C. Shoemaker, H. Martin, B. Joseph (2010) How Using Social Media Forced a Library to Work on the Edge in Their
Efforts to Move Youth From “Hanging Out” to “Messing Around, Journal of Media Literacy Education 2:2 (2010) 181 – 184
In 2009, Mimi Ito released Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out: Living and Learning with New Media, a book composed of 23 related studies. These ethnographic studies interrogated how learning is being experienced by teens via informal uses of digital media. The title refers to the framework around how youth learn through digital media and networked spaces, a kind of learning that is quite often invisible to adults who often confuse it with playing, wasting time or, at worst, as undermining youth’s ethical values and social competencies. This collection of studies, however, finds that these three different modes of participation with digital media, in fact, support the development of a wide range of new media literacies. This is the challenge offered by Ito and the one recently taken up by the New York Public Library. This worked example is not designed to report the successes or failure of this pilot project. Rather, it is intended to explore and take a critical look at the obstacles encountered along the way and discuss how they were negotiated. Finally, it will leverage Ito’s framework to provide context to understand what it means to use digital media for learning and how to apply these lessons learned, both for this organization and others.
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