Some years ago, Raison started exploring possible new media education programs centered on 21st Century Skills and conceptualised a Kindemedia program to help young children gain fluency in important digital literacies. The key outcomes we were aiming for were to: (i) introduce a powerful experience of media as creative tool and (ii) spark an ongoing interest in creative media output.
Our goal to this approach was simply to get kids interested in media production early, to balance off increasingly unhealthy trends in media consumption. While it wouldn’t solve the problem of the absolute amount of time spent on media, we considered that this type of media engagement (active exercise vs passive stimulation) was in the class of ‘hard work’, and media substitution of this sort would help mitigate future online addictions.
Like dealing with an obesity epidemic, the first step is getting children to switch from watching a soccer game at the sidelines, to having real fun chasing the ball.
Why Digital Literacies?
Creative expression is empowering, and digital literacies are the foundation to communicating in the new media world of the 21st Century. These skill sets and the ability to create media are becoming increasingly important in learning processes today where team projects, digital portfolios and presentations take centerstage. We’ve seen important digital movements emerge with this focus, such as the Hour of Code adopted across mainstream US schools.
More importantly, digital literacies encompass the learning dispositions and values children need to navigate safely and successfully in the new media environment of their future. Much of the initial thinking behind this program went into the subsequent development of the Digital Explorer Quest, an online cyber safety trainer developed for children ages 7-12.
Digital Language Groups
In developing the concept for a Kindemedia Discovery Program, we looked at the naturally occurring types of Digital Language Groups and then narrowed in to the media creation process for a single ‘language’ strand. We then experimented with a program that would lead kids through a Spiral Learning approach to introduce the building blocks of independent exploration in media production.
The Sonic Noisic! Discovery Program
Here’s a snapshot of what the program looked like in our initial trials. A series of simple guidelines and methods were developed to get kids going with the digital language of audio ringtones with light technical supervision. After an introduction to different music styles and the range of creative possibility, children would select a music genre they enjoyed to create unique mobile ringtones for their parents.
Tap into your creative rhythm
- Session 1: Get the Rhythm! – Intro & Drums; Team orientation
- Session 2: Let’s Band Together! – Guitar & Keyboard; Copyright
- Session 3: Tops and Bottoms! – Bass & Melody
- Session 4: You Sound Great! – Recording Voice
Get imaginative with sound
- Session 5: Jazz it Up! – Adding New Sounds
- Session 6: My Cool Factory! – Adding New Sounds II
- Session 7: It’s Sonic Noisic! – Wrap Up
- Session 8: Run, Fun, Done! – Graduation Party; Show and Tell