My kids do not dream of growing up and finding a job. They dream of creating (and selling) something or starting something… My 15 y.o. son sees his popularity on Vine as the beginning stages of his future work as a filmmaker. For him it is a trajectory.
For context, White’s response was to a post by Fred Wilson on the expansion of the highly popular writing and reading site Wattpad into Wattpad Studios, aimed at connecting “entertainment and publishing executives with Wattpad stories and creators.” And in case you’re not familiar with Wattpad, that means connecting them to thousands and thousands of kid authors who create and comment and commune on the site on a regular basis. I’m guessing some of those kids are in your schools.
Bu the larger point, I think, is this. Sites like Wattpad are places where kids can write about things they find interesting or are passionate about for an engaged, most often supportive community of readers, many of whom are writers themselves. Others, like Vine, or Snapchat, or YouTube offer other mediums and other audiences for kids to create and share. For many, this is the new normal.
Except in schools.
I wonder how many of our students feel the license and agency in schools to create their own “trajectory.” And I wonder what we, and they, miss by not making that a focus of our work in classrooms.
Wattpad Studios will no doubt bring kid creators more fully into the entertainment mainstream, to amplify their passions and good works, to grow their audiences. The good news is they’re not going to wait for us to figure it out.
(Image Credit: Zachary Young)