Many teens today who use the Internet are actively involved in
participatory cultures -- joining online communities (Facebook,
message boards, game clans), producing creative work in new forms
(digital sampling, modding, fan videomaking, fan fiction), working
in teams to complete tasks and develop new knowledge (as in
Wikipedia), and shaping the flow of media (as in blogging or
podcasting). A growing body of scholarship suggests potential
benefits of these activities, including opportunities for
peer-to-peer learning, development of skills useful in the modern
workplace, and a more empowered conception of citizenship. Some
argue that young people pick up these key skills and competencies
on their own by interacting with popular culture; but the problems
of unequal access, lack of media transparency, and the breakdown of
traditional forms of socialization and professional training
suggest a role for policy and pedagogical intervention.This report
aims to shift the conversation about the "digital divide" from
questions about access to technology to questions about access to
opportunities for involvement in participatory culture and how to
provide all young people with the chance to develop the cultural
competencies and social skills needed. Fostering these skills, the
authors argue, requires a systemic approach to media education;
schools, afterschool programs, and parents all have distinctive
roles to play.The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Reports on Digital Media and Learning
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