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Community Technology Reflection
"Over the course of this term, my commitment to HarlemLive has solidified into something beyond a three-credit internship. My work at HarlemLive has become an integral facet of my approach to the work that I am doing at Teachers College. My interactions with the students informs my readings of theory and influences the papers that I write as well as the stance that I take on many issues of pedagogy and politics-'
HarlemLive fulfills a crucial niche for youth of color, but young women need a special place in which to learn technology. The girls at HarlemLive may as well have worked for their school papers, since almost none of them had developed any proficiency in Dreamweaver, the program we use to create pages,-'I began to impose the rule that no girls' writing would appear on the site unless she formatted her story in Dreamweaver. Slowly, we are beginning to observe a switch in roles, as the girls solicit help from the boys in order to learn Dreamweaver and the boys join the girls in pursuing story leads outside the office-'
Now, our online magazine [the "She Thang" page] contains savvy commentary on current events from the perspective of media literate teenagers. Our essays and "hot button" or "Be Loud, Be Heard" questions are structured in ways that are useful to all students who read them-'
My internship at HarlemLive has been one of the most valuable aspects of my Masters course at TC. Through this experience, I have learned more than I could in any classroom about the functions of nonprofits, from the politics involved to the day-to-day functioning of such organizations. Additionally, having never taught in a formal classroom setting before, HarlemLive afforded me the experience to work closely with teenagers, first in a more informal setting, and then into more structured situations.
I have learned about myself through this internship that I love working directly with teens. I have learned from the students at HarlemLive how to communicate with teenagers, how to develop meaningful relationships with them but also how to maintain the important boundaries between advisors and students. I am also indebted to the students of HarlemLive for teaching me almost everything I know about Photo Shop, Dreamweaver and Flash."