St. Paul, MN: Createch

“Take it and Make it Big”: Growing Partnerships with Libraries and Community-Based Organizations in St. Paul

In an article in Youth Media Reporter, the Createch program is credited for changing the ways in which the community in the city of St. Paul, Minnesota collaborates to improve digital media literacy. It focuses on the purpose of the Createch spaces in three St. Paul Public Library (SPPL) branches and one St. Paul Parks and Recreation (SPPR) building.

“In the fall of 2012, SPPL and SPPR came together to implement what they were learning through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Learning Labs grant into their teen programming. They learned, through research of the digital inclusion movement, 3 that consistent spaces and strong mentorships were the keys to robust teen participation in digital media literacy programs. Thus, renamed as Createch, the program began providing teens from urban communities reliable access to technology and the opportunity to utilize digital media tools and learn the skills needed for full participation in digital media literacy settings.

The purposes of Createch are to provide (1) public spaces in the city for teens to access the technology needed to pursue their interests, (2) opportunities to use emerging technology to spark new passions, and (3) mentors to support teens’ individual work and growth. Currently, there are Createch spaces in three SPPL branches and one SPPR building throughout the city, and the adult team has grown to include members of the Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN), a community media center, to teach video production. The learning that takes place at Createch sites is based on the experiential learning theory HOMAGO, developed by Mizuko Ito and her team. In their paper, Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project (2008), they describe three states of successful youth participation in digital learning spaces, hanging out, messing around, and geeking out (HOMAGO). Their work suggests that interaction with new media literacies is shifting the ways youth participate in literacy learning and that out-of-school contexts can encourage and support this participation.”

By Janos McGhie, Kao Choua Vue, Maggie Struck, Marika Staloch and Peter Kirschmann
Originally posted by Youth Media Reporter