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Is School Enough?

Is School Enough?

A screening & conversation about youth and informal learning with digital media.

Wednesday, January 30th, 6:00 pm
Austin Hall, Austin East Classroom
Refreshments will be served.

While policy-makers and educational experts try to determine the best “system” for delivering a world-class education to tens of millions of students across the country, many young people are finding their own ways of expressing themselves, pursuing interests, and participating in communities that are both on and offline. Largely unmediated by school and teachers, these young people, without really being aware of it, are connecting how they learn with what they care most about. Too commonly, young people are asked to solve problems in the classroom that have no relationship to the real world or relevance to their lives. Memorization and the measurement of what we know is the final basis for evaluating a students’ success; moreover, it’s the final evaluation of a teacher’s success as well. But in what ways do we ask our students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to something that’s happening in the world outside of it?

In what ways do we reward the authentic learning and work that young people do that is not validated and evaluated by our educational institutions? In this highly connected world that is powered by what we need when we need it, is school really enough?

Designed for parents and educators inside and out of the classroom, Is School Enough? – a one hour documentary - examines how young people are using everyday tools - including today's digital ones - to explore interests, connect with others, solve problems, and change the world around them. It is a call to action that moves the discourse away from how do we fix schools to how can we support, sustain and galvanize learning by helping students solve problems in their everyday lives.

Please join us for a preview screening of the new documentary that will be aired on PBS this spring. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the director, Stephen Brown, and Urs Gasser, Sandra Cortesi and Rey Junco from Berkman's Youth and Media Lab, and moderated by Berkman fellow Eric Gordon. Additionally, the panel will include youth featured in the film.

About the Participants

Stephen Brown is President and Executive Producer at Mobile Digital Arts. Mobile Digital Arts uses film and video production as a way to showcase and advocate for innovative educational practices, digital media programs, and 21st century approaches to learning.  Brown produced Reborn, New Orleans Schools, a feature documentary about the school reform movement after Hurricane Katrina; A 21st Century Education, a series of twelve short films about innovation in education; and Digital Media and Learning, eleven short films profiling the work of leading researchers, educators and thinkers on the impact that digital media is having on young learners. Mobile Digital Arts’ production – Digital Media, New Learners of the 21st Century – aired nationally on PBS in February 2011. He is also producing an on-going series of films with the OECD about the world’s best performing educational systems. Formerly, Brown was a business development manager, product planner and MSN producer at Microsoft. He has been a publisher of adult educational programs at Learning Network and a producer for WOMAD, a music and dance festival founded by Peter Gabriel. Brown is currently the General Manager of the New Learning Institute for the Pearson Foundation. Brown is currently producing Is School Enough,? a one-hour program for PBS about the ways that young people are participating in their communities, both on- and offline.

Sierra Goldstein is a 15 year old pursuer of dreams. She is working daily to achieve her aspirations of becoming a nutritionist, actress, and overall healthy living coach. She has already achieved her yoga certification, making her one of the nations youngest teachers. Sierra blogs, tweets, meets with mentors, and has conversations with people around the world every day to further her knowledge, create her business, and help others. You can find her blogs and social media profile on her website,, and as a frequent blogger on

Urs Gasser is the Executive Director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.  Dr. Gasser has written and edited several books, and published over 100 articles in professional journals. He is the co-author of “Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives” (Basic Books, 2008, with John Palfrey). His research and teaching activities focus on information law, policy, and society issues, including exploring policy and educational challenges for young Internet users.

Sandra Cortesi has been the lead Fellow for the Youth and Media Project since 2009 where she is responsible for coordinating the Youth and Media's policy, research, and educational initiatives. Sandra works closely with talented young people and lead researchers in the field as they look into innovative ways to approach social challenges in the digital world, including the production and exchange of digital media, youth development in social networking, and digital citizenship.

Rey Junco is a faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society where he focuses on studying how youth interact with digital media. Rey’s primary research interest is using quantitative methods to analyze the effects of social media on youth psychosocial development, engagement, and learning. His research has also focused on informing best practices in using social technologies to enhance learning outcomes. For instance, Rey’s research has shown that technology, specifically social media like Facebook and Twitter, can be used in ways that improve engagement and academic performance. Rey is also interested in examining online civil discourse, digital inequalities, and how the use of digital media promotes formal and informal learning. 

Eric Gordon is a Berkman Fellow, a researcher and a game designer who investigates how games and social media can enhance civic learning and local engagement. He is the director of the Engagement Game Lab and an associate professor in the department of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College. While at the Berkman Center, Eric will study the impact of game-based learning on local civic engagement and explore how new technologies can enhance citizenship and collective efficacy.

Download media from this event here.

Past Event
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - Thursday, January 31, 2013
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM