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Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project Paperback – Jun 5 2009

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About the Author

Mizuko Ito is a cultural anthropologist who studies new media use, particularly among young people, in Japan and the United States, and a Professor in Residence at the University of California Humanities Research Institute.

Becky Herr-Stephenson is a Research Fellow at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. Previously, she was a postdoctoral researcher with the Digital Media and Learning Hub at the University of California Humanities Research Institute.

Dan Perkel is a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley earning a degree in Information Management and Systems from the School of Information, with a Designated Emphasis in New Media from the Berkeley Center for New Media.

Christo Sims is a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley's School of Information and a researcher for the Digital Media and Learning Hub at the University of California Humanities Research Institute.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
An Interesting and Comprehensive Look at Learning with New Media Sept. 11 2010
By Dr. Bojan Tunguz - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Media revolutions in the past have always had a major impact on the society, be they television, radio, printing press, or just the invention of script. They had fundamentally reshaped the way that we learn and interact. The advent of the new digital media is just another stage in that progression, and almost every year these days there is a new gadget or a software product that fundamentally reshapes our modes of living and learning. The segment of society that is usually the first one to adapt to the new culture are the young as they tend to be the most open to the new experiences. However, despite some dire predictions of the negative impact of the new media on the breakdown of society, there has been very little empirical research that attempts to document what actual young people are doing online and how they are interacting with the new media. The aim of this report is to address many of these concerns. The report analyzes many case studies for which the fieldwork had been conducted between 2006 and 2007, spanning many different social and ethnic groups in the United States. This is primarily a qualitative study that provides us with some new insights and points in the direction for possible future work. The research method used can be described as ethnographic, i.e. it tries to figure out how technology and media are meaningful for people in their everyday life. This is a very appropriate way of conducting research in this particular area as the technologies and media are in a constant state of flux and categories that are relevant for this subject are continuously changing.

One of the more interesting aspects of this research is that the researchers have avoided categorizing their subjects along the overused categories of class, race and gender, but have instead focused more on "genres" of participation that can be very situation specific. For instance, each research subject can participate in several different genres and change his or her participation pattern depending on the medium that is used.

The variety of groups of young people who had been interviewed for this research is truly remarkable. The report gives us a good sense of the kinds of interactions and engagements that young people today are engaged in. The level of participation, however, varies depending on the skill level and the motivation that the participants bring along with them. At the basic level youth is using the new media to just hang out and socialize, and in this respect the online world is a very direct extension of the social interactions that are present in the "real" world. A qualitatively different form o engagement happens when young people start using the new sets of online tools that prompt them to engage in a more creative and original ways. The young people who create new content or even new products and services tend to be highly intelligent and motivated individuals, but other than that they come from all social and ethnic backgrounds.

Overall, this is a very interesting and informative report that ought to be read by parents, educators and all those who are interested in helping young people make the most of the new media.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Changing the Debate Oct. 4 2010
By Kevin L. Nenstiel - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It took a small army of authors, postdoc fellows, grad assistants, undergrad researchers, and associated contributors to discover that the generational influence of digital media is... um, not that different from other generational infuences in the past. Which is no small discovery. Twenty years of discourse on new media has been largely dominated by scare tactics and misplaced anger. Though this brief white paper leaves some questions unanswered, it will hopefully allay baseless fears and turn the discourse in more productive directions.

Our authors spent three years observing how youth utilize the new media, and they divide their findings into three broad areas. In the first, "hanging out," youth use tech to make and interact with friends. Parents may think this frivolous, but it allows subject specialization and geographic diffusion that make me downright jealous. The authors describe online role-players mustering groups of 150 to carry out massive organized attacks on fearsome monsters. Recalling my long-haired youth, when dragooning five fellow nerds for an ad hoc Dungeons & Dragons game required Kissinger-like diplomacy, I can't help thinking these kids have it posh.

The second area, "messing around," sees kids wanting to discover the possibilities of their technology for personnal improvement or self-education. You read that right: it sees kids WANTING to learn. Largely ignored in academic settings, this desire has nevertheless seen youth jumping off the rails of adult-guided schooling for a more peer-based and collaborative approach in which they learn recreational, practical, and even professional skills without grown-ups hanging around to grade and judge them.

The third area, "geeking out," sees youth delve aggressively into whatever field motivates their passion. Media content generation, fan culture, and code-crunching all get disparaged by parents as a waste of time, but they help youth create purpose-built peer communities in which all collaborate. Youth bond, build connections, and unify over their creations in ways people my age never could when we had to photocopy fan magazines for the two dozen friends who shared our obscure interests.

Our authors leave some questions unanswered. Are the skills youth learn in digital communities portable to real life, or will they remain online fan curiosities? When your community is scattered globally, what happens when you need real neighborliness? If youth educate themselves on a peer-to-peer basis, how do they avoid having to reinvent the wheel when they encounter questions they can't answer, but a adult might?

But if we read this study not as an answer to all questions, but as an attempt to repurpose the debate, it offers needed perspectives for parents and teacers. Like the Model T, television, or rock & roll, digital media has been subject to nasty snap opinions. But if we think rather than react, we can use the new opportunities to help youth rather than see them as merely circling the drain.
Five Stars July 25 2014
By OLUSESAN - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Best ever
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Really not that great March 12 2013
By Maria P Cordoba - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Really not that good of an ebook, but what did you expect for free on kindle?, I thought it would have more substance.