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White Papers

Digital-Mediated Experiences of Next Generation Youth:
Recommendations for Future Incubation
By Sherry Hsi, 2005
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About Digital Learning and Play

Digital-Mediated Learning of Next Generation Youth
Sherry Hsi, Principal Investigator
A project funded by
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
April 2004—November 2005

Digital technologies currently pervade the lives of youth across formal and informal learning spaces. Future generations of learners will represent a broader range of demographics, learner profiles, media consumption patterns, individual needs, and expectations. How do we create contexts, tools, and infrastructures that will enable new digital learning experiences that are culturally sensitive, gender equitable, educationally rich, and fun, while also preparing youth for their adult lives?

The planning grant has supported a series of meetings and activities held at the Exploratorium that mapped the territory of digital kids and identified opportunities to advance an integrated and interdisciplinary approach to digital learning, including the following: (1) convening experts from a variety of fields related to digital learning; (2) conducting full literature reviews on digital media, learning, and development; and (3) writing white papers that explore digital media, youths’ online activities, and the research and development methodologies of the commercial game and technology industries. Papers also speculate about opportunities for marshalling such approaches for learning and for shaping the impact of emerging technologies on education.

The outcomes of this project are articulated in the collection of white papers available on this site, critical insights for fostering research on digital kids, and seeds for two additional research projects: (1) an ethnographic investigation of youths’ informal learning with digital media[], and (2) research on new media literacy []. These activities lay the foundation for much needed research and development on digital-mediated experiences and provide an agenda for creating activities and tools for deeper engagement, content learning, critical thinking, and strategies to integrate those activities into educational practice to the benefit of vast numbers of learners of tomorrow.


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