A 2016 survey showed that the YOUmedia Learning Labs Network serves an estimated 43,700 youth. A national network enables practitioners to connect, share programs. and engage in high-quality continued professional development. Official labs in the YOUmedia network gain access to the following benefits.
Visibility on a national scale
As part of a nationally recognized and supported network launched by the MacArthur Foundation and the Institute for Museum and Library Services beginning in 2009, labs within the network have access to the use of the national brand, as well as access to marketing tools and expertise including representation in YOUmedia press coverage. Labs share branding strategies, which allows them to increase efficiency while collectively offering cutting-edge resources and programs, informed by the national network.
Access to Professional Development and Innovation
In order to ensure that practitioners in YOUmedia Network member labs have the skills required to support, inspire, and engage teens, the YOUmedia Network offers member labs a wealth of resources from lesson plans, programming ideas, research information, supply lists, and opportunities for Professional Development. This also includes access to a longstanding community of administrators, program directors, and mentors, both online through a community of practice, and in-person at network retreats and conference opportunities. Network labs are also regularly convened to develop professional development across network labs, creating a cohesive, YOUmedia-branded set of resources.
Built on a Foundation and Connection to Research
The YOUmedia Learning Labs Network is leading the field of 21st century digital literacy in formal and informal learning spaces such as libraries, museums, community centers, and schools. The practices are based in research from the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub, the University of Chicago, and is actively working with nationally-recognized researchers in the fields of education, cultural anthropology, learning sciences, and digital learning. By joining the network, your institution will have access to new opportunities to engage in cutting-edge research to measure and show 21st century learning skills and digital literacy, youth-engagement methodologies, ways of engaging with new opportunities and technology, mentor-supported informal learning, outcome measurement strategies, and access to evaluation tools.
Opportunities for Funding
All labs in the YOUmedia Learning Labs Network are eligible for national grants, corporate sponsorships, and other funding streams. The YOUmedia Network actively pursues shared funding opportunities from national foundations through its home at the National Writing Project, and has dedicated staff for grant writing, reporting, and fiscal agency.