Youth Media Cafe Makes a Connection

Understanding how media affects you and the world around you is very important in a society where we are all a part of some form of focus group. On Friday, Nov. 7, Prof. Nick Pernisco hosted the Youth Media Café, a workshop where students were educated on new media, learning and civic engagement.

Media Youth Café started with a series of introductions starting with the students and staff introducing themselves to each other. The workshop continued with a string of videos. The first video "Did you know" gave an eerie perspective on the way media is manipulating today's youth. In the video students in a class room were holding up signs that said things like "I bring my laptop to class everyday but I'm not doing class related stuff."

Sylvia Martinez continued with a power point presentation that led students through a realist perspective of how media works with and against them and how students have control over how much they are affected by media. The PowerPoint went through the different delivery methods of pushing messages to students in less time. The question of the workshop was how can we create a global, media literate society?

Media is this constant evolving thing that requires doing. The question professors have been struggling with is how do you teach someone media if media is not a subject? Schools all over have been experimenting with this idea of using media literacy in their over all education. A non-profit organization called Generation Yes has been designing and using programs that combine technology and student leadership. Generation Y is allowing students to teach each other media literacy by providing them with laptops, allowing cable in the classrooms, and using online networks that allow students to be able to stay connected with each other and their educators when class is not in session. Students in Media Lit. Café were able to see how students are taking their education in their own hands by hosting their own workshops to teach each other things like how to create a podcast.

After giving students background and examples of media literacy Pernisco connected with Alison Tores, a teacher at Audubon High School of Media and Technology, in Milwaukee and her students. SMC students were able to communicate with the students visually and verbally through a webcam. The students at Audubon high have been using a system called project based learning where students learn from each other. All of the students are given laptops that they bring to school everyday. They use it to follow lectures and take notes as well as following their instructors online. The students use management software called SLC which serves an online course site. Students are allowed to connect with each other at any time and create conversational forums about school. Audubon students come together in smart rooms and create discussions on school related topics.

Students from SMC and Audubon were able to talk to each other and share their similar learning techniques and resources used in and out of the classroom to aid them in their education.

SMC graduate Daniel Cubas shared his story of living in a media driven society, visually impaired due to cerebral palsy. Cubas can not read Braille and has been using media and other alternatives to aid him in his education. Cubas also shared how he is able to teach his instructors understand the needs of a visually impaired student.

The students ended their discussions by giving each other advice about how to be careful when using online resources and how to work with media cautiously. Elsa Dahan said, "I felt that the workshop was interesting because I took Communication 1 with Pernisco and it really opened my eyes to what he taught us about media manipulating us."