Center for Active Learning

Center for Active Learning

From Joanna White-Oldham

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Unquestionably, New York City is one of the greatest cities in the world.  Yet within this great city, there are schools without comprehensive enrichment programs, the majority of which are in low-income areas. Funding limitations prevent many children from receiving exposure to skills they will need to become successful 21st Century citizens.


The Center for Active Learning’s Media Focus program was introduced to students at Dr. Ronald McNair Elementary School in Brooklyn during the fall of 2011.    We are looking to expand the program to include at least three more schools for the 2012 – 2013 school year, and need to purchase equipment and supplies to ensure that every child has the opportunity to be an active participant.


What is Media Focus?

Media Focus is a hybrid of media literacy, dramatic arts and media production, subjects that are extremely important, particularly in a technology driven world that is constantly evolving. A study of conducted by the Kaiser Foundation ( indicates that minority youth are exposed to approximately five hours more media than their white counterparts on a daily basis (pg 5). Not surprisingly, the report also indicates that of youth that heavily utilize media, 70% of white students report getting good grades, compared to 54% of blacks and 50% of hispanics (pg. 13).  It is crucial that children understand that media is designed to captivate them, and teach them to monitor their own usage.


The social and emotional development of children are also being neglected in the classroom, and this neglect manifests itself in many different ways.  Dramatic play is a way to combat these issues.  Drama increases self confidence while building social awareness and responsibility.  When drama is coupled with the ability to tell your own story through video, children begin to trust themselves and their own ideas.

Other Ways to Help

We hope to bring Media Focus to approximately 120 students next year.  We are looking for professional volunteers with expertise in advertising and/or media production.  Several students at Dr. Ronald McNair Elementary expressed an interest in animation last year, so if you have experience in this area, we would really like to talk to you!


The purpose of this campaign is to raise money to purchase equipment and software. We want to make sure that the students are exposed to technology that is both current and relevant.  We will accept donated cameras, tripods, laptops, or software that can enhance the learning experience for the children in this program.  If you would like to donate equipment or software, please contact Joanna White-Oldham at


If you have any questions regarding this campaign, or need more details regarding our program, send an email to

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