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Salem State University and Lynn Library collaborate to empower teens

Posted by Terri Ogan  March 26, 2013 11:32 AM

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Salem State University and the Lynn Library are collaborating on a project that aims to empower teens.

The 18-month project will focus on designing a digital learning lab in the middle of the Lynn Library to encourage a set of principles: hanging out, messing around and geeking out (HOMAGO).

The program is being funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and will be an innovative learning experience for those involved.

Working with the library, Salem State’s Center for Teaching Innovation (CTI) devised a project plan that puts the entire design of the lab in the hands of the teens.

As they design the lab and raise money for its ultimate creation, the teens will learn skills in group dynamics, project management, social media, fund raising, marketing and evaluating software and hardware.

More than just a learning exercise, the grant-funded project will result in actual change at the Lynn Public Library for all area teens.

According to Marc Boots-Ebenfield, director of the Center for Teaching Innovation, the “transformational” project will cost upwards of $250,000 once completed.

“These teens have little money, reduced access to the latest technologies and have not been engaged in the participatory, collaborative culture of American democracy,” Boots-Ebenfield said. “These same teens will now be placed on project teams with mentors, workshops, online communities, resources, and guidance to compete on the design of a new, high-tech teen center.”

In April 2014, after 16 months of guided inquiry, the teens involved will present their designs at a forum to which the entire town is invited.

They will meet the mayor, members of the Lynn City Council and Salem State University professors and administrators as each team pitches its proposed design for the learning lab.

Boots-Ebenfield said although the grant is purely for design, the students will concurrently determine funding for the actual building of the lab.

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