Young peoples opinions of digital media

What patterns can be found in the interactive media activities and opinions of young people?

I’ve posted a few times that I see patterns in the way students use media in combination around gaming and their social activities. This isn’t all kids – and it’s really hard to know what percentage of kids we might be talking about.The patterns I see appear far more sophisticated and inter-connected than the ones they are using in school. I only have to look at my own kids to see this – but are they representative or an anomaly?

Some teachers are attempting use patterns they have found useful in personal learning networks towards classroom routines such as blogs, wikis and so on. The problem here is that no two people see or use the same patterns. In fact, the personal learning network is little different from a user-group apart from it’s lack of stable membership and tendency to homogonise itself into the same factions in the ‘real world’. The pattern here can be seen by holding regular #edchat (general) #mathschat (maths) #englishchat and so on. Once these patterns emerge, they seem to become region based #ukmathschat, #Ozmathschat and so on. The exception here is the USA, who generally believe the are the alpha-party so don’t bother calling it #usamathschat 🙂

Whilst the software and hardware teachers use in class have some commonality with their own out of class preferences and patterns, there are omissions and forced compromises, such as mobile phones, policed and determined by layers of policy makers at numerous creating non-uniform ‘break-points’.

Education favours a belief that what has been proven to be true is good (and can be improved upon), while everything unproven (unfamiliar) is highly suspicious and easily ignored. School improvement therefore generally approached as N+1 (where +1 is innovation). Innovation in this context is always an intransigent compromise. This leaves the classroom practitioner working in a filtered-intersection which is neither ‘traditional’ or ‘post-modern’. This has always troubled me, especially as popular thought-leaders on stages talk often show examples of the ‘untethered’ internet of things – to fuel their argument that these things are crucial manifestations which underpin their demands for academic, social and cultural reform in schools.

What I am interested in is looking at these patterns, to see if what is being cited as ‘essential’ in this intersection is actually representative of kids opinions. If you like, I choose to challenge the popular notion of the ‘net-generation’. It’s going to take some time to achieve this, as ideally I’d like to have a few thousand kids fill it in. What I don’t want is a convenient sample, drawn exclusively from ‘students’ but from ‘young people’ who are using technology.

Because there is no classification scheme, I’ve used an hierarchical agglomerative cluster from educator’s responding to #edchat. Of course this is my ‘opinion’ of what they we’re talking about from the analysis.

  1. networker
  2.  producer
  3. traditionalist
  4.  gamer

It would be fantastic if you would consider asking someone 8-16 to complete the survey, or asking your class to do so. I’ll publish what I find in the near future under creative commons license. For those willing to do it with a whole class, I’m happy to Skype into your class sometime and run an activity around these questions as a thanks. [timezone permitting]. Just email me if you do, I’m not telepathic.

I’m going to the UK for a month or so in a few weeks, and this survey will be online for a month from today. I’d love to hit 2000 plus respondents.


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