and Into the Marketplace!

Calling all social media wünderkind, changebloggers, and humanitarian twitterati and digerati of the millennial set (yes, this means you, Alex Steed) there?s ?gold in them thar? hills!? (ok, that phrase comes from eithera Yosemite Sam cartoon or a cowboy parody, but either way, it showsit?s in my lexicon, revealing I?m WAY too old to apply!)

HASTAC (pronounced Haystack, as in ?needle in the??) and the MacArthur Foundation (Digital Media and Learning Competition) launched a brand new category for 18-25 year old young minds eager to use new forms of collaborative thinking that advance the human condition?The Young Innovators Awards.

Since I?ve floated this to plenty of smart digital wizards in my ownyouth arena with energetic zeal and been met with a shrug, I decided todistill their criteria into a palatable snapshot?a ?DML Cliff Notes? version, at a glance.

This is for all those bright minds who answered my nudge to applywith, ?too much paper pushing, I?ll never get it, no time, lots of workfor a mini-grant, no partner for the internship yet, and I can?t eventell if I qualify it?s so confusing.? ?Okay, ready?

Show Me The Money

First off, ditch the daunting ?$2 million? giveaway notion, as that includes the larger competition. (and I?m applying for that, so hey, be kind!)

Young Innovator Awards range from $5000-$30,000 with up to $240,000 awarded in total?no chump change!

Since very few awards will be given at the high end of the scale,(they?re encouraging a diversity of projects, so consider it a?jumpstart? cash infusion in the lower to mid-range realm) that meansostensibly there could be as many as 48 awards of $5000 each?

So you DO have a chance!

If $5K isn?t enough to tap your app into the keyboard, I?ll remindyou all that I used a $5K mini-grant from the S.F. Foundation to pilotone of my 8-wk school programs to capture outcomes on film and pitch bigger funders to go digital?

Use your imagination, it?s an INNOVATOR award fer goshsakes!

How Young is Young?

To be eligible for a Young Innovator Award (this is where the app gets confusing as they?ve lumped the ?Innovations? awards into the mix, so we?re separating it out here)?

Be clear: U.S. residents must be between 18-25 at the time of the application.

If you?re a hair off the mark, (looking at Facebook profiles several social citizens and youth leaders appear to be in the 15-29 b-day bracket, including Alex?s Millennials Changing America: Next Generation of Organizing project) so I say tweak it to their exact DML Young Innovator Guidelines and find one of your lead team-mates in the 18-25 year old demo to formally file and COLLABORATE for the award.

That?s what participatory learning is all about!

MeetUps, Mashups & Match Ups: Internship Orgs

The MacArthur Foundation/HASTAC DML competitionfor youth focuses on your big idea, support and an internship (onlineor F2F) with a sponsoring organization to help see your dream throughfruition. If you don?t have one, they?ll hook you up with one. Simple.

Internship timelines go from a minimum of 10 weeks to one year, depending on your project.

They are ?unpaid internships? meaning the award is your pay, to helpyou support yourself. Bribes are a no-no, meaning you can?t use awardfunds to pay off your mentor to place you in their org!

If you have a sponsoring org for your internship who wants tosupport your idea from the get go, shout it from the rooftops and putthe endorsement into official app form! Mentoring relationships mightbe tech companies, media industries, learning institutions,governmental orgs, or nonprofits. (hint-hint! Ahem, Shaping Youth could use some help here!)

Who and What Are They Looking For?

Young Innovator Awards go to the bold thinking, ?what comes next? visionaries that want to take their original ideas in participatory learning out of the garage (or the back of their brain) and move them forward into digital action.

They are individuals. NOT institutions.

Human beings. Leaders and thinkers.

Idea hamsters like me?um?only younger.

Youth collaborators I met at ISDE? Kids on campus that volunteered? You fit the bill. So do you guys at ISIS and Advocates for Youth that I wrote about with your Top Ten Teen Sex Ed Videos on DoGooderTV.

Next Now Collaboratory peeps? Let?s nudge our youth members?NetSquared NP Tech Tuesday crowd? Definite. Our friends at QuantumShift TV? Your U.S. students can ?Be the change, share the story, indeed!?

Envirolution, Echoing Green finalists, MediaSnackers, and social entrepreneurs? Ooooh, I can think of soooo many possibilities here.

Daniel Brusilovsky of Teens in Tech? I?d mentor you in a millisecond! C?mon, I know you?re 15, but you MUST have an 18-year old in your posse somewhere?Call me! (I have some work for you anyway!) Go for it gang, and good luck! Consider me a ?mentor in training!? ;-)

The Deets: Dates, Deadlines and Doability

Pull your project together pronto and get online to see the app NOW, so you know it?s not as daunting as it sounds.

Register so they know you?re coming to the party.

Final app with electronic signature must be in by October 15th!! (5:00pm PDT/8pm EDT)

Grant term is one year beginning in the summer of 2009 (between June1-Sept. 1 to initiate your project) concluding a year after you begin.

Budgets should include basics like project development costs, livingexpenses, and all travel/meals/lodging for the big two-day ?showcase?event in Chicago held at the end of the grant term. (Okay, so maybe youwant to pad that low range projection a titch to impress them with yourrealistic grasp on life?)

Young Innovators Are NEEDED On This Planet, Folks!

Looking for a why you/why now call to action? Fine. I?ve got one of those too?

As I said in this BusinessWeek comment on social media and furthering the Age of Conversation, ?there are do-ers and there are be-ers? (Saul Bellow from Henderson the Rain King, remember that in American lit class, kids?) ?Let?s turn the latter into the former!

Apply today. Make some change. Show us ?oldies but goodies? how it?s done!

FAQs here. Details for Young Innovators Here. And the entire DML Competition here.

Reminder: Don?t confuse the two-tiers of the contest?that?s what these Cliff Notes were for! ;-)

Related Resources

New DML Scratchpad: A public online communications forum for participants to collaborate

DML Official Application

DML Winners Hub From Last Year

Cathy Davidson?s HASTAC Blog w/videos of 3 winners last year

Particpatory Learning At A Glance:

?Participatory Learning includes the ways in which newtechnologies enable learners (of any age) to contribute in diverse waysto individual and shared learning goals. Through games, wikis, blogs,virtual environments, social network sites, cell phones, mobiledevices, and other digital platforms, learners can participate invirtual communities where they share ideas, comment upon one another?sprojects, and plan, design, advance, implement, or simply discuss theirgoals and ideas together. Participatory learners come together toaggregate their ideas and experiences in a way that makes the wholeultimately greater than the sum of the parts.? ?(blurb from DML site)

??We are already teaching a generation of students who do not remember a time before they were online?Their social life and informal learning are interconnected.

?They don?t just consume media, they customize it. These students bring fascinating new skills to our classrooms, but they also bring an urgent need for critical thinking about the digital world they have inherited and are shaping.

?Participatory learning allows people to work together online toward some collective purpose, sharing knowledge, insights, and expertise, and most important, learning together.?

?Cathy N. Davidson, co-founder of HASTAC and John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke University

Visual Credits/Millenial Activist Alex Steed?s site: Full feature forthcoming on Shaping Youth

And if you want to know where they got the image for the Youth Innovator Awards contest, check out the HASTAC Channel on YouTube and this street team video called ?Couture Guerilla??



1 comment

Pleasure to pitch in and pay it forward, thanks for the cross-post...

fyi: After I posted on Shaping Youth, I received an e-mail from some folks at the Rockrose
Institute very interested in spreading the word to their NCDD Youth
Dialogue crew (National Coalition of Dialogue & Deliberation &
Dialog) "fostering a world of conversation, participation and action"
which sounds promising.

And one of my NN collaboratory colleagues, Dave Davison
mentioned that you might want to tap into some of the digital youth/social media groups like BJFogg's "Psychology of Facebook" at
Stanford? (CERTAINLY brimming with innovative techno