What do you get when you mash up the familiar structure of varsity sports with the popular appeal of creativity competitions like “American Idol”, and top it off with a heavy dose of digital youth culture? Web startup “The Media League” tries to answer that question, claiming the title as the world’s first online varsity creativity competition.
Just as high school football teams compete with one another for notoriety, accolades, and championships, in the Media League, high school Media Teams compete to produce and share the most creative original media.
How Does It Work?
Varsity media teams consist of the most creative and digitally savvy kids in each participating high school. Each Media League ‘game’ consists of a theme and challenge that all participating Media Teams are given. Sample themes include Digital Citizenship, Art and Athletics, Relationships, Green Planet, etc.
Each Media Team has one week to produce up to 3 works related to the theme. These works are uploaded first to a Sandbox area where team members can comment and collaborate on them. When ready for prime time, they can be promoted to the online competition, where they are viewed, shared over social networks, and rated by other students. This activity is fed into a scoring algorithm that yields a team score, which determines that school’s place in the standings. The algorithm is a closely guarded secret, to prevent students from gaming the system.
The Media League season includes Tryouts, Pre-Season Games, the Season itself, Divisional Playoffs and eventually National Championships. The League website includes highly integrated social features that embody all aspects of the game play – a league explorer, standings, the dashboard, coach, team and player profiles, social commenting and sharing, the sandbox, game media, a news area, and more. Coaches, Players, Fans, Boosters, and Sponsors come together on the site to support their teams, connect with each other, and discover trending student writings, videos, songs, and visual art.
How It Helps Your School
Many schools are unsure of how to engage and enroll digital creativity in an educational context. Social networks are competing for student attention with schools themselves, and too often, they are winning. The creators of the Media League hope to offer the following benefits to schools:
* Increased Digital Relevance to Students
* Increased Student Engagement
* Enhanced School Spirit
* Digital Training and Career Development for Students
* Creative Excellence Celebrated and Rewarded
* Enhanced School Profile
The League is an opportunity for kids to excel, to gain respect and even to launch professional careers. All high school students are invited to register and celebrate their creativity by participating either as players or as loyal fans of the school team.
The inaugural season of the Media League has just begun, and will coincide with the 2012-2013 school year.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Media League is a varsity creativity league, an organized, web-based competition between high school Media Teams.
How do you play?
Each game has a theme, like Relationships or Landmarks. Each Media Team creates and uploads three pieces of media inspired by that theme to The Media League’s highly social website, where it gets shared widely. Fans (other students from everywhere) watch, and rate, and a score is produced, and from that score come standings, and from those standings playoffs, and from those playoffs CHAMPIONS!!! Yes, a gold medal in making the most awesome media.
What’s with making creativity competitive? That seems dumb.
We like it actually. Lots of people do. Not all the time, of course. But sometimes. We think it brings out the best in people, and as long as it’s healthy, respectful and rewarding, we’re all for it!
Do we need to have a Media Lab at our school to be eligible?
If a Media Lab is not available, Team Members are expected to bring their own gear: smart phone, laptop, brain, etc. Most people are already minor media-making masters these days anyway.
How much effort is required?
Players can put in as much time with their teams and creations as they like. At least one volunteer coach is required on average 1-2 hours a week throughout the season (25-50 hours total) to keep things on track.