Education / 2013
RFKLA (Legacy in Action) Digital Archive
To create and manage a student-centric online multimedia library, social media forum and digital media hub focused on social justice themes: The RFK-LA Archive. The Archive is designed to help make the concepts of human rights and civil rights personally relevant to students, thereby inspiring them to become agents for change and engaged members of the Los Angeles Community. The Archive is the central project of RFK-LA (Legacy in Action), a 501(c)(3) inspired by the democratic vision of Robert F. Kennedy. As a model for 21st century participatory learning, the mission of RFK-LA is to foster a more just society by educating young people to use evolving media technologies for positive social change. The RFK-LA Archive is a collaborative effort with the students and teachers of the New Open World Academy High School (NOW). NOW is located on the Los Angeles School District’s RFK Community Schools campus in midtown Los Angeles. It is being developed as a rich media repository of the works of social justice leaders past, present and future, as well as a social networking site and portfolio platform for students’ social justice-themed works. The RFK-LA Archive will provide teachers with comprehensive, inter-disciplinary student centered lesson plans with a democratic pedagogical emphasis linked to the U.S. Common Core Standards. Students will produce and publish field-related products, projects and artifacts, including investigative essays, documentaries and multimedia demonstrations that connect knowledge acquired in school with field research and community outreach activities. By offering a learning management system co-created by teachers and students, on which information can be easily shared and constructed, combined with a robust data aggregator, the RFK-LA Archive Project will help transform the way in which teachers teach and students learn. The Archive is intended to not only enhance all aspects of students’ academic careers, but to benefit the greater community by expanding students’ media literacy skills to discover their individual voices, to explore the world more fully from a social justice perspective and to contribute real value to their society.
What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?
During it’s first year and a half, RFK-LA conducted three major projects:
• The Participatory Learning and You Program (PLAY!) was a joint program between RFK-LA and the USC Annenberg School’s Innovation Lab. Under the supervision of RFK-LA’s lead academic partner, Henry Jenkins, Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts and Education, LAUSD teachers and students, as well as invited non-profit organizations, provided a year long training and research program on the application of 21st century new media literacies in the classroom. • Partnering with USC Annenberg, RFK-LA provided after school programs with community outreach nonprofits, including among others: KCET’s Departures Program; Laughter for a Change; and Animaction. • Conducted an international educational game program: a semester-long, synchronous game played between the 5th grade math class at RFK Community Schools’ Ambassador School of Global Leadership and a 5th grade math class in Seoul Korea. The program was led by Professor Jong H., Wi, internationally recognized “serious game” designer and visiting Professor at CRESST UCLA school of education.
Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.
• Dr. Chuck Flores, Principal of the New Open World Academy (K thru 12) at the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools • Themistocles Sparangis, Ed.D., Chief Technology Director, Educational Technology, • Dr. Lynne Goldfarb, Professor USC’s Rossier School of Education. • Mike Reich, President Seabourne Consulting (providers of information management tools and expertise) • The JFK Library
Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?
RFK-LA plans to conduct a longitudinal research study with its USC Partners, collecting qualitative data regarding each developmental stage of the project.
Success will be determined by a series of empirical measurements to be designed to evaluate individual student’s performances, as well as determine how well the overall program is performing.
Teachers will also be regularly surveyed to determine how well the Project supports their work, specifically in integrating social justice and civil rights themes across content areas aligned to the Common Core Standards.
Teachers will also be periodically queried on how effective the project is in providing lesson plans in which alternative forms of assessments are utilized to encourage student creativity and student voice.
RFK-LA, with its partner Seabourne Consulting will use sophisticated Web analytics to measure and analyze the data collected by the Archives in order to optimize usage.
How will your project benefit Los Angeles?
The RFK-LA Archive Project will amplify 21st Century learning opportunities for students throughout the LAUSD
Through a social justice lens, the Archive will promote connectivity between students and with the larger Los Angeles community by:
• Using the social networking component of the RFK-LA Archive to engage young people in dialogues throughout the LAUSD • Introducing students to diverse and multicultural perspectives, thereby creating a more cohesive community of learners • Promoting a shared vision of social responsibility across the LAUSD student community • Chronicling the lives and stories of Los Angeles residents, for distribution on the RFK-LA Archive site • Serving as a hub for conversations with the Los Angeles community and beyond, the archives will become a “prestige” project to enhance Los Angeles’ reputation as a city of 21st Century educational excellence
What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?
By 2050 the RFK-LA Archive technology platform and learning management system will be freely available to any interested school system or educational institution. The Archive platform will be the standard mechanism through which students create materials demonstrating capabilities learned in school. As a universally accepted learning tool based on a rigorously validated set of technologies, the RFK-LA Archive’s learning technology will have a world-wide impact by advancing students’ understanding of and capability to use technology, while also quantitatively improving learning and performance by increasing interest and engagement.
By 2050, the RFK-LA Archive will be seamlessly integrated across all subject areas throughout the LAUSD schools. Students attending LAUSD schools will be fully media literate and adept at producing media rich content for a global audience. Having gained diverse perspectives through their work, RFK-LA Archive contributors will become role models for others. The alumni of the RFK-LA Archive Program will become civic-minded leaders in Los Angeles and engaged world citizens.