Students Find Innovation in Their Locker

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(Photo by Aaron Roberts)

Your locker. There's no memory of school like the sound of that ubiquitous painted metal cabinet screeching open in a noisy hallway.

You fought with your buddy, wrestled with your combination lock, yanked the door open, and dragged out your books -- wincing at the smell of the gym clothes you left there yesterday -- then ran off to class.

A group of college students thinks the locker -- a safe, private space a child uses every day -- is a strong enough idea that 10 to 14-year-old kids would use a virtual locker online to get news, communicate with each other, and stay involved in their communities.

The group has invented a Web site called Locker Talker. The site is meant to be a secure, collaborative, news-based site for kids. It uses familiar-looking graphics like notebooks for group discussions, post-it notes for messages, and a flip book for a virtual scrapbook.

That familiarity extends to providing movable magnet graphics inside the virtual locker door. These magnets allow paid advertisers to put their logo and other commercial information in front of kids each time they log in.

The site also gives community groups like the Girl Scouts a way to get information to kids, and to encourage awareness of larger issues like global warming or breast cancer, the group's presenter said.

The student project was funded by the Knight Foundation News Challenge grant program, and is one of three presented at ONA 2007 in a business session about partnerships between industry and post-secondary institutions.

-- Will Tremain

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8th Annual Conference and Awards Banquet, Oct. 17-19, Sheraton Centre, Toronto

Questions about membership, registration or sponsorship opportunities? E-mail Executive Director Lori Schwab.

Questions about conference lineup or volunteering? E-mail Conference Chair Ju-Don Roberts.

Oct. 19, 2007 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.: Breakfast Discussion Groups (Sponsored by AFP) 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Community/Convergence Workshop: The Cutting Edge of Online Data 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Content/Design Workshop: Finding Your Voice Online 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Business Workshop: Leading the 21st Century Newsroom 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.: General Session: Membership Meeting 10:45 a.m. - Education Members Meeting, Expanding ONA's educational offerings, Dominion Ballroom 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m: Keynote: Michael Oreskes, International Herald Tribune 12:15 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Lunch on Your Own (Box lunch sponosred by 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Community/Convergence Workshop: Broadcaster Strategies for the Web 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Content/Design Workshop: Integrating Multimedia in Storytelling 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Business Workshop: Legal Panel 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Community/Convergence Workshop: Revamping Your Curriculum for Online Journalism 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Content/Design Workshop: Integrating User-Generated Content 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Business Workshop: Advertising 2.0 4:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.: Coffee Break (Sponsored by Pluck) 4:45 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Journalism Next: Impact of Aggregators, Blogging and Social Networking on the Industry 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Reception sponsored by 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.: Awards banquet

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    OJA Finalists:
    The 2007 Online Journalism Award winners will be announced at the awards dinner on Oct. 19. See the list of this year's finalists.

    The 2007 Online News Association Conference is the premier conference for those who work in, or have an interest in, online media and news.

    The Online Journalism Awards have become the top awards in online journalism. Each year a distinguished panel of judges selects the very best work in nine different categories to be honored at the awards. The OJA Banquet is the event where the awards are presented, and the winners are honored for their efforts.