The Center for Digital Literacy (CDL) is an interdisciplinary, collaborative research and development center at Syracuse University dedicated to (1) understanding the impact of information, technology and media literacies on children and adults (particularly those from underserved populations) in today's technology-intensive society and (2) studying the impact having or not having these literacies has on people, organizations, and society. This interdisciplinary approach allows us to look at issues from a variety of perspectives and to exchange ideas that broaden and enlighten approaches to research in this area.
The Young Innovators Project
Innovation is the very essence of the American spirit, requiring a combination of effective inquiry, problem-solving, and creative thinking skills, mixed with the curiosity and perseverance for seeking viable solutions to problems. While all children have creative potential, often their innovative behaviors thrive and endure only if supported and nurtured. With today’s emphasis in schools on rigid curricula, standards, and testing, it becomes increasingly unlikely that many students will stretch their imaginations, act on their curiosity to seek answers to questions that go beyond the curriculum, or allow themselves to explore perplexing issues that pique their interest.
This IMLS-funded National Leadership Project Grant seeks to support school libraries as innovation spaces and school librarians as innovation mentors and to stimulate students’ curiosity, inquiry and innovative thinking. The project website “The Innovation Destination,” will include:
- A unique and innovative collection of inclusive resources for students in grades 4-8, containing librarian-created lesson plans, young innovator video interviews and participatory learning activities and
- Young innovator mentoring training for school librarians to stimulate, inspire and support the curiosity, interest and inquiry of all students, particularly those who lack such mentors.
CDL’s project partners include By Kids For Kids, Connecticut Invention Convention, New York On Tech, Time2Invent and OCLC’s WebJunction, mentoring experts, Web developers, and 96 participating school librarians and students nationwide.
Project ENABLE (Expanding Non-Discriminatory Access By Librarians Everywhere)
In response to research indicating that a majority of public and academic librarians lack the knowledge and skills critical to providing the most effective library and information services, resources, and programs to their patrons with disabilities, this IMLS-funded Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian project extends and enriches the high quality, comprehensive, free and accessible Project ENABLE web-based training for school librarians, in order to meet the professional development needs of public and academic librarians nationwide. In partnership with S.U.’s Burton Blatt Institute, this is the third successive IMLS grant for Project ENABLE.
As a partner with lead organization, the Illinois State Library, and Dominican University, CDL is proud to participate in this IMLS-funded Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant to develop and deliver a comprehensive, innovative, multi-faceted, and replicable autism spectrum disorder (ASD) training program, designed to improve library service and programs for the large ASD community in Illinois and throughout the county. CDL will create a cluster of customized online ASD learning modules, available through the Project ENABLE training website.