OTL's educational model utilizes the pedagogical tool of scaffolding: each skill and project becomes the foundation for the next, allowing for increasingly deeper and more complex learning. Our experiential, hands-on curriculum begins with camera basics, and projects that focus on the self, exploring identity. As students' digital media and media literacy skills develop, the project focus broadens, to family, the community, the environment and the world. Every program culminates with an exhibition of student work and a take-home portfolio for each participant.
OTL's curriculum meets California's Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) learning standards and the National Core Arts Standards in Visual and Media Arts. Our programs are based on the Framework for 21st Century Learning, developing students' media and technology skills, promoting creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration, and building competencies that will serve students throughout their lives and careers.
Since 2001, Outside the Lens has reached more than 13,000 youth. Our EdConnect online portal allows OTL-trained teachers and educators in multiple states to communicate with one another, access curriculum resources and share student work. Every month, EdConnect logs 250 teacher sign-ins from many states including California, Alaska and Michigan, and even further abroad in Africa.