Blog Post

Mobile Action Lab: Launches, Articles, Interviews

It's been an exciting few weeks at Youth Radio's Mobile Action Lab!

Upcoming Launch

Thanks to the All Day Play app, which the Mobile Action Lab will publish next week, you'll be able to hear internationally-recognized music tastemakers and cultural commentators anytime and anyplace on Android phones. Youth Radio’s high school interns are part of the publishing and promotions staff of All Day Play, a one-of-a-kind online radio station produced at our downtown Oakland street-side studios. A second group of teens co-created the app’s prototype using App Inventor, a tool launched by Google and now housed at the famed MIT Media Labs. Both youth teams have collaborated on the app's design, testing, and user engagement processes. We'll add the link as soon as it's live! 

Youth Media Goes Mobile: An Article

Yesterday my contribution to the National Civic Review's 100th anniversary issue was published. The issue is called Beyond the Digital Divide: How New Technologies Can Amplify Civic Engagement. With the Mobile Action Lab as a case study, my essay, Youth Media Goes Mobile, explores how young people's involvement in mobile design and development can foster new literacies and modes of participatory politics. 

New Media and Collaborative Learning: An Interview

The National Learning Institute is a great site that promotes and documents "next generation learning experiences" for young people within and beyond schools. They just published a two-part interview with me called, "New Media and Collaborative Learning." The Mobile Action Lab shows up in the end. An excerpt:


Why is media production an alluring entry point for young people? Why and how do they come to Youth Radio? What are they looking for there that they are not getting at school or at home? 

Something interesting about that question is that I think we would have answered it differently prior to the onset of social media. Because there was a time when kids came to Youth Radio because they wanted to reach audiences with their expression; and there was a time when they would have needed a place like Youth Radio to do that. And of course that’s no longer the case, in a very simple or straightforward way, in the sense that young people obviously have enormously more access to self-publishing or self-broadcasting.

That being said, very often the audiences that they can reach singlehandedly or independently don’t come anywhere near the millions or tens of millions of viewers or listeners or readers that they can get access to through connecting up with a collective like Youth Radio. And also they have an opportunity to forge these face-to-face relationships with peers and with professional colleagues in order to be a part of a critical mass of content production that can be targeting specific issues or areas of interest where they can really make an impact.

It also should be said that it’s not always hard-hitting journalism that is going to drive kids to come in the doors. We do music production, video production, app development – so, very often, any one of those points of entry can be a hook. Then, from there, they get exposed to storytelling, reporting, and other forms of inquiry. 

Next Up...

We're running an intensive App inventor workshop over the next couple weeks with special guest facilitation from the guy who literally wrote the book about App Inventor, Professor David Wolber, USF. And we've got two other market-bound apps ready to launch, VoxPop (call-and-response, geo-located mobile radio) and Forage City (a new mobile platform to share excess produce with neighbors, non-profits, and people in need). 

More soon!




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