Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) received a grant from Adobe to conduct an evaluation of the Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) program. As part of the evaluation, EDC conducted a review of relevant literature to situate AYV in a broader context, provide stakeholders with a framework for understanding goals and outcomes, and frame and inform the evaluation questions. EDC reviewed scholarly articles, program reports and evaluations, and research studies that addressed youth media programs, youth development, teacher professional development, and other areas related to AYV's goals.
Among the findings, the literature review includes 6 key points that speak to the AYV program:
1. The goals of youth media programs most commonly cited can be grouped into several categories:
- Youth voice -- the capacity for self-expression
- Youth development -- the process of developing the skills and personal attributes that enable young people to become successful adults
- Media literacy -- the ability to analyze, evaluate and produce information in a variety of media forms
- Skill development -- such as communication, critical thinking, technology, and media production skills
- Social action or civic engagement
2. Outcomes and impacts on participants of youth media programs commonly found in the literature include:
- Improved skills
- Improved community perception of youth
- Positive youth development
- Increased social action and civic engagement
3. Outcomes and impacts on participants of youth development programs frequently cited include:
Improved communication, critical thinking, and related skills
- Increased self-esteem
- More positive attitudes towards school and their futures
4. There is broad agreement that traditional educational approaches do not adequately address 21st century skills. Education must adapt to be more compatible with the ways in which young people think and learn, as well as the tools and media that are part of their environment.
5. Student engagement in education has been associated with positive youth development and 21st century skills. Engaging instruction often includes inquiry- or project-based, multidisciplinary, and authentic learning activities.
6. Educator professional development is believed to be a key step toward improving student outcomes. While there is little research that can demonstrate this connection, there is new focus on evaluating the effectiveness of professional development activities. Elements of effective professional development include learning communities and collaboration, ongoing support and assistance, and active or applied learning.