YOUmedia Learning Labs are creative, transformative, and dynamic spaces that expand youths’ opportunities for interest-driven learning.
With a commitment to equity and digital inclusion, YOUmedia Learning Labs share a core philosophy that youth are best engaged when they are discovering and following their passions, collaborating with others, and being makers and doers. YOUmedia Learning Labs put Connected Learning into action.
YOUmedia Learning Labs come in many shapes and sizes and can be found in libraries, museums, community centers, and school settings. Although individual sites may address these qualities differently, these features define YOUmedia Learning Labs’ aspirations and are a core focus for programming and the community of practice.
YOUmedia Learning Labs share the following hallmarks:
- A balance of opportunities for hanging out, messing around, and geeking out (HOMAGO);
- Multiple ways for a diversity of youth to engage within the program space;
- A culture that prioritizes equity, inclusion, and youth leadership;
- Access to tools, technology, and people who support learning, self-expression, creativity, critical thinking, and innovation;
- Mentors who are dedicated to the YOUmedia approach;
- Clear pathways and opportunities that enable youth to apply skills in meaningful ways.
- Lower barriers to participation in terms of cost and accessibility;
- Develop programming in response to youths’ interests;
- Offer a range of leadership opportunities for youth, including opportunities to co-design programs;
- Connect youth to a wider network of organizations and services.
Administrators who create an environment in which staff work together to:
- Develop flexible, responsive, and adaptive programming;
- Pursue professional development and continued learning locally and nationally;
- Participate in the regular evaluation and improvement of the Learning Lab.
YOUmedia Learning Labs’ administrators also work to develop partnerships and relationships in support of the YOUmedia Learning Labs and advocate for the program within the institution in which they are housed.