By: Mark Rabo


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Events like the New Media Literacies Conference are really exciting to me (that was clear if you saw my introduction of the Youth New Media Literacy Jam teams.) They represent rare moments where a high concentration of creative, talented, smart, and motivated people gather in one place around a common interest. People like Nichole Pinkard of the Digital Youth Network, and Carly Shuler of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, and many others infuse new ideas and change the direction of conversations.

Some people think little of these moments. I spoke to one person at the Mixer that evening that dismissed the event saying it was just a bunch of ideating and no doing – implying that all this talk is just talk and going nowhere. Outside of the irony of just having presented the product of three months of doing, this cynical view is the product of someone who attends too many conferences, has been swallowed whole by a culture of instant gratification, or has never been part of an undefined, experimental process. What’s true is that making anything worthwhile takes time. Even that one minute hot latté is at the end of thousands of hours of carefully considered experiments (by man and nature.)

The Youth New Media Literacy Jam was Experiment 0 — we procured our rare materials (the people), poured them into the beaker (the jam), and turned up the heat (the conference). As experimentation continues, new mixtures will be formed and lessons learned.

And I’m happy to say there will be more experimenting: several teams are continuing to develop their projects; and organizations have expressed interest in funding and supporting prototypes and testing; and the connections made will continue to play out.

In the short-term TIFF Nexus achieved it’s goal of connecting people across industries, but it’s in the long-term that things will get interesting. In the next couple weeks, right here, we’ll be posting project summaries, details, websites, contact info, and updates. Stay tuned and thanks for your patience.


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