Through Networks for Youth Development
for the City of New York developed a handbook
of "positive youth outcomes" for practitioners. Youth
development programs help youth develop competencies
that will enable them to grow, develop skills, and
become healthy, responsible, and caring people. Youth
development is a shared responsibility, practioners
cannot do it alone. They need the buy-in of youth,
their families and community partners because many
factors affect young people's lives. Networks for Youth
Development has combined research, discussion, and
practical experience in articulating best practices
of youth development. They have identified the following
competencies for positive youth outcomes:
Originality (Creative Competency)
Understanding ourselves and others (Personal competency)
Thinking and reasoning (Cognitive competency)
(Physical health competency)
Mental health competency
All young people will not demonstrate
these competencies in the same way. These are progressive
competencies that young people will develop at different
rates. Obviously, young people can obtain these competencies
in many ways but for the purposes of this site we will
focus on the use of digital media to achieve various
Positive Youth Outcomes with
Creative competency applies to the exploration
and development of self-expression. Digital media-related
activities provide youth with opportunities for artistic
expression, to express individuality, etc. Achievement
outcomes include developing or publishing portfolios.
competency applies to actions that reflect the understanding
of one's own opinions and thoughts and those of others
in order to handle situations appropriately and non-violently.
For many people the Internet and World Wide Web has
opened up whole new worlds. Young people are using
chat rooms, discussion forums, weblogs, and
web sites to connect to articulate and listen to others,
recognize and relate to themselves and others, and
define and analyze issues. Achievement outcomes include
securing adequate living arrangements, having safe
environments, managing money, and daily living routines.
Cognitive competency applies to intellectual
development and the integration of information into
operational functions. This is where educational activities
play an important role. Tutorial programs help young
people become more aware of their learning process
and develop analytical and organizational thinking.
They are able to set goals and develop basic skills.
Achievement outcomes include getting a high school
diploma or GED, or mastery of English language. Regarding
digital media, this area is wide open for exploration.
Civic competency applies to a core of
respect and value for civil and human rights of oneself
and others and the recognition that one can further
these rights for oneself and one's community by participating
in the governmental process and in community service
and organization. Digital media can be a tool for
developing this competency in a variety of ways. Achievement
outcomes include creating Public Service Announcements
and slide shows, publishing web sites and brochures.
Physical health competency applies to
the ability to maintain one's well-being and to identify,
understand, and practice healthy behaviors. Achievement
outcomes include creating PSAs and web sites
with information regarding regular
physical examinations health maintenance.
Mental health competency applies to the
ability to identify, understand and deal with one's
emotions and feelings.
Employability competency applies to vocational
awareness based upon analysis of the current labor
market and work-place conditions; they are not perscriptive
judgments. The loss of U.S. jobs to overseas competitors
is shaping up to be one of the defining issues of the
new century. People are seeing
not just a decline in manufacturing jobs, but also
the outsourcing of hundreds of thousands of digital
media-related jobs--everything from software coders
to video editors.
"Other countries are
now encroaching more directly and successfully on what
has been, for almost two decades, the heartland of
our economic success -- the creative economy. Better
than any other country in recent years, America has
developed new technologies and ideas that spawn new
industries and modernize old ones, from the Internet
to big-box stores to innovative product designs. And
these have proved the principal force behind the U.S.
economy's creation of more than 20 million jobs in
the creative sector during the 1990s, even as it continued
to shed manufacturing, agricultural, and other jobs."
- From Creative Class War by Richard Florida
Achievement outcomes for employability
include jobs and mentoring for youth through workforce
development (partnerships), job certification and training,
GED and high school diploma, and job retention.
Social competency applies to the manner
in which one consistently responds to other individuals,
expects other individuals to respond to oneself and
interaction with members of groups sharing one's "social
address" as well as with members of groups different
than one's own. Achievement outcomes include the ability
to form and maintain consistent relationships, i.e.
through conferences, youth festivals, and screenings.
Myth of the
This refers to the idea
that growing up online is going to produce a more socially
connected, better informed, and more creative generation.
In a way, having access to online, digital media content
can increase awareness and knowledge of the world.
In another way, this myth can distort the reality kids
must negotiate in the online world, and exaggerate
the centrality of digital media in children's lives.
Studies show that young people are using
the Internet effectively as a resource for doing homework,
connecting with friends, and seeking out news and entertainment.
This does not mean they are more media literate or
more able to succeed in school. Young people should
have a menu of educational activities both online and
offline. Media education should be a part of their
education, in order to be better informed about digital
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