New Distance-Learning Student Support for Youth Media Challenge

We created a student instructions page for the Let’s Talk About Election 2020 youth media challenge to support students participating in distance-learning environments.

Under normal circumstances, teachers would be with students in classrooms, engaging in topical and relevant discussions around the upcoming presidential election. In our current environment, rigorous student discourse has never been more important, even if we are doing so from afar. KQED’s Let’s Talk About Election 2020 youth media challenge launched in January and has already received over 100 video and audio submissions about issues that matter most to teens. 

For our new distance-learning context, KQED has made it easier for teachers to lead students through the process of sharing their important evidence-backed opinions about issues like climate change, gun control and of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. We created a student instructions page that guides young media producers through the step-by-step process of creating a video or audio commentary:

Step 1: Watch and listen to commentaries produced by students from around the country for inspiration.

Step 2: Choose a topic by exploring the Above the Noise Election 2020 playlist on YouTube and other issues analysis resources. 

Step 3: Learn about the components of a commentary script, including how to cite evidence like a journalist, and start writing!

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Step 4: Get audio and video recording tips from Above the Noise host Myles Bess and explore editing programs.

Last step: Upload the final product to the KQED Let’s Talk About Election 2020 Showcase!

The student instructions page provides a streamlined approach to creating effective, standards-aligned media pieces, allowing students to participate in the challenge more independently. It doesn’t replace a teacher’s thoughtful guidance and mentorship. If you have the flexibility and are interested in tailoring the project for your class, browse the challenge’s curricular toolbox, which contains many customizable supports around writing analysis, peer-to-peer feedback, narration tracking and more. 

These challenging times require different approaches to meet students’ academic and technological needs. Some educators may be teaching in environments that support easy communication, while others might not have access to their students in the same way. Whatever your situation might be, we want your students to be able to participate in the national conversation. 

First, sign your class up for the challenge, then, if it makes sense for your students, send them to the student instructions page. Students can also access this link on the challenge showcase page. We can’t wait to hear what your students have to say!