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.

The Gamer and the Tinkerer Plan Out a Future with Computers

I spent one semester conducting participant observations with kids in a computer club at an urban high school in Los Angeles. All of the kids in the class are male and their racial/ethnic background reflects the demographics of the school. The club includes Armenian, Filipino, Latino, and African American students. The boys come in to the computer lab everyday during lunchtime and even during their 17-minute nutrition break. They play games on computers that they have networked to each other, view anime on their laptops, and sometimes actually eat their lunch too.

UC Berkeley Memorial for Peter Lyman to be held on September 11th, 2007

A UC Berkeley campus memorial to honor Peter Lyman, former University Librarian and Professor in the Information School, will take place between 5 and 7 pm on Tuesday, September 11, at the Morrison Room in Doe Library.

Peter Lyman died of brain cancer, peacefully and at home, on July 2. Those wanting to honor his memory are invited to contribute to the newly established Peter Lyman Graduate Fellowship in New Media; checks addressed to the UC Berkeley Foundation can be sent to the UC Center for New Media, 390 Wurster Hall, # 1066, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720.

Macarthur Spotlight Blog

We are pleased to announce that the Digital Youth project is currently featured on the Macarthur Spotlight Blog . Project members will be blogging about our research projects and preliminary findings throughout the month of August.

Coming of Age in Networked Public Culture: Stories from the Field

In talking to families in Silicon Valley about their use of media and technology, I often hear stories about how different the experience of being a teenager is today.

Technological Prospecting in Rural Landscapes

About an hour's drive east of Sacramento, the Great Central Valley of California meets the Sierra-Nevada mountain range. The valley's end loosely bounds the suburbs of the greater Sacramento metropolitan area. As roads and rivers climb into the mountains, towns become considerably smaller and more dispersed, trees shift from oaks to pines, the temperature quickly drops. Roughly 150 years ago, this area was one of the epicenters of the California Gold Rush. The historic use of hydraulic mining technology still marks some hills – ashen ruptures in otherwise pine-green panoramas.

Digital Youth at the International Communication Association Meetings in San Francisco

Members of the Digital Youth project will be presenting their work May 26th, 27th and 28th at the International Communication Association International Communication Association conference in San Francisco. Digital Youth member sessions include:

Kids as Cultural Producers: Ethnographic Investigations of Kids’ Informal Learning Through Engagement With Popular Culture
Kids as Cultural Producers: Ethnographic Investigations of Kids and Digital Media in Urban California Schools
The Rise of Remix Culture: Identity, Power and Imagination

Immediate Gratification vs. Immediate Experience with Digital Music - Stories from the Field

One common characterization or myth of young people, in particular young people of color, is that they seek out and desire immediate gratification. This prejudice is applicable to the sphere of youth popular music listening and creation. Music listening in general is understood as an indulgence and an escape[1]. To immediately gratify oneself is to indulge oneself in something without reflection on its consequences for self and others. Escape or escapism is an elementary form of bad faith because it implies that one shirks their responsibilities and rejects the world and its demands on us. If instead we approach music as a way to cope with the world rather than reject or ‘escape’ the world, we may be able to move away from the belief that music is only an unessential leisure activity that must be curbed in favor of more productive tasks like reading, writing or literacy in general.

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.

Creativity and gaps in participation: Stories from the Field

Michael and James. Two teenage boys in the Bay Area, James from a poor area of San Francisco, Michael from a wealthier home in Oakland. Each uses the Interent and other digital technologies as a part of their social lives and their interest in art and technology. Like most of their friends, each has a MySpace profile, though their use of the site differs dramatically and can only be understood in light of their other hobbies. Their differing levels of access to social and technical resources is in line with what some call a “participation gap,” but as I describe in detail below, this might run the risk of, at best, an over-simplification of their digitally-enhanced creative interests, and at worst, a privileging of the value of one of the boy’s interests and activities over the other’s.