Not all "screen time" is created equal

The debates about screen time and kids are really confused: the studies have contradictory findings, and the ones that find negative outcomes in kids who spend a lot of time on their screens struggle to figure out the cause-and-effect relationship (are depressed kids using screens more because that's how they get help, or do kids become depressed if they use their screen a lot?).

When it comes to learning computers, play is seriously important

Game on? Or game over? [PDF], a brief research report from the U Washington Information School, summarizes some of the findings from the TASCHA report on computer skills acquisition. This particular explainer deals with the relationship between playing games and goofing off on computers and learning to do "productive" things with them, finding (as Mimi Ito did, before) that horsing around is a critical component of mastering computers, and that labs that ban games and other forms of playful engagement with computers are hampering their ability to teach the people they're supposed to be serving.

Must-read report on maker-driven education

Mimi sez,

A new research report released by the Connected Learning Research Network is a call for educators, parents, youth, media-makers, geeks, creatives and intellectuals everywhere to work together to make the learning riches of the online world accessible to everyone.

Read the rest

The cool new thing with tweens? Sewing.

Fourteen-year-old Luna Ito-Fisher started making her own clothes and accessories when she was nine, after attending a friend's birthday party at a sewing studio in LA.

"I remember at the beginning, threading was so hard and I could never get it through the needle," Luna tells me as she sets up her machine on her family's dining room table. — Read the rest

DIY Video festival at UCLA and Kansas State

Mimi Ito sez,

The State of the Art of DIY Video is a feature-length program of the best from the world of do-it-yourself video. The screening will feature the latest in online, geek, remix, and fan culture, curated to highlight the most recent trends and techniques emerging from anime music videos, political remixes, fan vids, videoblogs, and the YouTube scene.

Read the rest

New Digital Media and Learning research hub

Mimi Ito sez, "We've just announced a new research hub and web site for the field of digital media and learning, funded by a $2.97 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation. This is a key component of a broader $85 million effort on the part of the foundation to mobilize digital media and online networks to transform learning. — Read the rest

danah boyd's PhD thesis: Teen sociality online

Dr danah boyd's newly-minted PhD from UC Berkeley was awarded based on her fantastic thesis project, "Taken Out of Context: American Teen Sociality in Networked Publics." danah's ground-breaking research on how kids (especially marginal kids) use the Internet has been featured here a lot — she was one of the contributors to Mimi Ito's gigantic Digital Youth Project, and the attorneys general's report on the relative absence of pedophiles online. — Read the rest

Digital Youth Project: If you care about kids and want to understand how they use technology and why, this is a must-read

The Digital Youth Project, a MacArthur-funded three year, 22 case study, $3.3 million ethnographic study of what kids are doing online, has wound up and published its results. The project was undertaken by the eminent sociologist Mimi Ito and her talented colleagues (including the incomparable danah boyd) and is the largest and most comprehensive study of young peoples' internet use ever undertaken in the US. — Read the rest

John Poisson on the purpose of cameraphones

For, I interviewed John Poisson, former head of Sony's mobile media research and design groups. Poisson is now focused on how cameraphones could revolutionize photography and communication — if people would only start using them more. He and human-computer interaction researchers Chris Beckmann and Scott Lederer are developing cameraphone software and services they hope will get the world snapping and sharing. — Read the rest

How cellphones change teenagers

Sociologist Mimi Ito has just published a great paper on the way that mobile phones change teen social interaction on Vodafone's Receiver magazine:

After young people have converged in physical space, mobile communication does not necessarily end. In contrast to work meetings in which mobile communications are largely excluded, among gatherings of young people, the mobile phone is a social accessory.

Read the rest