Virtual Teen Programs/Real Connections

With Covid-19 and stay-at-home orders, many of our programs needed to switch from in-person to virtual spaces. Our focus was on teen audiences and making these transitions for everything from workshops to council meetings to internships. Our panel will share some of the best practices we developed, tools we used, and challenges we overcame. We will share how we sought the input and voice of teens during the process, and how we incorporated their ideas and feedback. Much of this work will continue in the months between proposal and presentation, and we look forward to sharing that real-time learning with you. Questions that we are asking ourselves include: How do we maintain relationships with teens we know, and how do we forge meaningful developmental relationships with teens we are meeting virtually for the first time? How do we reach people, especially with inequitable technology access? What and how do we need to change to align with what young people need right now?


Unknown Speaker 00:00
We want to welcome you. This is virtual team programs, real connections. I'm Miranda and the rest of the team, Rachel Android, Eric will introduce themselves in just a moment. And we want to thank you for taking the time to come to our session and talk to us about this. One quick note, you'll see both a q&a and a chat, if you can use the chat to ask any questions or have any technology issues. And then we're going to use the q&a section to have some discussions here within our session, we'll ask you a couple questions ask you to share. One of the first things we'd love to have you share is what are you hoping to get out of this session? Why did you choose to come here today, we'd love to hear from you as well. And since we can't be in person chatting, we'll take a look at that q&a section as we can. And so there we go. And so the first thing we're going to do today is do a little bit of our introductions of our panel and a quick warm up question. You'll notice that there's a couple of features today in our talk that we're trying to make this mimic what some of our team programs look like. And so we'll have a little icebreaker question that we're going to ask you to answer in the q&a as well. And then we will be sharing a couple of example programs. We'll talk a little bit about access and sustainability. And then we'll get to a big question and answer section where we're looking to, to share more about what you want to talk about and what we can think through together and reflect on. So our warm up question that us as the panel will be answering as we introduce ourselves is what are you binge watching right now? And so you can feel free to also answer that question in the q&a. This is something we might ask teens a light, fun question, in that they can feel comfortable starting to share in either a chat box or out loud depending on how we were structuring a program. So I'll go first. I'm Miranda Kerr. It's nice to meet all of you digitally. I'm currently a digital learning consultant. I was the manager of teen programs at Shedd Aquarium up until all these things happened with COVID, and the pandemic and downsizing and all that good stuff. But I'm embarking in a new journey and doing some digital learning projects for nonprofits helping them reimagine some things. And so I'd love to connect with you. I'm Miranda, r. h k on Twitter. And I'm Miranda Hooper on Just send me an email. And I also just want to say a big thank you to the rest of the panel, I'm going to give them a chance to introduce themselves. But it's been wonderful to work with Rachel Andrew and Eric in such a tumultuous year and to have their support and to have them be able to share about all their amazing team programs that are still going on. So I will let them each take a turn to talk to you now.

Unknown Speaker 02:32
Hi, everyone. I'm Andrea and I am very lucky to be working with my fellow panelists here as well. And thank you, Miranda for gathering all of us like the Avengers. I'm the manager of school and community programs at the Museum of the moving image in New York City and I normally oversee daily group tours and our city council back after school animation game design classes for high school and middle school students alongside tours for all ages we I focus on the team Council, our advisory group drop in labs, Game Design labs and summer media courses. You can find me at this email or at moving image studio on YouTube and Instagram. And I have been binge watching a lot of things in quarantine but I've been focusing on Call the Midwife. Season nine recently came out on Netflix. So I've been finding a lot of solace in that.

Unknown Speaker 03:37
Hi, I'm Rachael Bild. I use she her pronouns. I am a young adult librarian at the Skokie Public Library. I am about to start watching Lovecraft country, which I fully anticipate will be a binge watch for me. Um, and here in this picture, you can see that I am in a team program, but not just with teens because I'm a big believer in flexibility and sometimes you have to allow those younger siblings to come hang out and participate.

Unknown Speaker 04:18
Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Eric Ewing. I'm the executive director here at the Great Plains Black History Museum here in Omaha, Nebraska. And unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we've had to make some changes in how we reach out to our not just our teams but to all our guests. And at the start of the pandemic. We started to provide virtual tours and virtual presentations for K through 12 students. Matter of fact yesterday, yesterday I completed a virtual presentation covering the Tuskegee Airmen as part of Veterans Day event. Which posted 70 I believe 70 students. So glad to have you here. And I binge watching currently I'm binge watching, Fear the Walking Dead. I'm almost at the end of that, and then I'm going to start soulmates. So glad to have you here.

Unknown Speaker 05:23
Awesome. And I think I forgot to say what I was binge watching, I broke my own ice breaker. But I've been watching a lot of great British baking show that's getting me through and also making me hungry, but it's been a lot of fun. And so now for this next section, we're going to give an example of one or two programs that we were working on teens. So I'll go first, it should aquarium, we have a what before to in the before times, we have a teen learning lab space. And so that space is a physical drop in space for teens who come at after school or weekends, work on projects join into group projects that people were working on, be connected with mentors in different fields of careers they were interested in. But when everything happened, and everyone was on lockdown, we had to figure out a way to still offer some out of school time programming to those teams and stay connected with them. And so we took a content and change it into an online space. And so we took some of the same features. So the picture you'll see on the upper corner of your screen of them, of course, we do a lot of connections with animals. So how can we do that? Through zoom, we did animal encounters, so the animal would be brought up to the camera and they could still ask questions in the chat. The animal care specialist could talk about their care answering anything that teams wanted to know. The picture, right below that of a scuba diver was a chance we had for one of our researchers to talk about his coral research and share. He could share video clips and photos and talk about his research. teams get directly asking questions still. So they still have that one on one time with a scientist or a specialist. And then the two pictures on the left were a week that we did a talking about how art can connect you to science in nature and art theme was one that the team at shad really wanted to do. Right when the pandemic kit thinking about that creative outlet that distressing and being able to still do something from home. And so we surveyed the teens and asked what art supplies they had available to them in their own home. And, you know, do you have grants? Do you have paint? What do you have going on. And then we were able to have one of our staff show the drawing and design tools that she used for graphic design, and then have teams share the projects and the art that they're doing with each other. And so those are just some of the ways we're able to still connect virtually. If you have additional questions on those programs, Sam and Heather both still work at shed and would be happy to talk more.

Unknown Speaker 07:41
Like many of you, we made the very quick transition into zoom rooms. And I'll be telling you a little bit about our team internships first week. First, we hired two team educators to work with us part time after they completed their teen council school year with the museum. And they created content for our Instagram and YouTube pages in the form of animations, educational posts and video essays. They were also heavily involved in planning our online teen Film Festival. We also work closely with to city access organization teens who assisted us with online programming, and gave us insight on how we can make our brand new digital content more accessible to people with various disabilities and teen educators and interns work together to develop activities for our online summer media camp and camp attendees. As for our digital team classes in between camps, through July and August, we lead five day digital media camps and classes for ages 10 to 18. And they were Elementary in high school students and one group and high schoolers and another group and we taught a variety of courses from Digital game design to online exhibition curating educators were able to work with really small classrooms and provide individualized experiences from a media making and media appreciation to campers and students of varied skills and interests. And here in the screen grabs are some of our various summer media camps.

Unknown Speaker 09:17
So I'm incredibly proud of the summer volunteer program that we ran this summer. We had about 100 people sign up and about 60 people actively participate, which is frankly about what we would expect to see in a normal year. And we also were able to really form strong relationships with the people that we were serving. We changed our whole application so that it was a survey instead of like a menu of programs that we had already created that they could choose from. And that allowed us to see for example, that there was a lot of interest in making wellness calls to seniors. So that was an option that we created based on their interest in supporting community mental health and working with older populations. And, frankly, was something that we might not have tried. Had we not asked our teens if they would be interested in doing it beforehand. So some of the other things that we did, we did some combinations of offering things as independent service hours, and also programs via zoom. So for example, people could make cards for vulnerable populations, or masks, and send us pictures take fill out a short Google Form, to get their service hours credited. And, and then we also had, you know, opportunities to like hang out on zoom and listen to music together while we crafted. And then I also really enjoyed this. We had a series of AV and photography workshops, to work together to create a documentary project, which is ongoing, and it's for all ages, but the teens really put together a strong showing. This is an example of a closed beach, which you can see has people attending. So we really looked at the documentary project as an opportunity to process and reflect what's happening in real time, as well as to create documents for the future. And our program, our project at the Skokie Public Library is ongoing as well. Um, and I also want to say if anybody wants to participate in a group, global documentary project that we were here project isn't there for you. And again, we'll be sharing links later.

Unknown Speaker 12:00
Okay, for for us pre pandemic, the museum, we, we would usually provide it weekly tourism presentation to our local youth in various organizations. And unfortunately, when the pandemic did hit, we had to kind of look at a different way to present them and reach our reach our audience. Prior to the pandemic, we had worked briefly with an organization called neveress, which deals with schools throughout the US. And we would provide maybe one or two virtual tours or presentations that year. But when the pandemic occurred, we decided that we needed to make sure that we continue to serve the community, not only the local community, but the community abroad. So we reached out to neveress, to make ourselves available to provide a virtual tours and presentations. And since the started a pandemic, as it says here, we've reached students from as far away as Alaska, and Hawaii on the west coast, and as far away as Florida and Rhode Island on the east coast. And I believe we're roughly at about 2000 3000 students in which we provided virtual tours or presentations to this far this year.

Unknown Speaker 13:28
Okay, another thing that we wanted to do as part of this is, in addition to sharing the experiences that this panel has had over the last six or seven months, whatever month we're on now, we also wanted to pull some of our colleagues and so we had a survey that we emailed, that we shared on Twitter that we put in some colleague groups that we have. And so we had 19 responses. And the first thing we want to know is during the time of COVID, from March to now, has there been increased or decrease to access to your team programs. And there's a very small percentage, she said there was an increase a big chunk is that there's a decrease within the biggest group of people. So there was a mix of increase and decrease. And so we'll dig into that a little bit and what that looked like, and feel free to put in the QA if you feel like your programs were able to increase or decrease access during this time. Um, so I'm not going to read every single one of these survey results just for time, we are going to make these slides available afterwards. I don't we don't know yet. Exactly. If we're going to be posting them on NC ns sketch or in slack or I'll put it on my Twitter, we will find a way to make sure we share these with you because we have a lot of things in these slides that we want to make sure get shared out. Um, so some of the successes that people shared is that that they're that pivoting division virtual excuse me was it was a success. You know, online programs were shorter, but they give you more frequent people had a chance to grow some social media channels. There's a chance for teens to be leaders that chance to use new tools like a Discord server, or a scavenger hunts get teen generated content. Sometimes it's even easier to be virtual if you don't have to reserve a physical space and worry about those kinds of things. And as Eric mentioned, reaching that wider range of people. So mixed results, what did some of that look like? What does it mean when people say that, um, so sometimes that meant it makes a program. So maybe you're dropping program increase, because you were able to reach more on zoom. But your team job program decreased because you lost funding or the received concerns to being on the ground. There's also a digital divide that we're going to talk more about, we talk about access, but it's a real issue that some teams when we had to all stay home, didn't have Wi Fi at home or didn't have a device that was able to stay connected. So we think about those things. Um, and then just thinking about his own time, thinking about decreased access to buildings, just other things that played into this interplay between increase and decrease of access. And then what are some challenges, as At last, we mentioned that the lack of access to internet or devices, sometimes it's harder to get them into a virtual program, that part of the draw of team programs is they get to hang out with each other. I know, in the teen lab, we also offered a lot of free food, free bus passes, like all those you can't do once you're in zoom, I'm having a hard time finding supplies at home, if you want them to do a project or make a movie, they have to do it with things that they have. And then just finding that right platform, you know, how where do we share this? How do we reach that we're doing these programs. So yeah, so those are some of the things we're going to talk about more in detail. And then I will turn it over to talk about access Andrea.

Unknown Speaker 16:37
So access, as we all know, covers a huge spectrum of aspects of our work. And while we won't be able to cover everything, we still still want to share key findings with you. Sorry about that I have a break timer to adjust my screen time, so it went off just now. But we still want to share our findings with you. In this section, we want to focus on access in regards to approachable technology, as well as inclusivity in programming. And I'll start by talking a little bit about access at the Museum of the moving image. So um, well every educator at the museum had varied experiences with each student and subject matter. We all found that access went both ways, we were able to connect with students from all over the country, which is something we had never really been able to do before especially since our summer media camp often attracted students from our immediate borough queens or Manhattan, which is just outside of it. And one of our educators, Leonardo told me, the pros rely upon the fact that virtual classrooms provide provide unique opportunities for outreach and inclusivity be online nature of the classroom seem to provide a safe space for students to share opinions, goals, frustrations and plans for the future in a relaxed environment as they are in their own houses. And as for the cons, one of my colleagues, Tiffany joy summarize it perfectly. She said many students didn't have access to a computer or had to share computer with the their entire family. And time management skills seem very important for virtual learning. And not every student is good at that. Also, students seemed emotionally drained due to the pandemic fears and what is happening in their neighborhood, and maybe someone they know could have passed away. So the assignments could have factored in a more therapeutic approach to media making learning. And I will turn this over to the rest of our panel so you can hear from them regarding their successes and their question marks.

Unknown Speaker 18:45
thing you always have to remember is to unmute yourself, for the pandemic has been, and continues to be a tragic event. You know, I the analogy I always use, you know, unfortunately, I think we've all been given lemons. And we looked at opportunities to turn it into lemonade. But you know, there are as a as was mentioned, there, there are some disadvantages for some people. In some cases, from a local standpoint, some of our youth, their access to a computer was through our local libraries. And unfortunately, once the pandemic occurred, the areas that was impacted weren't, you know, our libraries because they closed out. So that did limit some of these students access. Fortunately for our school system, they were able to get out iPads and things to the students to keep them connected, but then some ran into access to to internet. And so we've had to think outside the box and kind of look at different ways in which we can continue to serve not only the local community but the national community as well. We're slowly adapting and people are slowly adapting as well.

Unknown Speaker 20:11
Okay, so,

Unknown Speaker 20:13

Unknown Speaker 20:13
let's talk about the digital divide. Libraries have for a very long time been Wi Fi hubs in our communities, and it has was not uncommon, even pre pandemic to see people working on a computer in their car in the library parking lot. So we have to recognize that that's not enough. Like one shot, local solutions are not going to solve the problem of the digital divide, which is so clearly an issue of the internet being a right and not a privilege in this day and age. So I think it's incumbent upon all of us to actually advocate for universal broadband service and for the regulation of the internet as a utility. That said, I will talk a little bit about some of the things that our library has done to try and decrease the digital divide in our community. We have a bookmobile which is pictured here. And we've put hotspots on the bookmobile so that as it travels throughout the community and parks in certain places, people can go close to the bookmobile and access the internet through the hotspots onboard. We've also received a grant together with the village of Skokie to extend our Wi Fi into the park next door. And we do loan out hotspots. So all of that said, I would really love to tell like advocate to you that if you have a student, somebody in particular who has difficulty accessing your programs accessing the internet doing their homework, schools and libraries are very much focusing on those like individuals who need that individual help. So please reach out to your local school, your local library, and see if you can help people who need to access your your programs. So really briefly, I'm going to talk a little bit about some of the accessible technologies that we've been able to implement with Team programming. And you can see here's a quick screenshot of our Discord server. discord, if you don't know is a slack like service with voice channels and chat channels. And you we use our voice channels for playing Dungeons and Dragons. doing homework help, we use the some of the channels for in this case showing off art. I did get permission from Alli to show this to you all today. But I really appreciate this because look like there are other students who are commenting and saying, Wow, that's such a great, like drawing that you made. And then we reached out to one of the club's service clubs at school, we met with them and then we were able to use Padlet to do this incredibly quick closing activity where everybody just put examples of things that they're grateful for.

Unknown Speaker 23:26
Thank you. Okay, so like in some of our programs, if we're asking patients to scare stare at a screen for close to half an hour, we give a stretch break, and so we can't see you to see if we're being honest. But we're each gonna stand up or stretch our arms, get a drink of water, take that 30 seconds to make sure the blood flow and that you aren't too stiff from sitting. So you'll get to watch a stretch. hope somebody grabbed a screen grab that one that's fun. This is so hard to do virtual, like if I say something, it's even like not funny, but like groaning funny, I can't even get the groans. Um, and so we're gonna move on to our next section. So we're going to talk about sustained transformation, which we put this to potentially connect to strand four of the theme of ncn thinking about how the ideas we've been generating and all of this make a difference for how we do teamwork and do these programs going forward. So I think Rachel's going to start on this one.

Unknown Speaker 24:29
Um, okay, so just as we hope to continue to use discord to supplement our, like informal engagement. We think that using zoom and Google meet in the future, even once once we all on that beautiful day are able to hold in person programs. Again, I think that the remote participation has been like successfully normalized. So I think it's really going to help people who have trouble with translation. Patients who have really tight schedules, who might need some of the accessibility options like closed captioning in order to better participate, or who really appreciate just the opportunity to send private chats that somebody else can read aloud so that they can participate in a conversation without having to like raise their hand and be vulnerable in that way. issues that I think will come up, especially in a hybrid environment, though, are things that we are already seeing, such as privacy and confidentiality if a young person is in a home where they can't speak freely, or if family members may overhear something that's shared by somebody else in the group, also permissions. And I just want to say that all of the quotes that you're going to see in the following slides, if they're in quotes, they're from our survey. So these are not from us, particularly, but I think that really were resonating with the people who participated in our survey.

Unknown Speaker 26:09
videos, I think are also going to be something that we're going to be able to use sustainably after we are able to meet in person, some organizations actually found that videos were more successful than in person programs for certain kinds of things, craft kits, with with instructional videos, cooking programs, where people are able to use their home kitchens. All right, and I'm gonna, again, the slides will be provided for you later. So if you don't make it all the way through all these quotes, that's cool, you'll have chance. But I'm going to turn it over to Eric to talk about some of the cool stuff that they have been able to do at the Great Plains Black History Museum.

Unknown Speaker 26:51
Because I mentioned before, one thing that that was really helpful to us in reaching a larger audience was a nepos, it again allowed us to reach students that we have not been would not have been able to reach before. I currently, in the previous slide that you saw the picture of the of the students in the, in the library at one of the local schools, they were participating or practicing in a program called African the African American History challenge. And prior to the pandemic, we would meet face to face with those students to go over review sessions and we'd have roughly about five review sessions. Well, this year, we had our first review session this this year, and we had to do it via via zoom over this past Saturday. And so it allowed us to still have some sense of normalcy, even in this environment. And so those students were able to, we were able to hold review sessions, they were able to gain a little bit more knowledge in the area of a black history. And the picture you see here was prior to the pandemic, when we had a group of students from one of the high schools came down for a for a tour. But the virtual way, even though it was things do get back to our our old normal, we're looking at continuing to continuing to provide a virtual tours and presentations.

Unknown Speaker 28:30
As we are approaching reopening, we do plan on continuing additional workshops and tours for the foreseeable future. And what has been so interesting about this otherwise unfortunate or difficult time is that it's forced us to really think outside of the box and develop online specific content. Alongside the new library of digital content, which I will link in a second, we were able to develop new practices that I know that will carry over when we return to in person learning such as encouraging the use of free or inexpensive phone apps and programs for students to make movies or video games. As an alternative to those who cannot afford something like Adobe programs or someone who can't install g develop on to their family's home computer. We will also continue providing alternative materials found around the house for our camp supply lists. For example, if a stop motion animation project, ideally needs construction paper, we would encourage students to find old magazines or newspapers around the house as an alternative and to make something just as awesome, if not more so.

Unknown Speaker 29:48
Okay, so again, quotes from other organizations. But one thing that I think that we can really take from this time and hopefully keep moving forward is a focus on teen centered content and format. So the pictures on this slide one represents a program that we're doing in collaboration with a group of students who are unable to go to a state competition and show off their project about financial literacy. And so they're doing a presentation through zoom through the library. And so we're able to support students to do their presentations in their, in their productions. And then I also want to just give a, I saw in the chat, there's already been some shout outs about d&d. But role playing is something that a lot of organizations have gotten into during this pandemic, because it does translate so easily to remote participation. And it's a really lovely way to allow students to really use their imaginations and to be someone else, you know, when you're stuck in your house, you have so fewer you employ fewer opportunities to like really play with your identity, the way that you might, just going to school. And having gained the skills to be effective game masters and run games, and I think that we're gonna see a lot of that continuing forward.

Unknown Speaker 31:24
And then, flexibility is the thing that we really want to focus on. at, like, just staying flexible has been such a boon in terms of like marketing deadlines, and in terms of spaces, I know that's come up, virtual spaces can be way easier to schedule. But, you know, it also just in terms of like, responding to the, to the current moment, so we put together a program, because we were hearing from our young people, that they were really concerned about mental health, whether it be their own, or their friends or in the broader community. And so we partnered together with response for teens, which is a local organization that focuses on mental health education, to provide workshops. And we combined that with an opportunity for young people to learn skills around activism, which will then hopefully, help them feel like they have a sense of control and these out of control times. So that's something that we're super excited about, that we were able to do, that would not have happened. Had we not had the summer of responses to George Floyd's murder, and you know, just the the myriad protests that people have become aware of connected to everything to the whole 2020.

Unknown Speaker 33:10

Unknown Speaker 33:11
so we're going to move to a q&a session, I'm gonna let Andrea moderate this one. So we do have a few questions that she may pull from that came out in the survey as well that a lot of those folks wanted to know. So I'll let her I know, she's been keeping an eye on your chats and Q and A's. And so we'll try to get as many of these as possible, we do still have a solid 20 minutes. So that's great. I'm hoping that we can get to all of your questions. Thanks, everybody.

Unknown Speaker 33:36
And if we don't get to your question, you still have something specific for us. We did give you your contact information in the beginning slides. So I first I really want to ask all of you. How can we work against the digital divide? And other than what have what we've already discussed? What are some free or inexpensive ways we can serve teens.

Unknown Speaker 33:59
Now one thing I wanted to throw out there that I was playing off, Rachael was talking about connecting with schools and libraries. I don't know if every big city has done this, but at least in Chicago and Chicago Public Schools, um, they had an initiative to get every Chicago public school kid internet at home if they didn't have it. So if you're in a bigger city, I would love to see if any of those are available that so you can help those teens get that internet.

Unknown Speaker 34:24
Yeah, we've done something similar to that we've kind of created a Wi Fi hotspot, kind of in, in a area or first people do have some social distancing, but still be able to get connected so they can address their their school related things.

Unknown Speaker 34:44
I want to continue providing resources for teens and families. On our online channels. I'm constantly sharing you know things from Common Sense Media, like lesson plans and home activities, and even discussions that families can have, you know, just education discussing discussions that can follow a simple screening of something that there may be watching on one of their on Disney plus, or things like that. So that's, that's those are one of the ways that I hope that we can help people.

Unknown Speaker 35:23
Um, a lot of the tools that all the tools that I spoke about discord Padlet, I didn't talk about wakelet. But that's when that's also included in our resources. And I know Andrew, Andrea wanted to talk to me a little bit about Adobe sparks, I'm

Unknown Speaker 35:42

Unknown Speaker 35:42
Yeah, Adobe Spark is is a free service that teachers can register for. And students, I think that you need an official school, or organizational email address to register. But it there, you can develop videos, social media posts, and even websites and presentations, to either enhance your lessons or challenge your students to create something that is very simple and very accessible, you can download it on your phone, or you can use the desktop version. And that's an really awesome educational initiative from Adobe, who has otherwise developed rather expensive subscription plans for their awesome services. So for the next question, and this is something I think we're all struggling with, but how can we help combat zoom fatigue?

Unknown Speaker 36:39
Okay, I mean, first on that, you know, one thing is that I've come to realize that, since zoom is make me more accessible, and because I become more accessible, I, at one time was at a point where I thought I couldn't say no, to a meeting, or to an event. And I had to tell myself that, look, you don't have to go to every meeting every day, you know, for for everything that someone sends you emails about, you know, because you still also have to provide yourself some me time. So I, you know, I've just learn to say, Okay, do I have to participate in this event? And if not, then I can, I'll be happy to hit the, the no on the on the calendar invite. Or even the Maybe,

Unknown Speaker 37:39
yeah, and I think it's also thinking about how we can help teams do that. Like, I think that's awesome that you have been able to do that Eric, and then figuring out how we can set it up for teams to so like, in a particular program, giving them that permission of, hey, we're gonna be on video, and anyone who's comfortable, well, you don't have to be because that's one of the things about zoom. That's so fatiguing is like staring at yourself and trying to keep your face constantly on I was reading articles, like if you were in a room with people, if you glanced out the window, just to look at a tree for a minute, no one would think anything of it. But if I look to the sidewalls, everyone's talking, it looks like I'm not paying attention. And so it's this hyper attention that we have to do. And so it's giving teams permission, shut off your camera if you need it, or Hey, in today's teen lab meeting, or teen council meeting, we're all going to take 15 minutes to go breathe or to go look out the window or do whatever. So you build some of that in to help them build those skills as you can in your programs.

Unknown Speaker 38:31
Yeah, and be willing to take a break when you when you when you need to take a break versus having to wait for someone to tell you, you know, or give you permission to

Unknown Speaker 38:40
it's something that I actually struggled with a lot because when I was teaching summer camp, I would have campers just laying down on their beds with their devices. And it was hard not to take that personally. But in reality, we're all listening. And I didn't want to scold them or call them out because you know, they they should be able to feel do whatever they want and feel feel comfortable chilling with me for 90 minutes every single day, that week. But yeah, I agree with Miranda, just letting them turn off their camera or position themselves in a way even if it seems impolite, you wouldn't lay down in front of someone in person. But one another thing that we incorporated was one of my colleagues started doing close, you know, metod brief meditation sessions for longer workshops where we will just close our eyes and just or turn off our cameras and just zone out for a little bit not look at a screen. So a brief meditation might work if you can accommodate that into your program.

Unknown Speaker 39:46
And I want to say that it really depends on the day and on the time as well. And we've had students who really would prefer to interact with us on a weekend because Then that's a day when they don't have a billion zoom meetings. And we've also had, honestly, this is another great. Another reason why I really appreciate discord is because it's asynchronous. So you can kind of tune in and drop out and you don't, you may, you know, over the course of a day spend a fair amount of time, you know, interacting and in the library server. But you know, it's not, it's completely on your own schedule. And so maybe that's happening at like, nine o'clock at night.

Unknown Speaker 40:35
We already have so many awesome questions, and I wish we could get to them all. But I like to start with Elizabeth, were these programs done mainly with established teen organizations with your organizations? Sorry, established teens groups who had relationships with your organizations? Or did you develop or expand your audiences by offering virtual sessions?

Unknown Speaker 40:59
I was like,

Unknown Speaker 41:01
Oh, no, go ahead, Rachel God,

Unknown Speaker 41:03
okay. Um, so I want to say that for us, it was both, um, you know, reaching out through our networks of schools, which, that's another issue, like, knowing when and how to approach school administrators and teachers who are super overwhelmed. Um, but we had, we had a lot of students that we already knew, um, and again, like in our Discord server, where I think we're more likely to attract students that either we know or who are there for a specific purpose like to play Dungeons and Dragons, because they're there to, like, interact with us and to hang out because they already like us. But we did have a lot of new people interacting with us in our zoom programs. So we did form some new partnerships, and we partnered much more closely with the village than we ever had before. And I think that was partially because they were more willing to that, you know, they they had the same needs that we did in terms of reaching people. But so it was a mixture of both for us.

Unknown Speaker 42:07
Yeah, I was gonna say something really similar. That it was both we, for something like our team Council, we on a typical team council meeting, you know, we have this core group of maybe five to 10 teams that always come. But during this time, we might have had 20, common and same with our, the virtual team Learning Labs is we had a very consistent 20 to 30 teens. And I think it's a couple of things. One is teams that would have normally come to shed anyway, it's easier even for them to get there. They're not trying to take public transit in the evening, or have it conflict with sports practices, which were all canceled. And so I think it was partly opening up their schedules, partly that they could just click a button and join instead of having to Trent travel to the museum campus, which is a little hard to get to in Chicago. And also that we opened ourselves up to an even broader audience. You know, museums like the Shedd Aquarium wanted to say, here's the I know we're closed, but here's the things we can do. So that's what got pushed out. And so things like our virtual team lab got pushed out to a broader audience. And we had somebody join from like another country from West Africa, we had teams joining, which is just because they heard about it through the chain. And so I think it was a mix of both of like, being able to engage those core teams were new, and then also opening to new teen audiences, which then gives you new issues to deal with of how do we make these new teams feel comfortable with teens that may already know each other? How do we think about different permission forms, or allowing teens to show their faces on camera? If they were already in my core teen Council, I have all these form signs. But if they're new, and they don't, how, you know, do I get parents to E sign something in this pandemic? So? Um, yeah, so we need to think about that issue from both sides.

Unknown Speaker 43:49
And I would say pretty much the same as it what would what three of you guys, the three of you have said as well, you know, just the fact that to you know, we're not a large organization in the first place. So to stay relevant, we had to, you know, reach out to to a wider audience very, versus just the students in which we've dealt with in the past.

Unknown Speaker 44:17
And just really quickly, because I want to move on to this really awesome question, all the other awesome questions, but we a lot of our teen audience came from partnerships that we had with schools that we were working with, with our animation classes, or parents that were already members of the museum, or, like we did a lot of social media outreach, but I would say a majority of the teams that were working with us were already involved in the museum in one way or the other. We slowly began accumulating people from outside of the New York State area, when we were spreading more information about our digital

Unknown Speaker 44:59

Unknown Speaker 45:01
On that note, Janine asked, how did you all communicate with middle school participants? Was it through parents by phone or through apps. And also, she would like us to share our reshare contact info, which I think we can all type quickly in the chat. We're not talking. For me since I work with a wide spectrum of ages. I'm just focusing on teens for this awesome panel. I was mostly emailing the parents for summer camp and sending them the zoom links and the supply lists for each week. Educators all have their museum emails, so they were able to communicate with students who had official school emails, and were able to talk that way. We didn't use any other apps and we just wanted to keep it strictly to email as far as communication goes, although we did we do sometimes get questions from parents through the Instagram DMS. didn't do any of you have other middle school experiences? All right.

Unknown Speaker 46:05
Say one of the one of the things that we were able to do successfully apart from reaching out through schools, which was great, but there are like 15, like districts in Skokie that have middle schoolers in them. I don't know, that's only a slight exaggeration. But the way we were able to find people with library cards. And so this is another another reason to potentially partner with your local library is that we are also, you know, just communicating directly with people through email that we like, looked up their library card, and we're like, I know you, and I want to check in on you. So I'm gonna just drop you a line.

Unknown Speaker 46:53
I felt I mentioned I was also in contact with the classroom teachers that were shepherding the students online.

Unknown Speaker 47:02
Okay, so

Unknown Speaker 47:04
thank you.

Unknown Speaker 47:05
So we have a question from Sylvia. And our in our team literature program at the yudishe book Center, which went virtual this summer we've been struggling with how do you encourage students to attend optional social activities, we don't want to overwhelm them by making everything mandatory, but we want to convince them that they're worth going to since that's where most of the community building happens. Any advice on how to strike that balance? For us, I would say that we we don't have as frequent teen online sessions, other than our summer camp, which took place every day. We are occasional, so that I think, I think we struggled a little, a little less with that. But I'm not sure what the timing is for your programs,

Unknown Speaker 48:00

Unknown Speaker 48:03
And I just want to say I totally hear that it can be really difficult to do, like scaffold learning when people miss sessions. And we're just kind of building that in, we're assuming that people are going to miss sessions. And we check for that, basically, at the beginning of the session and do a quick recap, if something you know, and which is not going to solve all the problems, but feels a lot more welcoming, then to me personally, then I'm trying to make something mandatory.

Unknown Speaker 48:39
Yeah. And what you can also do is, make sure that it's taped. So then that way, if it's if a participant can't, can't be there, the day of they can go back and view the you know, the view to tape or whatnot. So that way they can stay, stay caught up with their, with their with the other participants. But just make it to where they don't have that as a constant method in which they can stay engaged or involved. Maybe set it up to where, you know, you can depends on how long the program is you can miss face to face or live sessions only so many, you know, to continue to participate. So that might be another way in which you can which you can do it to keep them all engaged.

Unknown Speaker 49:28
Yes, a lot of our sessions often make their way on to YouTube. So I think that gives them a little more freedom and they're allowed to catch up on their own time if they're able to, or if students were are missing a session, we would send a quick catch up note either in the form of a one sheet, or a sample video that may be an educator made or another student made to help them catch up on let's say, an animation class. So here's a question from Kelsey. Do you find that teens or young adults are more comfortable with transitioning to virtual digital interactions due to their familiarity with technology? Or do they experience zoom or tech fatigue more?

Unknown Speaker 50:15
I want to say that I don't feel like we can totally globalize on that different teams are different. I certainly know teens who would rather be gaming pretty much all the time. Um, and you know, being in front of a computer is not necessarily the problem possibly having to interact with the computer is is still exhausting, but not necessarily like the actual screen time. But that said, there are other things that like, for example, we had a citizen science program where people could just go around and take pictures of plants and animals in the community and participate with the app. So the there are definitely some things that people might feel more comfortable with. And I think it's just useful to offer a broader array of options. Yes, we

Unknown Speaker 51:09
do a lot of challenges that require them to maybe spend some time outside safely, we would say, submit your own film to us. And we'll post the winners or the or the selections on our social media pages. So challenges were our way of having them engaged, but not having to, let's say, Look at us on a screen for several hours. Eric, are you going to say something

Unknown Speaker 51:38
been with us, since our virtual tours are, are usually give me 45 minutes to an hour longer? If it does, we don't have to worry about the students becoming disengaged. And that even with our presentations, they're anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour as well, so and we don't have them building upon each other. The only thing that kind of builds upon each other are review sessions for the African American History challenge. But we have the school coaches that are there as well. And so if they're if they're unable to attend or miss miss that event, then they're coaches there to kind of go over the information they may have missed.

Unknown Speaker 52:25
Andrea, do you mind I, I was looking at the questions. And I tried to just answer someone and then it went away. And I'm worried that I have deleted their question. And I just wanted to say one thing that they asked anonymously, but I think this is something that happens with a lot of people they wanted to know like, what do you do if you work in an organization like a government organization that moves a lot slower, and you can't quickly make these pivots to take your team programmer line or do some social media and all these kinds of things. And just like just a couple quick tips, because I know we're running out of minutes. But organizations like Shedd Aquarium To be honest, really big museums are like that, too, they move a little slower, there's a lot of approvals. So my like insider tips is one calling things a pilot gets you to be able to do things that you might not otherwise use, like oh is a pilot, which is piloting for whatever reason that makes people more comfortable that you are start trying to or building a new program. And similarly, if you can frame it as its team created work sometimes museum is okay. It's like the if the logo you put on something or the T shirts they designed or the program you're building his team created, then it doesn't have to go through all the same branding. So I don't know if that would work for you. But those are two things that I found that allows us to have that team voice and move things a little quicker if that happens to work with your framing. So I apologize. I deleted your question. Somehow I hadn't used the q&a before. And

Unknown Speaker 53:47
thank you, Marcus for resubmitting your question. I missed it in chat. Marcus asked, what are some key factors and interacting with teens that you found helps them feel more comfortable, safe and heard with virtual activities.

Unknown Speaker 54:06
So I want to jump in really quick and say that. First of all, we have a community agreement that we use for our activism and mental health program. We don't necessarily use it for all of our programs. But because that one is much more vulnerable. We make sure that we bring that up every time as a slide and I'd be happy to share that like as an example with you that you can adapt for yourself. And then the similarly also in Discord. It's really important for the young people there to see that or respond to things that are unkind and make sure that people like see that like that behavior is being like that our standards are being upheld. So But mostly a lot of it was going to come down to relationships. We formed relationships over time. And now those students are more willing to share with us, I just had a student yesterday spend probably 45 minutes direct message messaging me about the death of his great grandmother and a bullying event that he had just been involved in. That kind of went both ways where he admitted that he had also bullied the people who then came back and bullied him. And so in, that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't already been investing in that relationship.

Unknown Speaker 55:37
In addition to those really awesome insights from Rachel, we like to have the to educator system in our program. So we employ break rooms all the time, if there is someone who is having difficulty, they're very frustrated with something that might not necessarily be the activity at hand, we usually have the assisting educator or even the lead instructor go into a break room and talk things out with them and let them know that they are here for them. And even though it's a difficult time, they can always ask if they if they can go into a private room. And that actually has worked very well. with students with various difficulties or disabilities that need a little extra need need an extra year?

Unknown Speaker 56:25
We are sorry, I just those were two minutes left. Thank you, Rachel. Um, so we did want to show I want to show really quickly what the appendix is so that you have that as well. I would love to spend more time talking to you all, I really hope we can reach out maybe we can do something in the Slack to continue talking. But the biggest question when we this is a quote that we got from the survey as well is how do we make our programs comfort, seamless and comforting parts of teens lives? How can we make our programs are sort of uncomplicated and inspiring? How can we meet teens exactly where they are, and just wrap them in a big loving, supportive virtual hug. And I love that. And we want to leave you with that question to think about how you can make your programs more supportive for teens, because that's who we're really here for. And then I want to tell you for next steps, if you want to throw in the chat or shoot shoot it at us on slack or on Twitter, how can we keep this community going? We want to share these slides with you. We want to keep having these conversations and keep answering these questions. We want to hear your ideas as much as share with you. And then when I share this out, there is a whole appendix. Rachel mentioned she shared all these tools that all of us spoke about, I pulled over some tips for using zoom. So there's just more more resources. And so all of that we want to make available to you all. And just thank you so much for being a part of this talk. Thank you so much, Rachel, Andrea and Eric for sharing your programs and being a part of this panel with me. But yeah, I really hope that we can continue this conversation through Twitter or slack or some other means if anyone has ideas, so