The other night I was listening to pundits and experts on a news show discuss the pandemic. I thought about the high school students I had met the previous week in an English 12 class I had sat in on and the video and audio stories I had viewed and listened to that are part of the new project, Stories from the Pandemic. The distance between the concerns and stories the students shared and the talking heads on TV couldn't have been further apart. The concerns of youth are not well represented when I listen to the discussions about the pandemic from Washington DC or state houses across the country.
We need to listen to youth.
In thinking about the kind of assignments that might make a difference in our young people's lives, colleagues from Newark Public Schools in NJ teamed with a professor and a media company to launch, Stories from the Pandemic. Timothy Raphael, Director for the Center for Migration and the Global City and an associate professor at Rutgers-Newark and colleagues from Newark Public Schools, NJ (Brian Mooney, Liana Summey and 18 high school teachers) and department chairpersons) have teamed together with Dr. Raphael and Talking Eyes Media to produce the project.
The site will feature the stories by high school students from American History High School, Central High School, Eagle Academy, East Side High School, Malcolm X. Shabazz High School, Technology High School, University High School, and Weequahic High School--all public schools in Newark, NJ. This is the beginning of that project.
Young people in Newark, NJ, an area with one of the highest rates of COVID-19 in the country, are adjusting to life under quarantine while processing the potential impact on their families’ health and economic security. In response, Newest Americans has created Stories from the Pandemic, a web platform for young people to document their experience in real time using photography, video, writing and audio. Our goal is to give students an opportunity to observe, reflect, and share their personal stories in order to feel less isolated while becoming frontline documentarians for their local community and beyond.
Here is the first assignment.
Digital Storytelling Project
Through an audio recording, video recording, or photograph(s),
- Capture how this virus has disrupted your school year—including sporting events, concerts, assemblies, dances.
- Discuss how your daily life has been disrupted.
- Share the effect it has had on your friends and family.
- Describe the situation at home. How many people are you quarantined with? Who does that include?
- Discuss the changes that have occurred in Newark since you first learned about the virus.
- Include your name, age, and school.
MAINTAIN YOUR SAFETY
Do this reporting from your home, out your window, via Skype/Zoom/Facetime. Do not leave your home for this project, but do document if you go out for some other reason like shopping or walking.
This is followed by ways to upload audio, video, and photographic stills.
* Discussion questions adapted from from Kelly Gallagher http://www.kellygallagher.org/instructional-materials
Take a look and listen to the first set of stories. We need to learn from students. High school and college age students can share stories here.