Over the past few months our team at the Providence Public Library (PPL) has been working closely together to create the three playlists for our My City, My Place DML project. Entering them into the LRNG framework and discovering the capabilities of the platform has been a great learning experience and has helped us begin to understand how the teens may interact with the playlists. Because we’re still new to playlists, connected learning and all that they have to offer, we’re actively seeking feedback from others who have more experience. We took part in a DML Round Robin conference call earlier this month and next week, one of our team members will be presenting our playlists at the DML 6 Playlists for Learning Workshop in Chicago.
Two of the ongoing questions we’ve been struggling with when creating our playlists are: Do youth value digital or local XPs more? and What is the most effective way to blend digital and local XPs? During user testing, our youth will be coming to the library to work through the playlists and give us their feedback. We felt the experience would be more enriching for our youth if there were more hands-on and in-person opportunities, where they could interact with professional members of the community, mixed in with the digital XPs (this ties into PPL’s youth workforce development programming focus). Because the user testing is happening during spring break, we are able to offer these opportunities in the form of tech workshops, guest speakers, and face-to-face professional feedback. Moving forward though, for these playlists to continue, we will either have to turn all of our local XPs into digital XPs, or only make the playlists available during certain times of the year when we’d be able to provide local XPs.
As we created our playlists we realized that while there were local XPs that we have the skills and resources to implement ourselves, finding a community partner would help us cover the content areas where we have less expertise. Because our My City, My Place playlists have a hospitality/tourism focus, we met with the Rhode Island Hospitality Association (RIHA) to share our vision for the project. RIHA already does a lot of educational outreach and training in the community, so they were excited to learn about using connected learning as a vehicle for reaching youth. We are working together to line up guest speakers who will share career and college advice, teach how to create and deliver a marketing pitch, and give youth feedback on their marketing campaigns.
The current plan is to film the workshops and guest speakers during the user testing period and then upload those resources to the playlists. Once we complete our user testing we will find out if youth value local XPs over digital XPs, and if so, how to continue to offer local XPs in the long term.