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

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Photo Credits: Ritchie Ly and Geert Allegaert.


Today we are commemorating a bittersweet day. A year ago today we lost our dear leader, Peter Lyman, to a heroic battle with cancer. It is hard to be believe that the time has passed so quickly, as he feels very much present to us all here in the digital youth team. It feels fitting to acknowledge this passing of time and the memory of Peter on a day that marks the ending of our shared project together, and the completion of our final report.

We have spent the past year working on a massive collaborative writing and analysis effort that has resulted in a book manuscript, dedicated to Peter, that we are tentatively entitling, Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media. We have just finished the full draft, in tandem with our official project end on June 30. We plan to do a pre-release on the Internet here on this web site in early fall.

The report/book has been co-written by 15 of us on this project, and also includes many contributors who provided materials that are included in this shared work. I think what we did in this writing is unique, at least for most ethnographic work, in that we analyzed across 22 different case studies conducted by 25 researchers. We organized our chapters around topics that cut across different case studies -- Media Ecologies, Friendship, Intimacy, Families, Gaming, Creative Production, and Work. Each chapter had one or more lead authors, but incorporated the insights and ethnographic materials from many more researchers on this project. This process was very much in the spirit of collaborative, interdisciplinary work that Peter set the tone for at the very start of this project.

We are all looking forward to the next phase of going public with our work, and continuing with our individual projects. I am starting a new project with the MacArthur Foundation and with David Goldberg at UC Irvine which will help me keep in touch with many members of this team as we all move onto new projects and institutions.

It has really been a privilege working with the digital youth team, and I know the conversations and relationships we've built will have lasting repercussions beyond the three years we have spent together. I'm proud of the work we have completed and see it as one of the many important legacies of Peter's time on this planet with us.

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