This is the second plenary session with Connie Yowell discussed the MacArthur Foundation's $50 million digital media and learning initiative. This was a five year look at how digital technologies are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize and participate in civic life.
Typically, children list video game or PC activities as their most popular activities. She demonstrates the great number of variables children need to manipulate to play Pokeman. Showed a video of kids playing Pokeman together, and their activities they do around Pokeman - blogs, web searching, comics, and fan fiction.
97% of kids play video games
60% of teens use a computer
72% use instant messaging
50% have created media content
33% have shared content via the internet
5000 hours of observation
Types of participation
1. Friendship driven participation
2. Interest driven participation
These interactions are the same as "real life" interactions. It is not a place for adults. It is not a place for strangers. Young people do not interact with strangers in social networking.
Interest driven networks are highly social. The worries about these interactions being socially isolating is incorrect. Social interactions tend to be very individual based. They tend to be very participatory and productive. They use these networks to create content. The networks are peer based. This is where adults and strangers interact with young people, because of a similar based interest. These networks have converging media, so TV works with PC works with books, not competing. For the young people it is about the content, not the technology. So they are following their interests across different media. The learning is networked.
Learning is happing outside of school. School becomes another node in their learning, not the primary node. Rich array of learning opportunities, with low barriers to participation and production.
Some of the pitfalls are around developing expertise in areas that are harmful, there are strong commercial influence. There is a concern that there will be a different set of skills with each kid, worse than the digital divide, as the set of skills needed are growing. There is also a fragmented experiences, not every kid has the same set of experiences, creating different behaviors. Each experience stands on its own, and there is not a strong interrelation between one experience or the next.
Four core skills in detail out of eleven identified for the future, over and above traditional literacy
Performance - the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery. People will need to be able to adopt roles to explore and understand environments instead of the traditional positioning.
Appropriation: the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content. Otherwise known as plagiarism or piracy. Think instead of the way Shakespeare reused or remixed classic tales in new ways with his plays. Digital media makes this easier.
Collective intelligence: ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal. Everyone knows something, but no one knows everything. This is about the ability to tap the community at the right time, and to get answers from everyone.
Transmedia Navigation: the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modality and different forms of media.
How do people pick up these skills, especially as schools ban the use of these skills?
Places to stay up to date on this work and the findings: