DML/HASTAC Competition

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Below is the text of our grant proposal to the Digital Media Learning Competition http://www.dmlcompetition.net/. DML/HASTAC, supported by the Macarthur Foundation, offers grants of up to $200,000 for innovative learning laboratory projects; we’re hoping that the collaboration between the 33 high school participants in Metas at Contra Costa College and youth in Colima, El Salvador, will gain support for long-term collaboration.

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MetaPuentes pilots the use of ‘text-clubs’ as mentorship bridges between youth in California and El Salvador. Using mobile technology supported by a social networking web portal, MetaPuentes builds a youth-driven learning laboratory exploring alternatives to violence – a web-based collaboration point for youth, leaders, and communities.

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Communities throughout the US and Central America are linked by common challenges related to creating alternatives to violence for youth. Teens in Richmond, California and Colima, El Salvador have been developing virally-patterned solutions via text-messaging, social networking sites, and peer-mentorship around employment and academic success. MetaPuentes seeks to build bridges of success between teens from California to Central America via mobile and digital technology, and to extend young people’s expertise into real-world solutions in collaboration with community leadership.

The extracurricular Metas program at Contra Costa College has proven that mentorship training and participatory learning can open doors to success in STEM fields and develop strategies for violence prevention among young adults. Over 200 youth and families participate in the Metas program which supports early college entrance and graduation, minorities in maths and sciences at CCC, and families building cultural bridges that lead to success – connecting home cultures and academic/employment cultures – in a primarily bilingual Spanish/English learning community.

Young people in rural El Salvador are pioneering text-messaging clubs as a way to find like-minded peers across El Salvador and Central America. In small communities where gang violence and youth crime is increasing and employment opportunities are shrinking, young people are creating support networks for success through M-technology.

MetaPuentes builds upon young people’s expertise, extending peer-mentoring relationships across national borders through digital and M-technology. Participants will use a web-portal to document text-based conversations and relationships forming over distance, as well as local oral history interviews with community leaders involved in violence and gang prevention. Participants will draw upon the information gathered to create an online and real-time exchange of public artworks, based on technology and engineering skills, in collaboration with host communities, allowing them to insert the markers of these conversations into practical art and public dialogue.

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