Monday, September 18, 2006

Kids' Informal Learning with Digital Media

Joi Ito points us to his sister, Mimi Ito, who is doing some research on Kids' Informal Learning with Digital Media.
"Although computers are now fixtures in most schools and many homes, there is a growing recognition that kids' passion for digital media has been ignited more by peer group sociability and play than academic learning. This gap between in-school and out-of-school experience represents a gap in children's engagement in learning, a gap in our research and understandings, and a missed opportunity to reenergize public education. This project works to address this gap with a targeted set of ethnographic investigations into three emergent modes of informal learning that young people are practicing using new media technologies: communication, learning, and play.
  1. Communication. The mobile phone and the Internet are changing the scale, scope and dynamics of kids' social worlds. Kids use these new social networks to build identity and reputation, to share ideas and solve problems. Might these tools and practices be adapted to promote learning?
  2. Learning and Knowledge. New technologies for the expression of the imagination - such as blogs, wikis, web communities, multimedia films and fan fiction - are changing the way kids produce knowledge, publish their works, and build their own learning communities. What can we learn from kids about the future of learning and knowledge? How can we link kids' conceptions of learning and knowledge to those of education?
  3. Play. While we are interested in the power of interactive games to capture kids' attention, our primary focus is upon play and gaming, the social activities in which kids teach each other how to play, gain prestige and build fan communities, learn how to interpret new media, and to design and build their own games. Might the social dimension of gaming and play be linked to learning experiences?"
What a fantastic find on a monday morning. Their findings will being interesting. I could quote the entire web site but just go there and check it out. The Research Areas is a good section.

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