A Public/Private Partnership Model to Showcase Youths' Digital Skills
and Rural Community Web-based Innovations
If local districts don't have the funding, energy, or ambition to address the following key components then perhaps the following public/private partnership model could make it easy for both the K12 leadership and local business leadership work together to leverage the digital skills of the youth? Simplicity would be the key. The components being, 1. public/private partnerships, 2. youth digital entrepreneurship, 3. community engagement in a service learning context. and 4. instructional entrepreneurship - learning to create online instructional resources.
Here's a quick sketch for review along with the question "Is there a reason this wouldn't work?" And "Is anyone doing this already?" If so, who exactly and how?
Most 21st Century Literacy training programs do a good job of teaching the basic technology applications in an instructional context, but often missing are the essential socio-economic components of youth digital entrepreneurship, exposure to the local business community, community engagement in online collaboration and web expression, and teaching authoring of instructional technology applications. Too often K12 administrators and educators already have too much on their plates.
However, the following model might prove to be a no-cost solution for schools.
To facilitate public/private partnerships with local businesses, sponsorship of the following after-school "Rural Innovations Showcase" program by local businesses could provide important win-win opportunities for all concerned. This service learning project model is designed to showcase youths digital skills to the adult public and business community.
Starting Simply, but Building Sustainable Enthusiasm
Too often adults are unaware of the extent of web-based innovations, and youth are often far advanced beyond their parents and teachers. The opportunity exists to engage youth in expanding their knowledge in a context of community empowerment along with the opportunity to make their recommendations and expertise known.
Most replicable innovations could be implemented locally by the youth at little or no cost, if encouraged to do so. Businesses would provide the necessary social recognition and opportunities for youth to have a voice by providing an adult community leadership audience to listen to their recommendations.
Showcasing Rural Web-based Innovations to Raise Local Awareness
The program sponsors would ask for youth participants to identify economic and social web-based innovations from other communities to consider for local adoption. A range of recommended event models would be available from simple short term to more extended activities. Businesses would provide awards and social recognition for the specific accomplishments of youth, to include new web resources for the community, developing new web sites and web skills within the business community, and raising awareness locally for web-based community social and economic innovative applications.
Youth participants and business sponsors would attend a 2-hour kick-off presentation demonstrating an initial set of example innovations and defining the scope and scale of the initial project activity. (A range of options is available in document format.)
Youth Gathering of Relevant Innovations from other Communities and Sources
Youth would then work to search out more innovations and prepare a multimedia presentation for K12 administrators, educators, parents, and local business persons showcasing their findings with emphasis on local replication.
Youth would learn to create basic instructional web sites and/or short online tutorials or online courses designed to impart the significance of the web-based innovations which they have researched as well as teaching the important new skills and free web tools associated with building local web entrepreneurial capacity. A peer-judged competition for the best 15 minute skills transfer tutorial would be an example. Or creating the best single screen "tool box" collection of useful web tools.
Extensive related resources, innovations, articles, and online courses already exist.
The following first two documents in particular are recommended. One is very short, the second quite detailed.:
Existing model programs involving creating instructional resources related to community capacity-building http://lone-eagles.com/capacity.htm
A major grant model based on the above concept http://lone-eagles.com/seeds.htm
Youth Grants and extensive related resources http://lone-eagles.com/youth.htm
A dozen rural ecommerce grant templates http://lone-eagles.com/rural-grant-templates.htm
A listing of simple community events is at http://lone-eagles.com/academy.htm
A smart community quiz with example innovations is at http://lone-eagles.com/smart.htm followed by many articles and related resources.