Today, computers are part of kids' everyday lives, used both for play and for learning. We envy children's natural affinity for computers, the ease with which they click in and out of digital worlds. Thirty years ago, however, the computer belonged almost exclusively to business, the military, and academia. In Engineering Play, Mizuko Ito describes the transformation of the computer from a tool associated with adults and work to one linked to children, learning, and play.
Many teens today who use the Internet are actively involved in participatory cultures—joining online communities (Facebook, message boards, game clans), producing creative work in new forms (digital sampling, modding, fan videomaking, fan fiction), working in teams to complete tasks and develop new knowledge (as in Wikipedia), and shaping the flow of media (as in blogging or podcasting).
This report summarizes the results of an ambitious three-year ethnographic study, funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, into how young people are living and learning with new media in varied settings—at home, in after school programs, and in online spaces. It offers a condensed version of a longer treatment provided in the book Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out (MIT Press, 2009). The authors present empirical data on new media in the lives of American youth in order to reflect upon the relationship between new media and learning.
This report focuses on the civic aspects of video game play among youth. According to a 2006 survey, 58 percent of young people aged 15 to 25 were civically "disengaged," meaning that they participated in fewer than two types of either electoral activities (defined as voting, campaigning, etc.) or civic activities (for example, volunteering). Kahne and his coauthors are interested in what role video games may or may not play in this disengagement.
In this report, Cathy Davidson and David Theo Goldberg focus on the potential for shared and interactive learning made possible by the Internet. They argue that the single most important characteristic of the Internet is its capacity for world-wide community and the limitless exchange of ideas. The Internet brings about a way of learning that is not new or revolutionary but is now the norm for today’s graduating high school and college classes.
Given the abundance of open education initiatives that aim to make educational assets freely available online, the time seems ripe to explore the potential of open education to transform the economics and ecology of education.
The number of African Americans and Latino/as receiving undergraduate and advanced degrees in computer science is disproportionately low, according to recent surveys. And relatively few African American and Latino/a high school students receive the kind of institutional encouragement, educational opportunities, and preparation needed for them to choose computer science as a field of study and profession.
New technology has brought with it new tools for learning, and research has shown that the educational potential of video games resonates with scholars, teachers, and students alike. In Augmented Learning, Eric Klopfer describes the largely untapped potential of mobile learning games—games played on such handheld devices as cell phones, Game Boys, and Sony PSPs—to make a substantial impact on learning.
Young people today have grown up living substantial portions of their lives online, seeking entertainment, social relationships, and a place to express themselves. It is clear that participation in online communities is important for many young people, but less clear how this translates into civic or political engagement. This volume examines the relationship of online action and real-world politics.
Today we have access to an almost inconceivably vast amount of information, from sources that are increasingly portable, accessible, and interactive. The Internet and the explosion of digital media content have made more information available from more sources to more people than at any other time in human history. This brings an infinite number of opportunities for learning, social connection, and entertainment. But at the same time, the origin of information, its quality, and its veracity are often difficult to assess.