Our philosophy of using Technology to solve issues hinges on one key factor: People being media literate.

Media Literacy is a 21st century approach to education. It provides a framework to access, analyze, evaluate, create and participate with messages in a variety of forms — from print to video to the Internet. Media literacy builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a democracy.

For this reason, we feel the necessity to promote media literacy education in every way we can. This notion has taken us mostly into classrooms where teachers are aiming to introduce technology in a controlled and safe environment. We help by first, helping educators see how the technology can be used as a resource and second by developing innovative projects that are exciting for the students.

Currently, we are using virtual reality to connect distant classrooms through art, community, and environment. Broadly speaking, we are using an art program that allows users the ability to virtually draw three dimensionally in an infinite space. Students are being tasked with re-creating apart of their community’s landscape that resonates with them. After creating this space as a team, they will trade with another classroom that is doing the same in a different state. Ultimately, allowing each a group a window into a another world.

Specifically, in an effort to bring awareness to the importance natural backdrops play in developing a community’s identity we are directing students to replicate the nature around them. Further, we are having the students make personal notes, within the drawing, stating why the natural element depicted is important to them. This way, students in the other classrooms can see there is a difference in the scenery but many parallels in how we use that scenery.

The agents involved with this project include the Rec Room of Homer Alaska, The Pump House of La Crosse WI, and Philo. As of now we are currently at the Rec Room in Homer Alaska painting our first re-creation. Tune in to see how this project develops and how we thought of it as we progress. Until our next update, stay pensive.