Nichole Pinkard

Nichole Pinkard is Associate Professor of Interactive Media, Human Computer Interaction, and Education in the School of Cinema and Interactive Media at DePaul University and founder of the Digital Youth Network.

  • The Digital Youth Network

    The Digital Youth Network

    Cultivating Digital Media Citizenship in Urban Communities

    Brigid Barron, Kimberley Gomez, Nichole Pinkard, and Caitlin K. Martin

    An ambitious project to help economically disadvantaged students develop technical, creative, and analytical skills across a learning ecology that spans school, community, home, and online.

    The popular image of the “digital native”—usually depicted as a technically savvy and digitally empowered teen—is based on the assumption that all young people are equally equipped to become innovators and entrepreneurs. Yet young people in low-income communities often lack access to the learning opportunities, tools, and collaborators (at school and elsewhere) that help digital natives develop the necessary expertise. This book describes one approach to address this disparity: the Digital Youth Network (DYN), an ambitious project to help economically disadvantaged middle-school students in Chicago develop technical, creative, and analytical skills across a learning ecology that spans school, community, home, and online.

    The book reports findings from a pioneering mixed-method three-year study of DYN and how it nurtured imaginative production, expertise with digital media tools, and the propensity to share these creative capacities with others. Through DYN, students, despite differing interests and identities—the gamer, the poet, the activist—were able to find some aspect of DYN that engaged them individually and connected them to one another. Finally, the authors offer generative suggestions for designers of similar informal learning spaces.

    • Hardcover $36.00

Contributor

  • Peer Pedagogies on Digital Platforms

    Peer Pedagogies on Digital Platforms

    Learning with Minecraft Let's Play Videos

    Michael Dezuanni

    How a popular entertainment genre on YouTube—Let's Play videos created by Minecraft players—offers opportunities for children to learn from their peers.

    Every day millions of children around the world watch video gameplay on YouTube in the form of a popular entertainment genre known as Let's Play videos. These videos, which present a player's gameplay and commentary, offer children opportunities for interaction and learning not available in traditional television viewing or solo video gameplay. In this book, Michael Dezuanni examines why Let's Play videos are so appealing to children, looking in particular at videos of Minecraft gameplay. He finds that a significant aspect of the popularity of these videos is the opportunity for knowledge and skill exchange.

    Focusing on Let's Play practices, the videos themselves, and fans' responses, Dezuanni argues that learning takes place through what he terms peer pedagogies—a type of nonhierarchical learning that is grounded in the personal relationships fans and players feel toward one another. Moreover, the Let's Play platform is part of a larger digital ecosystem that enables children to learn from one another in unique ways. Dezuanni explores how Let's Players enable learning opportunities, examining digital literacies, the Let's Play genre, and peer pedagogies. He then presents case studies of three successful family-friendly Let's Players of Minecraft: Stampylonghead, StacyPlays, and KarinaOMG, microcelebrities in a microindustry. Dezuanni analyzes the specific practices and characteristics of these players, paying particular attention to how they create opportunities for peer pedagogies to emerge.

    • Paperback $35.00
  • Writers in the Secret Garden

    Writers in the Secret Garden

    Fanfiction, Youth, and New Forms of Mentoring

    Cecilia Aragon and Katie Davis

    An in-depth examination of the novel ways young people support and learn from each other though participation in online fanfiction communities.

    Over the past twenty years, amateur fanfiction writers have published an astonishing amount of fiction in online repositories. More than 1.5 million enthusiastic fanfiction writers—primarily young people in their teens and twenties—have contributed nearly seven million stories and more than 176 million reviews to a single online site, Fanfiction.net. In this book, Cecilia Aragon and Katie Davis provide an in-depth examination of fanfiction writers and fanfiction repositories, finding that these sites are not shallow agglomerations and regurgitations of pop culture but rather online spaces for sophisticated and informal learning. Through their participation in online fanfiction communities, young people find ways to support and learn from one another.

    Aragon and Davis term this novel system of interactive advice and instruction distributed mentoring, and describe its seven attributes, each of which is supported by an aspect of networked technologies: aggregation, accretion, acceleration, abundance, availability, asynchronicity, and affect. Employing an innovative combination of qualitative and quantitative analyses, they provide an in-depth ethnography, reporting on a nine-month study of three fanfiction sites, and offer a quantitative analysis of lexical diversity in the 61.5 billion words on the Fanfiction.net site. Going beyond fandom, Aragon and Davis consider how distributed mentoring could improve not only other online learning platforms but also formal writing instruction in schools.

    • Paperback $25.00