This project brought together students from High Tech High North County (HTHNC) in San Marcos, CA and Hudson Valley Pathways Academy (HVPA) in upstate New York to design, write, and produce a digital magazine that documented their experiences, thoughts, ideas, and predictions for the future during the tumultuous summer of 2020. Students collaborated daily on Zoom to develop a title and mission statement, create content, and build the site.
Twice a week, students were joined on Zoom by guest speakers—including The New York Times Magazine’s Sam Anderson and NFL broadcaster Charles Davis—who ran workshops and offered students critical feedback on their work. The final product was Teen Voices, a “platform for the experiences, passions, and opinions of teens today.” You can read it at teenvoices.net
The most exciting aspect of the Teen Voices projects was watching students from HVPA connect and collaborate with the students from HTHNC. HVPA students were largely in charge of the look and feel of the site and ended up posting content generated from the HTHNC students. They worked really hard to honor their work and make the site look as professional as possible.
Distance learning has been a challenge for every teacher, but this project gave us a chance to use that as an asset. Collaborating with Steve from across the country was an opportunity I might never have otherwise considered, and it gave kids a chance to do something that was exciting and different and meaningful. HTHNC students were working on this project as part of a required summer school course, and it was amazing to see so much passion, engagement, and creativity despite the dual challenges of summer school and distance learning.
I loved collaborating with other writers. The mix of guest speakers and professional guidance helped me improve my writing so much.