Outside the Lens(OTL) empowers youth to use photography and digital media to effect personal and social change. Our experiential, project-based curriculum is rooted in Visual Thinking Strategies and develops students’ critical thinking and media literacy skills, engages youth on issues important to them, and gives youth a voice. Our K-12 programs align with Common Core standards, and culminate with student exhibitions.
Since 2001, OTL has reached 13, 000 students through direct service programming. With an eye toward the future, OTL places equal emphasis on our teacher training program. We have worked with several districts and after-school programs, teaching educators to implement OTL curriculum in their own classrooms. We not only show educators how to teach photography and videography; we show them how to integrate digital media and creative thinking across academic disciplines. Our newly launched EdConnect online portal is an exclusive resource for OTL educators, providing support, learning materials, and a professional network. We will expand this tool to include online training and professional development modules, increasing its relevance for educators. Where direct service allows us to remain connected to the youth we serve, and to incubate new programs, we recognize the potential that effective teacher training can have on making digital media arts increasingly accessible to and transformative for youth.
OTL envisions a world where all youth have the access and education necessary to become creative, constructive, and responsible producers and consumers of media: the tools to create change in their lives, their community, and their world.