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.

Field Stories

Field Stories are short, descriptive summaries of interesting case studies and events that emerged over the three years of research. Different researchers on the project created these stories to communicate aspects our research to a broad audience.

  • danah boyd | Friday, March 16, 2007 - 05:06

    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.

  • Sonja Baumer | Friday, February 2, 2007 - 02:29

    In my daily of observations of YouTube activities I noticed a rather strong presence of texts produced by so-called Main Stream Media (MSM), mainly TV. This feature seems to be quite prominent especially on ”the most viewed” page and contradicts some predictions that were made during the big YouTube ascend (i.e., Summer/ Fall 2006.). During that period both MSM journalists and some bloggers have suggested that YouTube would displace or even replace MSM. That was the time when CNN and BBC started to show user-generated videos during their regular news broadcasts.

  • CJ Pascoe | Friday, January 12, 2007 - 22:31

    As I read the New York Times this morning, an article about teenagers' use of public libraries as "hangout" spots caught my eye. In it experts bemoaned the growing lack of "third places," in other words, places which weren't home or school, where teens could engage in a time honored tradition of American adolescence, "hanging out." Indeed as we perceive that our streets grow more dangerous, as suburban family life increasingly takes place in atomized homes, and the amount of public spaces decline, public or quasi-public places where youth can socialize appear infrequently.

  • Becky Herr | Saturday, December 23, 2006 - 03:21

    My introduction to the world of Harry Potter podcasts came this past July when I attended Lumos 2006 in Las Vegas. Throughout my first day at the conference, I noticed a growing group of attendees milling around the foyer of the conference hall with looks of desperation on their faces.

  • Matteo Bittanti | Sunday, November 19, 2006 - 04:50

    I guess we all know, more or less, what a “story” is. But what do we mean, exactly, by “field”? provides more than 40 definitions for this term. In sports, for example, “field” is “the area in which field events are held, the playing field”. A field is also defined as “a sphere of activity, interest, especially within a particular business of profession”. In military jargon, a field is a synonymous for “battleground”. In ethnographic studies, “to be in the field” means “being in contact with a prime source of basic data”.

  • Christo Sims | Wednesday, November 1, 2006 - 23:55

    In many ways, Lynn Milvert's use of digital media resembles that of an stereotypical 15 year old girl growing up in suburban America. She spends hours each day in her music-filled room, multitasking between social networking sites, multiple instant messaging applications, and maybe even a little homework. But Lynn is not a suburban girl--Lynn lives in the upper foothills of California’s Sierra-Nevada mountain range where she has been home schooled since 6th grade, largely with a group of other kids from her church.

  • Katynka Martinez | Friday, September 15, 2006 - 23:57

    Why on earth would kids that play Grand Theft Auto, Fifa Soccer, and Counter Strike be at all interested in Pacman? The 1980s arcade game is pretty simple, does not involve serious acts of violence, and does not feature any scantily clad women. It features no humans for that matter. And the story line – chomping on pellets and the occasional fruit while running away from ghosts – does not necessarily resonate with a high school boy’s grandiose dreams of becoming a professional athlete or skilled marksman.