I am going to submit this largely without comment. Except for a few words.

Are school districts fostering the development of these kinds of skills in the students that attend 9-12? I wonder if I am missing something. But could you imagine classes that enable students to work on projects for Knight Foundation awards? The goals are the same as any school: enabling democracy, fostering community, aiding in the dissemination of information that aids people.

The Knight Foundation awarded $400k to a project that visualizes data and news on the web. The aim was to fund improvements in how news is disseminated in America, or globally, given that news and information in the hands of the people fosters democracy and a free society.

Data visualization initiatives fared well at this year’s challenge, as a second entry, Tilemapping, was granted $74,000 from the foundation. Other popular categories included projects aimed at finding new ways to engage readers, as well as those geared toward determining new methods for funding journalism at the local level (see video below). The foundation hopes that by funding these ideas they will help spur innovation and aid digital journalism take its first strides in the Internet age.

“The free flow of shared information is essential for communities to function in a democracy. More each day, that information flows through and because of digital technology,” said Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibarg├╝en. “Until someone figures out the next big thing […] we can use the Knight News Challenge to experiment with ways to learn how to think in different ways about information sharing so we might discover the future of news.”

If you are running a class out there in American high school education that fosters the use of technology and the collaboration, on the web, of users and students to create applications and ideas that enable democracy, I would love to hear about them. Just leave a comment in the comments section.

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