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The Wakatta! initiative was created to help define the needs and resources available for establishing a Youth Learning Network among designated educational institutions (e.g. NY Public Library, NY Hall of Science, MTV) in New York City. The impetus of the Learning Network came from the new ways in which kids were navigating across physical and virtual “learning networks” in an increasingly bottom-up and interest-driven pattern rather than the traditional top-down and institutionally-determined pattern. Leveraging and building on these new methodologies in a collaborative way promised to be an opportunity to expand the digital presence of institutions and raise interests in their physical sites.

Institutional leaders took part in three activities to help inform the design of the network: interviews, on-site observations, and a two-day charette. As a Parsons research assistant my role was primarily with the team that designed and helped facilitate the charettes. We worked closely with IDEO New York to develop worked examples and brainstorming activities to guide the two day event.

At the conclusion of the research a Wakatta! website was created to facilitate online charettes and continued development of the ideas among institutions. In the spring of 2009 the New Youth City Learning Network was established.