Kids' Informal Learning with Digital Media

About Digital Youth

"Kids' Informal Learning with Digital Media: An Ethnographic Investigation of Innovative Knowledge Cultures" is a three-year collaborative project funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Carried out by researchers at the University of Southern California and University of California, Berkeley, the digital youth project explores how kids use digital media in their everyday lives. Read more

Creative Commons License

The work on this site is licensed under a CC-BY-NC. If you share or re-use any work found on the site, please credit the original author and the Digital Youth Project and link back to the Digital Youth Project.

Photo Credits: Ritchie Ly and Geert Allegaert.


CJ Pascoe at the Commonwealth Club

Postdoctoral Scholar CJ Pascoe will be giving a talk entitled "Dude, You're a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in Adolescence" at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at 5:15pm. The event also marks the launch of her new book with University of California Press, Dude, You're a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in School.

Digital Youth at the Society for Applied Anthropology Meetings

The podcast from the "Dude, That's My Space" session at the SfAA meetings in Tampa Bay, Florida is now online! Speakers include Lisa Tripp, Heather Horst, Sarita Yardi and Patricia Lange. Lisa Tripp and Heather Horst focused on the prevalence and use of media in home environments. Lisa's presentation was entitled "Negotiating ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Media in the Home: Stories from Working-Class, Latino Immigrant Families in Los Angeles" and Heather's paper was entitled "Office Space: Kids and Home-work in Silicon Valley". Sarita Yardi and Patricia Lange's presentations attended to current and future technological practices. Sarita's presentation was entitled "The Evolution of the Turtle: Designing Social Networks for New Learning Communities" and Patricia's paper was "Commenting on Comments: Investigating Responses to Antagonism on YouTube".

To listen to the audio file of the session click here.

relationship performance in networked publics

Crushes, flirting, and dating are a key aspect of teens' lives. While these nascent relationships often end almost as quickly as they begin, they play a significant role in how teens see themselves and others. Because MySpace is a hangout space for teenagers, aspects of their flirtation with and dismissal of potential partners takes place on the site. Given the public nature of these expressions, we can get a glimpse into the trials and tribulations of teen love. Furthermore, we can examine how technology supports pre-existing practices while complicating other aspects of relationship management. Not all of what takes place is pretty - the language, norms, and attitudes of teens can be shocking to adults, but they are a very real component of teen communication. In this fieldnote, i document one example of how love and breakups appear online.

The First Annual Vloggies: Stories from the field

I found myself excitedly rushing to catch the First Annual Vloggie Award Ceremony held at the Swedish American Hall in the Castro district of San Francisco on November 4, 2006. After fighting through traffic and finally finding parking I found a seat in the already dark theater where the audience was assembled and ready for the ceremony to begin. A bank of cameras lined the back wall, and a giant screen adorned the front where the emcees for the evening—Irina Slutsky and Daniel McVicar—introduced the presenters of the awards.

Regent Park Television: Kids playing GTA

Tony Walsh’s wonderful blog Clickable Culture points us to the latest episode of Regent Park Television, which is simply unmissable for anybody interested in gamers, gaming communities, and videogames. Before you click the link, here’s some background info: according to Walsh, Regent Park is ‘one of Toronto’s most troubled inner-city neighborhoods’. Not too long ago, some of the residents started an interesting project called Regent Park Television, a video report of things happening in the neighborhood that are regularly uploaded on YouTube.

MacArthur Foundation Announcement on Digital Media and Learning

Yesterday in New York the MacArthur Foundation announced that they will be committing $50 million over the next five years to the field of digital media and learning. Our Digital Youth project was one of MacArthur’s exploratory grants in this area together with Henry Jenkins' New Media Literacy project at MIT. It’s very exciting to see the foundation making this commitment to ongoing support of this area. In addition to a growing number of domestic research grants in this initiative, the foundation will begin funding international research and will roll out a related book series. The MacArthur web site on this new initiative is here and the blog is here. The webcast from today's event is here. Danah has a summary of the panel discussion here.

What We've Learned So Far

The Digital Youth project began in 2003 with three questions about informal learning and digital media.

  • How is digital communication – the mobile phone and the Internet – changing the scale, scope and the dynamics of kids’ social worlds?
  • What new learning skills and knowledge practices are developing from the use of digital media – ranging from seeking information to the creation of new expressions of ideas? How are digital authoring tools enabling kids to create new kinds of cultural products?
  • What do kids think that they learn from games, and how do these skills transfer to other learning places like schools – if they do? What do kids learn from participation in gamer communities and communication?
  • What have we learned so far, half way through our ethnographic research project to explore these questions?

    Digital communication has two dimensions in our research: the uses of instant messaging (IM) in kids’ lives; and social networks creating and sustaining online communities.

Technological Prospecting in Rural Landscapes

Stories from the field here.

In Memory of Peter Lyman

Peter Lyman

Today we mourn the loss of Peter Lyman, our dear friend, generous colleague, and charismatic leader. He passed away peacefully early this morning at home in Berkeley, surrounded by his family, including two newborn grandchildren. Peter had been struggling with brain cancer for some time, though he was active, engaged and productive to his very last days. He is survived by his longtime spouse, Barrie Thorne, Professor of Gender and Women's Studies, and Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley; his two children, Andrew Thorne-Lyman, an expert on nutrition who works for the World Food Programme in Rome; and Abigail Thorne-Lyman, a city planner who works for Strategic Economics in Berkeley; and he's also survived by his two grandchildren.

In addition to being a principal investigator on this ongoing project, Peter leaves a legacy of influential work in library and information science. His project on How Much Information? continues to be widely cited. As Dean of Libraries at USC and University Librarian at Berkeley, Peter made lasting changes to the information infrastructures of the two schools that has been instrumental to bringing their libraries into the digital era. More information on Peter's publications and professional accomplishments can be found on Peter's wikipedia entry which we are currently editing.

Despite being famously modest and unassuming, Peter was a natural leader. As an undergraduate, he was student body president at Stanford. He was also a founder of James Madison College at Michigan State University where he held his first full professorship. But most of all, we will remember Peter for his warm collegiality, and his devotion to his students, friends, and family whom he prioritized above all else.

We will post information as it comes in about memorial services and ways to honor Peter's memory.

Harry Potter Fan interviews

We are looking for fans who are willing to be interviewed about their participation in the fandom.

If you are interested in being interviewed about your experiences in the Harry Potter fandom, please click here to email me.

Interviews usually take 1-2 hours and can be done over the phone, IM, or chat. Interviewees will be compensated with a $40 gift certificate to an online vendor of their choice. There is no obligation to participate.

For more information on this research project, please click here.