By Sara Bernard
Over the past five years, more than 27,000 students from Australia to Senegal to San Francisco have made films and other media about a wide range of subjects -- from young refugees, to how to improve public education in the U.S., to environmental preservation, racial and gender discrimination, and more. They’ve produced their work in and outside of school and have taken it to festivals like Cinequest and Sundance.
The common thread with all these projects is Adobe Youth Voices (AYV), which is part of the Adobe Foundation. As a non-profit arm of a for-profit company, AYV supports youth media and education organizations (including Listen Up!, the Bay Area Video Coalition, Reel Works, Radio Rookies, iEARN, and the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network) by providing grants, collaborative partnerships, professional development, tech tools and resources, and a worldwide network of teachers, students, and professionals making media together.
The premise behind the program: Media-making enables students to express themselves, address important global issues, and -- as they're using the latest technology to work on community-based projects, still a rare breed in most classrooms – to "bridge that gap between school and what's going to happen when they leave school," says AYV program manager Patricia Cogley.
The National Youth Listening Tour, for instance, is a program sponsored by the Department of Education to help reduce dropout rates and improve public education through youth input, and AYV student media will be featured in Boston, Seattle, and the San Francisco Bay Area.