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Posts tagged ‘research’


Valuing Both Friendship-driven and Interest-driven Spaces

In 2008, a study was released by the MacArthur Foundation exploring the uses of digital media by youth. The study, published in the book Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out, is important because it is the first to examine in detail the social and recreational uses of technology by youth.

The findings define two domains that account for youths’ participation in media:

  • Friendship-driven – hanging out behavior – participating in MySpace, Facebook, text messaging and IM
  • Interest-driven – messing around and geeking out behavior – creating YouTube videos, remixing video, creating podcasts and writing fan fiction

Additionally, findings indicate the majority of youth are more engaged in friendship-driven than in interest-driven use of media. However, both are sites of learning. Youth learn important social behaviors in the digital world while engaging in friendship-driven activities. Interest-driven activities allow youth to engage in content creation, and the development of specialized interests, technical literacy and media literacy. Both domains emphasize the importance of socialization and content creation, two activities that take on new meaning when digital technology enters the picture.

As educators and parents, our challenge is to provide the greatest opportunities for our children to engage and learn in both domains. We need to engage our children in conversations about privacy and identity in the friendship-driven domain. We also need to engage our children in opportunities to create new content in the geeking out spaces to foster the understanding of content, the value of civic engagement and the importance of following ones passions.  How involved are schools and parents in engaging children in both the friendship-driven and the interest-driven domains?

In the video below, Mimi Ito, the lead researcher in the Hanging Out… study asks two interesting questions:

  • Why do we assume that kids’ socializing and play is not a site of learning?
  • Why do we assume that schools cannot have a spirit of entertainment and play as part of what they’re doing?

Are there connections between the goals of TL2014 and the friendship-driven and interest-driven domains? While we are still in the early stages of the initiative, what can we do better in school to engage students more effectively in the two domains? What can we do better to help parents productively manage after-school time on the laptop computers? Please leave your comments!

The TL2014 initiative accelerates the process of providing our students with the knowledge and skills necessary for post-secondary success – the work force or higher education – in the 21st century. TL2014 has as its stated goals:

  • Increased learning opportunities for the development of critical 21st century skills: critical thinking and problem solving, effective oral and written communication, collaboration, creativity and curiosity, adaptability, organization, initiative and entrepreneurialism.
  • Increased opportunities for student engagement in a dynamic, technology-rich learning environment.
  • Increased opportunities for project-based and challenge-based learning, mirroring real-world work force and higher education environments.
  • Increased opportunities for differentiation and individualized instruction through the use of technology.
  • Increased opportunities for reading and writing in new formats and modes common in the 21st century.

Additional material about the Hanging Out… study is available on the Digital Youth website. The entire book, Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out, is available for free online in PDF format.


K-12 Horizon Report

Each year, the New Media Consortium (NMC) publishes research – Horizon Report  20011 K-12 Edition – identifying key technology trends, critical challenges and emerging technologies facing K-12 education for the next five years. Reports such as these help guide our work as we implement a vision of education for the 21st century.

Key Trends

  • The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our role as educators.
  • As IT support becomes more and more decentralized, the technologies we use are increasingly based not on school servers, but in the cloud.
  • Technology continues to profoundly affect the way we work, collaborate, communicate and succeed.
  • People expect to be able to work, learn and study whenever and wherever they want to.
  • The perceived value of innovation and creativity is increasing.

Critical Challenges

  • Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession.
  • Economic pressures and new models of education are presenting unprecedented competition to traditional models of schools.
  • The demand for personalized learning is not adequately supported by current technology or practices.
  • A key challenge is the fundamental structure of the K-12 education establishment – aka “the system.”

Technologies to Watch

  • Near-term Horizon (1 year) – Cloud Computing and Mobiles
  • Second Adoption Horizon (2-3 years) – Game-based Learning and Open Content
  • Far-term Horizon (4-5 years) – Learning Analytics and Personal Learning Environments

To learn more about these technologies, you can watch a series of videos describing each of these technologies in further detail. As TL2014 begins to unfold, we will need to learn more about these technologies. Our challenge will be to develop new applications of these technologies in the classroom in the context of the trends and challenges outlined in the document. Salisbury has an exciting future ahead!