The Current Logo

What’s Youth Voices all about?

Written by Paul Allison
October 17, 2010

Youth Voices is a school-based social network that was started in 2003 by a group of National Writing Project teachers. We merged several earlier blogging projects, preferring to bring our students together in one site that would live beyond any particular class, where it would be easier for individual students to connect with other students, comment on each others work, and create multimedia posts for each other. Further we thought it made sense for us to pool our knowledge about curriculum and digital literacies. If being part of such a community makes sense to you, we invite you to join us too. We work to embrace any teacher who is interested to have their students publish online and participate in the give and take of a social network like Youth Voices.

Youth Voices is much more than a website or a social network. It is also a welcoming community of teachers who have been planning curriculum together for many years. In addition to being active members in our local Writing Projects and the National Writing Project, many of us also count ourselves as member of the World Bridges community, and we meet regularly via Skype on a weekly webcast/podcast, Teachers Teaching Teachers, which has been going live every Wednesday evening at EdTechTalk since 2006.

All of this collaboration and talk, these years of building curriculum and working on the web together have led to to consider: What do the Youth Voices/Teachers Teaching Teachers teachers love about this work? And why do we think any kindergarten – college teacher might also find to love there too? What we think you and your students will find on Youth Voices, what we keeps us coming back, what we strive to engender, what we will never give up on (even in a school) is involving our students in “authentic conversation.”

Over the years the teachers who have been working together to grow Youth Voices have learned that as important as it is to have students publish multi-media, well-crafted products, it is at least as important to nurture, guide, and allow time for students to write comments and to develop conversations about each others discussion posts. Our mission at Youth Voices is to be a place online where students from across the nation (and globally, when possible) can engage other young people in conversations about real topics that they see happening in the world. We want our students to be immersed in lively, voiced give-and-take with their peers.