There have been two fundamental issues raised by the emergence of new media. The first is that new media integrate different modes of communication in multiple ways (multimedia), and this multiplicity is constantly evolving. The second issue is that the highly networked information technologies underlying new media create communication patterns that increasingly cross the boundaries of culture, community, and nation. The New London Group (1996) identified these issues and chose the term "multiliteracies" to encapsulate the increasingly multimodal and multicultural nature of communication.

The Digital Youth Network has joined in collaboration with YOUmedia at the Chicago Public Library to design a free teen space for Chicago-area high school students that helps expand digital learning opportunities. The programs share a common understanding of new media literacies as having four main objectives with interrelated but distinct motivations.

  • The first objective is to ensure that teens posses a fundamental understanding of the various modes of communication that comprise the new media landscape.
  • The second objective is rooted in the realization that students learn the methods associated with each mode of communication most powerfully when they take on multiple tasks in the creation of new media artifacts.
  • The third objective is to ensure that teens are able to think critically about the meaning of new media messages as both consumers and producers.
  • The fourth objective is to imbue teens with a core set of values needed to become productive and prosperous citizens in the 21st century.

DYN and YOUmedia believe that teens' new media literacy must be developed beginning early in life through a variety of formal and informal, intrinsically motivating new media learning experiences that span school, after school, home, and community.

Here, we present our model that enables teens to become discerning new media consumers and fluent new media producers.