Frequently Asked Questions

The Institute of Museum and Library Service and the MacArthur Foundation chose the partnership of Saint Paul Public Library and Saint Paul Parks and Recreation to participate in the first round of their Digital Learning Labs project. The agencies will receive an 18-month $100,000 grant to plan our project.

What is the purpose of the Digital Learning Labs project?

Digital Learning Labs will engage teens in creative, innovative, hands-on learning in a safe, welcoming environment. The mentors in the Digital Learning Labs will inspire learning, creativity, and critical thinking through interest-based experimentation with digital and traditional media.

Why is this initiative important?

Digital media is changing how we learn. Media and digital literacy are basic skills necessary for education and the workforce. Because digital learning often takes place in informal settings, all Saint Paul youth need access to quality learning opportunities outside the classroom. The libraries and parks and recreation can bridge the accessibility gap. When young people learn these skills in a cooperative, learner-driven setting, they also acquire other 21st century skills like collaboration and innovation.

What is media and digital literacy?

Media and digital literacy refers to the ability to create, understand, analyze information and express oneself using digital technology or media. Examples include the ability to do music and video production, digital story telling, graphic design, digital radio, robotics, stop action video, website creation, animation, and video game creation.

What is Saint Paul’s project?

Our Digital Learning Labs project has three components: a physical installation at the new Payne Maryland facility; a mobile lab; and a virtual space for Sprockets, Saint Paul’s out-of-school-time network.

Who is participating in developing the project?

While the Library and Parks are the lead organizations, a number of community partners are involved, including Saint Paul Public Schools, the Mentoring Partnership, Saint Paul Neighborhood Network, the University of Minnesota’s Learning Technologies Media Lab, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and tpt, Twin Cities Public Television. This project was supported in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.