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Thursday, May 03, 2012

Interview with Miguel Salinas, Adobe Youth Voices / Aspire Awards: Innovators in E-Learning Series

Welcome to an interview with Miguel Salinas, who has helped develop the Adobe Youth Voices program, dedicated to encouraging creativity and self-expression using high-impact media. Awards for this year will be announced on May 4: The program, sponsored by MTV, Dell, and Samsung, as well as Adobe, allows students, teachers, and communities develop creativity and technological skills. It uses a set of open, downloadable curricula as well, ideal for online courses and online teaching degrees.  

What is your name and relation to e-learning?
My name in Miguel Salinas and I’m the Program Director and Senior Manager Corporate Social Responsibility for the Adobe Foundation. I’ve been at this post for seven years now and my role is primarily to manage the programming for Adobe Youth Voices, the Adobe Foundation’s global signature philanthropy program.

Regarding e-learning, Adobe Youth Voices has a set of open, downloadable curricula, called Adobe Youth Voices Essentials that empowers any educator to create breakthrough learning experiences. From material that provides a context for youth media making in general, to special content that illustrates the "how-to" of youth- centered instruction, Essentials helps educators teach the process of media making and strategies for exhibition and distribution.

Through AYV, youth ages 13 to 18 create compelling videos, animations, photo essays, presentations, music, and other pieces that contribute the essential perspectives of youth to critical topics and inspire new solutions to long-standing problems. Youth participating in the Adobe Youth Voices program both inside and outside of school are creating high-impact work to share with local and global audiences, they are also building valuable skills that open doors to future successes.

What are the Aspire Awards?The Adobe Youth Voices Aspire Awards is an international juried media competition that recognizes projects that best illustrate the program’s ‘Create with Purpose’ philosophy. This is the first global virtual media festival of its kind, honoring youth who creatively communicate a vision for change in their communities and lives through video, print and audio projects. Winning submissions are original, high-quality youth-produced multimedia created to address critical issues and effect positive change. 

We’re very pleased to have MTV, Dell and Samsung among our supporting partners for the first year of the Aspire Awards. As part of the 2012 AYV Aspire Awards, MTV will present the MTV ACT award. This award will recognize one young person whose exceptional video content leverages music, and provides a clear call to action for the audience to get involved. The MTV ACT award winner will win a trip to MTV studios in New York City, along with the other prizes provided by the Adobe Foundation and our generous partners.

Additionally, MTV Act will feature Aspire award winners at

More details on the Aspire Awards can be found at Entries will be received through April 20. Following, the top 20 finalists per category will be showcased online at on May 4. Public online voting for the Audience Choice Award in each category will run May 4-June 8 and winners will be announced on June 18.

Winning youth producers will also have the opportunity to showcase their projects at partner film festivals, art galleries and exhibitions worldwide, including the Seattle International Film Festival, the Sarajevo Film Festival, Digital Arts Magazine, and many more.

How do they promote learning? How do they encourage the practical adoption of technology?In an environment where so many aspects of youth’s lives – from personal communications to entertainment to basic commercial interactions – are increasingly digital, youth often feel that when they learn in school and how they learn it are far removed from the reality of their everyday experiences. Through a mix of supportive learning environments and powerful technologies, Adobe Youth Voices is helping educators in schools and beyond develop unique, breakthrough experiences that re-ignite a young person’s passion for learning.

Adobe Youth Voices encourages the adoption of technology several ways. Working on their own and in teams with teachers and mentors, young people can express their creativity and vision, first through interactive discussion and story boarding and then using technology to capture and communicate their work. Program participants are encouraged to go out into their communities, interview peers and community experts, and along the way, capture real-world footage and images that best communicate their stories.

What are some examples?· In Kampala, Uganda, 19-year-old Ronald Kasendwa produced a documentary about gender disparity in science.

· Similarly, in London, 14-year-old Rameesha Malik created a short film showcasing how people from different countries meld into a unique blend of backgrounds and cultures.

· For RajKumar Raikwar, a 15-year-old in Delhi, Adobe Youth Voices provided the change to develop a media piece called "Beating Terror" about the impact of terrorism on children.

Please find several more examples on in the Adobe Youth Voices media gallery.

This program is not impacting youth, but also the educators. Here are supporting statistics for you:

YOUTH: After participating in the Adobe Youth Voices program:
· 90 percent reported that they are interested in continuing their education after high school

· 83 percent learned to express their opinions in new ways

· 86 percent reported that they can influence others with their ideas

· 79 percent improved their abilities to work with a group to solve a problem

EDUCATORS: After participating in the Adobe Youth Voices program:
· 80 percent report improved efficiency with technology to engage youth with concepts like story- telling, media formats and media literacy

· 78 percent of educators report a deeper understanding of how to facilitate youth-led projects and how the media creation process fosters 21st century skills

· 70 percent of educators report a deeper understanding of youth development and how to tap into youth interest and motivation

What are some of directions that Adobe Youth programs are pursuing?
Moving forward, Adobe Youth Voices is exploring workforce development connections to provide scholarships and internships. In the future, we want to build an efficient and productive pipeline of talent to college and higher education institutions. We are also exploring an increased amount of international exhibition opportunities.

What do you see as an exciting new direction?
Through the use of mobility, touch tools and cloud platforms, Adobe Youth Voices hopes to deliver programming in interesting, exciting and intriguing ways that engage youth.



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