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CMC Workshop: “Collaborating with Kids”

(By: Christine Muszynski)

Greetings from The Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield, England!

Today was the first full day of fun activities all revolving around this year’s theme of Child@Heart. Today’s Wednesday Workshop I attended was called “Collaborating with Kids”.  This session featured experts including writers, user-researchers, theatre producers and local Sheffield kids.  We started as a large group, and then separated into five smaller groups which featured different speakers and activities.

The first group I was a part of was called DigitalMe.  Project Director, Lucy Neale, was the presenter of this mini session. Lucy has worked in education, developing online learning communities and developing digital programs for 9 years. DigitalMe allows individuals to created badges to get recognition for skills you learn anywhere.

While education is highly important in their life, it is important to recognize their successes outside of the classroom. When Lucy asked the children to brainstorm some ideas for badges, you could see the excitement of the kids raising their hands, wanting to share their hobbies and other things they enjoy in their free time. The mission the children had was to design a badge that they would want to show off to others. Attached are two pictures that show what the girls in my group created.

The second session I attended was with writer-producer and author Jeff Norton . During this time, the children in the group provided feedback about one of Jeff’s current books he’ s working on. I would have to say my favorite part of this was hearing the feedback the children were giving on the artwork that was sketched for the book. I loved hearing how each kid had completely different and unique visions of what they thought the cover should look like. I think it’s safe to say that we can always count on children to provide honest (and sometimes brutal!) feedback on what they like and dislike.

Having the experience to work hands-on with children today was a true eye opener on many levels. I always tell others how fascinating I find children to be, because we can always learn so much from them!

I look forward to seeing what the rest of the week has in store for us!

Until next time – cheers!

Christine
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