The Youth and Media team at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society has been working on three major aspects of the playlists project: 1) partnering with four youth-serving organizations to recruit four groups of highly motivated local youth interested in digital literacy and design; 2) planning the co-design workshops; 3) translating our own curricular modules and learning resources into learning experience (XP) prototypes, and curating content from key partners that correspond to the themes of our playlists.
After several conversations with diverse youth-serving organizations in the Boston metropolitan area, we have been able to secure four different sites for developing our co-design process. We have selected them based on a number of factors, such as teacher and youth interest in digital literacy and design, time availability, and diversity. Two of these sites, Press Pass TV and Zumix, are local organizations that offer training in music, arts, and media production to low-income and underserved youth. The other two locations, Philips Andover Academy and NuVu, are independent private schools with innovative approaches to education and strong academic and design programs.
In collaboration with teachers from each organization, we have started to recruit groups of youth co-designers (8-14) who will help us create the learning playlists. We have scheduled two workshops at each site in which we plan to run an agile co-design process. Prior to the workshops, youth will have the opportunity to review examples of a playlist and several learning experiences (XPs) from the LRNG platform that we will share with them.
One of the major objectives of our Digital Citizenship playlists project is to repurpose the curricula and tools that we have developed in the past by the Youth and Media team and transforming them into learning experiences (XPs). These XPs will be aligned with youth interests and perspectives, and can be used by youth on their own, without the help of adults or peers. In order to facilitate the playlist co-design process in an agile way, we intend to run co-design workshops where youth can tweak and remix a range of learning experiences (XPs) that we have previously prepared in draft form. Each XP prototype, which has been created from both our curriculum and content from external collaborators, corresponds to a specific playlist theme: digital self, authorship, careers, and advocacy. Given the time constraints for developing the co-design process, having a range of pre-prepared, draft XPs will help us work in an agile manner during the workshops.
We have experimented with different ways of translating our curricula into XPs. Our team has reviewed and categorized all the learning tools we have previously produced according to the different themes of the four Digital Citizenship playlists. We have also identified content from external collaborators such as By Any Media Necessary, Project Zero, and the Engagement Lab, that we can use to create learning experiences related to advocacy and authorship. Additionally, with the help of the Convergence Design Lab, we have created an XP builder spreadsheet that allows us to translate our curricula into learning experiences by identifying SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound), XP descriptions, multimedia resources, hands-on activities (show and prove), duration of these activities, banners, and LRNG levels. The XP builder thus offers a solid structure for translating curricula into XPs while integrating a variety of multimedia resources.
Our co-design workshops will take place in January and February of 2017. In order to meet the scheduling needs of the students, we have decided to facilitate two workshops of two and a half hours length at each site. In the workshops, we intend to engage youth in the the four phases of the design thinking process: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. Our main objective is to assemble one digital citizenship learning playlist with the group of co-designers at each youth-serving organization.
We have spent the past months planning, and experimenting with, the co-design workshops. Our team has created workshop handout materials and templates, tested different design thinking activities, and created a structure for the workshops that allow us to develop the co-design process in an agile manner. In the first workshop, we will focus on the empathizing and defining phases of the design process, and start the process of ideation. Together with the group of youth co-designers we will create empathy maps (personas activity) of the users of the playlists, define the specific themes of the playlists, and exchange ideas for potential learning experiences (brainstorming and interviewing exercises).
In the second workshop, we will concentrate on ideation, prototyping, and testing. We will co-create the learning experiences (XPs) and the badges, as well as the sequencing of the playlists. Our team will bring 10-12 XPs in draft form that are related to a specific playlist theme. Working in groups, youth will be able to tweak the language of the XPs, choose the multimedia content they like the most, and define the artifact they want to create as a "show and prove" part of the learning experience. Using 4-5 XPs, co-designers will also experiment with sequencing the playlist and will be able to test the arrangement in different groups. This second workshop is what we have called “playlist jam.” The output of the workshop will be a playlist in draft form that we can then test and iterate.
After conducting the two workshops at each site, we will continue testing the playlists and tuning the XPs to ensure that these interactive activities unlock opportunities for youth. For this follow-up work, we are considering inviting the most enthusiastic youth co-designers from each site to work with us here at the Berkman Klein Center so they can continue to be active participants in the co-design process.