King Street Youth Center Media Literacy

Since the fall of 2015, I've been visiting the King Street Youth Center once a month, trying to entice the youths there to engage with media making.  As with most after school programs, I have have found that students tend not to want to do more work that feels like school work, and they would rather play.  And to my mind, this doesn't rule out media making.

So instead of trying to sit them down and lecture them on media literacy, I approached working with King Street Youth Center by ultimately letting the students guide what we were going to make.  By the end, my hope was that we would have a few projects under our belts that would exemplify different production techniques, and ultimately, give the students the itch to create more.  We first made a short piece about playing pool, then a fictional short piece about a magical gem that two groups were fighting over.  The goal with that piece was to use different shots and angles to convey setting, character and plot.  Then we played around with some stop-motion, and also shot a dodgeball knockout game.  After a wide array of approaches, one of the students, AJ, stood out.  And so as a final approach, I brought in all the high-end production gear and let AJ run an interview all on his own.  Below you can see the results.

 

What I found most interesting was that it was not just one thing that interested AJ, but rather, it took multiple approaches to get him hooked on media making.  But what I did find was that once he got around the higher-end gear, the stakes became higher.  He took it more seriously than when I just had my iPad with me.  So in turn, I do think it can take a media literacy teacher a few tries before they find what the students gravitate towards.  But I think the point is to continue to try until one form of the medium connects.