Powerful Voices for KidsTM is a university-school partnership sponsored by the Media Education Lab at Temple University. The program was co-founded in 2008 by Renee Hobbs, a professor in the School of Communications and Theater at Temple University and Laurada Byers, founder of the Russell Byers Charter School in Philadelphia.
Our mission is to strengthen children's abilities to think for themselves, communicate effectively using language and technology tools, and use their powerful voices to contribute to the quality of life in their families, their schools, their communities, and the world.
Summer Enrichment Program for Children
In 2010 and 2009, we offered a summer enrichment program of instruction to more than 150 children aged 5 - 14. Many graduate, undergraduate and recent SCT graduates participated in the program as instructors, developing curriculum and implementing hands-on media production work with children. Children made videos, create simple videogame interactives, and create simple websites using wiki software. They analyzed news, visited a local TV station, learned about advertising, and conducted robust debates about current events. Children entering Grades 1 - 6 experienced an innovative pedagogy that combines play and learning in the course of media analysis and creative multimedia composition activities. Through reading, viewing and listening to a variety of traditional and popular culture media texts, children learned how to think abstractly about questions of authorship, audience, and purpose across all types of media. Children experienced the power of being an author of different types of media productions including videos, poetry, music, news articles, videogames, and comic books, working individually and collaboratively to develop powerful voices that can help them engage deeply with their communities and the world around them
Staff Development Program: A Small Learning Community
During the 2010-2011 school year, we developed a 30-hour program of professional development for 12 teachers at the Russell Byers Charter School. The program was designed to support teachers' understanding of media literacy concepts and instructional practices and to strengthen teacher confidence in using digital technology for teaching and learning. Participating teachers created and implemented original lesson plans and we observed and documented the process.
Staff Development Program: Powerful Voices for Kids OPEN DOORS PROGRAM
In 2010, we offered a professional development program for 70 educators from Philadelphia and around the country on July 6 - 10, 2010. Kristin Hokanson, Kelly Mendoza, David Cooper Moore and John Landis participated as faculty members in the program. We received support from the National Writing Project to bring 9 teachers from their network to participate in the program. The program offered 32 hours of instructional time on the theory and pedagogy of media literacy education, with opportunities for teachers to observe classroom practice during the Powerful Voices for Kids program. We also implemented a research agenda, developing vignettes of student learning, examining the development of children's understanding of authorship and genre using a Q-sort methodology, and assessing student and teacher satisfaction with the program.