On October 16-17, 2014, over 80 leaders on digital youth from research, practice, policy, and industry gathered to share ideas, brainstorm research questions, and confront obstacles in the work of studying and learning from digital youth.
This invitation-only event, hosted by the Information School at the University of Washington, was sponsored by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, with additional support from Facebook, the King County Library System, Microsoft Research, and the Seattle Public Library.
The event had a number of featured speakers, as well as a youth panel and six breakout sessions in different focus areas.
Mike Eisenberg, Dean Emeritus and Professor, University of Washington Information School and J. Elizabeth Mills, PhD candidate, University of Washington Information School
It’s not easy growing up in an increasingly digital environment that is constantly changing, and it’s crucial that scholars and practitioners study and reflect the nature and scope of digital advances and impacts on children in order to provide better learning opportunities and support services for learning and living.
Mike Eisenberg set the tone for the Think Tank in his keynote address that used Eliza T. Dresang’s “Radical Change” work and how it applies to the changing boundaries, perspectives, and formats in regards to youth and technology. Dr. Eisenberg and J. Elizabeth Mills also discussed the themes and questions from a series of pre-interviews conducted over the summer with a majority of the invited participants.
moderated by Lassana Magassa, PhD candidate, University of Washington Information School and Jeff Tillinghast, Director of Academic Technology and Introduction to Digital Media Teacher, University Prep
What better way to start a conference about digital youth than by hearing directly from young people themselves? The youth panel featured eight Seattle-area high school students representing diverse socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds, who reflected on how they use digital media in various aspects of their lives.
The teens’ responses surfaced several issues related to their use of technology, including:
- The inherently social nature of teens’ media use
- Pressure and anxiety associated with constant connectivity
- The unwritten rules of social media
- Strategies for limiting media use
- Cyberbullying and ‘drama’
- Technology in schools
The youth panel proved an effective way to ground subsequent discussions in the actual experiences and opinions of young people with complex and nuanced relationships with technology. Such insights are crucial for practitioners, researchers, and policymakers to have if they are going to succeed at leveraging new media technologies to support learning and development.
At the event, attendees broke out into small groups by six focus areas, each featuring a speaker who is a leader in the field.