October 19, 2023

Making Media that Matters: YR Media to Facilitate Two Sessions at the 2023 Connected Learning Summit

Categories: Connected Learning, Digital Citizenship, Digital Learning, Educational Practice, Research, Youth Well-Being
YR Media is excited to participate in CLS this year, facilitating two interactive sessions via our Teach YR effort. We’ll be leading a roundtable conversation about our work co-creating curriculum with educators and students grounded in YR Media content, and in a workshop session, we will focus on one of our most recent projects developing action civics learning resources on future visioning for humanizing social policy. Below we share more about this work, and invite you to join our sessions and community.

Why Youth Media?

In the wake of multiple intersecting pandemics, educational inequities have ratcheted up, and teachers and students are struggling to find new footing. A “staggering” 55% of educators are considering exiting the profession earlier than they originally anticipated, this according to a 2022 report from the National Education Association. The number is even higher for Black and Latinx educators who are already underrepresented in the profession. Pressure has only intensified as a result of a polarizing political climate that recently drove the US Attorney General to announce a series of efforts to address an alarming rise in harassment and threats of violence against public school officials and personnel. 

The challenges teachers and students face today existed long before current events brought them to the forefront. “The lockdown worked like a chemical experiment that suddenly illuminated hidden things,” wrote author and activist Arundhati Roy.1 Teachers have been exhausted by unsustainable conditions, including health risks, targeted threats, and labor shortages. Most have few opportunities for authentic collaboration with one another, and opportunities for collaboration with students within communities of practice are even more rare. 

To navigate this renewed reckoning, we seek novel approaches to longstanding problems. We take up Roy’s invitation to experience these challenging times as a portal to “imagine our world anew.” That means framing the work of teaching and learning as tasks of humanization. Resisting status-quo boundaries and hierarchies of expertise in learning, we ask: What might it look like to learn together as a reciprocal endeavor that allows teachers and students to show up fully as human beings in culturally-sustaining ways? By bridging youth learning, teacher learning, content creation, and curriculum development, we aim to transform business-as-usual systems that were not working for so many students and educators. 


About Us

YR Media is an award-winning media, technology and music training center, and platform for emerging content creators from underrepresented communities across the country who are using their voices to change the world. The students we work with find that their experiences are ignored, distorted, and sometimes outright betrayed by the nation’s core institutions, including journalism and education. For the past 30 years, YR Media has offered a space for 14-to-24 year olds, mostly BIPOC, to harness and share their voices and talents to an audience of millions. 

Teach YR brings curriculum, events, and research to emerging journalists, music producers, and creatives, as well as educators, lawmakers, and other stakeholders to extend the legacy and impact of the  organization’s headquarters in Oakland and new Midwest hub in Chicago. We work collaboratively with our scholars-in-residence, educators, and student co-investigators to conduct research that disseminates our model and thought leadership to public and academic audiences. Teach YR applies the organization’s collaborative, youth-centered approach to curriculum creation. We partner educators with teen and young adult co-editors to develop learning tools that highlight YR Media’s content, produced by youth for youth. 


CLS2023 Roundtable: Students and Teachers Co-Creating with YR Media

The Teach YR staff collaborates in a community of practice where we discuss justice-oriented media literacies – authorship, digital tools, youth voice – enabling teachers to develop their own humanizing pedagogy and curriculum to share in their classrooms. Our humanizing collegial pedagogy model centers on co-creation of curriculum, engaging multiple feedback cycles including lessons derived from YR Media content; educators who leverage our content as anchor text to explore important topics in their classroom; students who co-develop curriculum that speaks to their lived experience; and students who, through our curriculum, become interested in producing media and are in a position to pitch and place stories on YR Media platforms. 

Join us for an engaging roundtable conversation, “Youth Media Humanizing Collegial Pedagogies: Students and Teachers Co-creating with Teach YR Media,” where we will share easy-to-use learning resources, hear from youth and educator collaborators, and showcase youth media projects created from our curriculum. Saturday October 28, 10:30am – 11:30am PT / 1:30pm – 2:30pm ET.


CLS2023 Workshop: A Manifesto Toolkit, Curriculum and Community

Over the past year, YR Media collaborated with the California100 initiative to design a “Dreamers & Doers” Toolkit, which offers a robust model for producing youth manifestos for the future. During this workshop, “Futures Visioning with Youth Media: A Manifesto Toolkit, Curriculum and Community,” we will dig into the toolkit, explore topic development, and play future visioning games so you can then take the toolkit into your learning spaces, supporting your students in being critical, civic agents developing future manifestos, in multi-modal media formats, about the issues that matter most to them. The second portion of the workshop will involve an interactive exploration of the “Our Futures Forum” curriculum project. This project-based learning experience invites students to create documentaries about their neighborhoods in the year 2075. Students investigate the impact of climate change and propose solutions that promote community resilience. The Our Futures Forum curriculum was developed by Marielle Burt through Stanford University’s Learning Design and Technology master’s program, and is grounded in the Stanford d.school’s Futures Thinking approaches. We will wrap up the session in dialogue, taking any questions and sharing the many ways you can continue to connect with us in community. Join us for an interactive workshop building on momentum from future-oriented visioning models2;3;4 to re-envision the future with youth media! Saturday October 28, 12:00pm – 1:00pm PT / 3:00pm – 4:00pm ET.


Join our Community

When educators and students co-create curriculum that centers youth-created content, students engage in the learning process in new ways. This approach can transform the diversity, quality, and relevance of curriculum. Students come to see themselves as creators of media on issues that matter to them, their communities, and the world. The humanizing collegial pedagogy model creates conditions for positive relationships between students and teachers as co-builders and co-investigators of learning environments that affirm identity, culture, and belonging. We have already glimpsed the model’s impact, as some of our educator collaborators piloted their curricula and then shared media their own students created as a result, inspired by the YR Media stories. We are excited to share this work with you at our two sessions at CLS. Also, we invite you to stay connected by signing up for our quarterly Teach YR newsletter!



  1. Roy, Arundhati. 2020. Azadi. Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books. (p 186)
  2. Garcia, A., Mirra, N., & Banks, J.A. (Eds.). (2023). Speculative Pedagogies: Designing Equitable Educational Futures. Teachers College Press.
  3. Holbert, N., Dando, M., & Correa, I. (2020). Afrofuturism as critical constructionist design: Building futures from the past and present. Learning, Media and Technology, 45(4), 328-344.
  4. Jenkins, H., Shresthova, S., Gamber-Thompson, L., Kligler-Vilenchik, N., Zimmerman, A. M., & Soep, E. (2016). By Any Media Necessary: The New Youth Activism. NYU Press.

The Connected Learning Summit fuels a growing movement of innovators harnessing the power of emerging technology to expand access to participatory, playful, and creative learning. With a unique focus on cross-sector connections and progressive and catalytic innovation, the event brings together leading researchers, educators, and developers. 

CLS2023 is fully virtual. Register today, and view the full schedule here.

Post by Monica Clark, PhD – TeachYR Director at YR Media

Monica Clark, PhD, researches and writes about equity, justice and civic engagement in education. Clark has extensive experience conducting community-engaged research that brings youth in as authentic co-investigators. She has taught university courses focused on critical media studies, youth cultures as well as education reform and equity. Clark received her PhD in Education, with a concentration in Urban Education & Equity, from Temple University. 

Email: monica.clark@yrmedia.org & teachyr@yrmedia.org

YR Media’s news platform: YR.Media

YR Media’s org site: YRMedia.org

Teach YR’s Teachable Moments site

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