Write UR(L) Web
“If you don’t learn to write your own life story, someone else will write it for you,” is Power Poetry’s (www.powerpoetry.org) motto. Launched in April 2012, we are the world’s first and largest online/mobile poetry community for youth. Our mission is to move our users to action. We are not just a digital community for poets –we are a community of socially engaged poets who use innovative multimedia art as a tool for educational and social impact. Although Power Poetry is based in New York City, our reach is national. At the time of writing nearly 37,000 young poets are registered users in our digital community and that number is growing exponentially.
The award-winning documentary To Be Heard (www.tobeheard.org) is the inspiration for Power Poetry. Hailed by the New York Times as “˜one of the best documentaries of the year,’ the film follows three young poets whose struggle to change their lives begins when they start to write poetry. To Be Heard is the culmination of the over 10 years our Executive Director has spent working with youth in NYC public schools through the Power Writers (www.powerwriters.org) program.
Power Poetry is seeking $10,000 from the Digital Media and Learning Competition to produce and conduct a four-day learning lab, Write UR(L) Web, that supports youth as they develop critical web-based skills in three connected areas: data and analytics, badge design and content creation. Approximately 25 high school students will attend the 4 day-long event hosted at New Design High School (http://www.newdesignhigh.com), a center for groundbreaking digital learning on New York City’s Lower East Side. Youth participants in Write UR(L) Web will gain critical digital skills that support them as they become active web makers who understand not only how to create stellar educational content, but also what drives web engagement and why.
Write UR(L) Web focuses on the development of web-based skills that drive youth to become critically engaged makers of the web. Workshops facilitated by our staff members and interns will focus on three connected topics: data and analytics, badge design and content creation.
– Data and Analytics. A clear comprehension of the web requires an understanding of the forces that drive user engagement and participation. This section of Write UR(L) Web will distill topics in analytics and data for a high school audience. Youth will gain basic skills to help them meaningfully interpret Google Analytics and web data. Our Chief Technology Officer, George Weiner, will also share with participants how he, in his former position as CTO of DoSomething.org, helped grow the organization to over 1 million online teen users.
– Badge Development. Badges are increasingly used across platforms as tools to measure user engagement and skill acquisition. Through staff- and youth-facilitated workshops and breakout sessions, program participants will (1) discover the purpose, goals, and benefits of badges via a staff-facilitated workshops, and, (2) in youth-led teams of 6, create a badge system model for Power Poetry’s digital community. Power Poetry’s high school and college interns will facilitate these breakout groups. At the culmination of the event, each team will pitch their badge design ideas to Power Poetry staff and a consultant graphic designer, receiving immediate supportive feedback.
– Content Creation. Creating engaging multimedia content is a valuable skill for people of all ages, but especially for youth who will enter an economy transformed by digital innovation. In this final section of Write UR(L) Web, our staff will facilitate a half-day workshop on producing educational multimedia content for the web. Youth will then work in breakout groups of 3 to create either (a) multimedia educational resource guides for Power Poetry (http://www.powerpoetry.org/resources), or, (b) poetic/educational content of their choice. At the close of the learning lab, participants will present their content to the entire group. Power Poetry’s NYC-based mentors will assist with the development and implementation of this session.
Write UR(L) Web’s tentative agenda is as follows:
Day 1 Introduction to Power Poetry and screening of TO BE HEARD
Staff-Facilitated Workshop: Analytics and “How the Web Works”
Day 2 Staff-facilitated “Intro to Badges” workshop
Youth-led badge development breakout session
Staff-facilitated analytics review session
Day 3 Staff- and mentor-facilitated “Creating Poetic Content for the Web”
Youth-led content creation breakout groups;
Youth-led badge development breakout session
Day 4 Content team wrap ups
Badge team wrap ups
Badge “˜pitch’ to graphic designer
Content creation presentations
Final program wrap up