University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
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parkway digital storytellingWhat are the untold stories by youth in urban schools? How can these stories play a crucial role in institutional change? And how can digital stories help develop achievement, academic learning, and prolonged engagement as well as social emotional learning, self-empowerment, and a connection to communities, families, and schools?

Prof. Jigna Desai and Dr. Kari Smalkoski are leading a community-engaged partnership between the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies (GWSS), College of Liberal Arts, Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), Sprockets – the city of St. Paul’s out-of-school time network, and Parkway Montessori and Community Middle School, a St. Paul Public School. Working with a small team of undergraduate and graduate students from GWSS and the English language arts teachers at Parkway, they have been piloting a new initiative that teaches the students to use digital technologies to create their own stories. This is a pilot for a 5-year longitudinal project designed to address Minnesota’s very large educational achievement gap. Instead of focusing on standard educational benchmarks and disparities, we are shifting focus to one of structures of inequality, and engaging with what the youth already know and how that can support impactful and increased learning. Please check back for regular updates.