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Designing for Young Children

The paper presented by the Saint Louis Science Center (SLSC) examined their efforts to engage teens in the community through employing them to research  in the labs and facilitate sessions with younger children. The idea was to make a more meaningful experience for younger people without it just being a tokenistic exercise.

The School and Community Partnerships Department of the SLSC is mostly centered on it's Youth Exploring Science (YES) programme, and the social networking technologies proved useful in the teens' development within the programme. Blogging was particularly useful - it seems as the blogs developed the teens became more confident of their online persona and were more aware of their audience. But even though the practice seemed to empower the you local community, the SLSC senior management still had issues with how it was affecting the organisation's brand!

Next Paolo from the Milano Romana Tecnologica project gave us an insight into a classroom based multimedia project, where pupils visit a cultural institution to collect media to develop their own online presentation.

The pupils got to work with different kinds of media, and research online to find any resources they could to create their "multichannel hyperstory". It was clear the the children and not the teacher led their projects, and enjoyed it thoroughly. Even though they got to enter their presentation into a competition, the emphasis was clearly on the learning process. 

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