Digital Generation Theme: Collaborating
Today's youth can actively collaborate in many new ways in the digital, virtual world, an environment parallel to the traditional one of face-to-face interaction. As media and pop-culture scholar Henry Jenkins says, this generation is "growing up connecting online with kids from all parts of the planet being able to connect and collaborate with people who they don't see face to face takes on new importance in a network society."
They can present their ideas and products to a large online community and get immediate feedback. They can be in constant contact with dozens of their friends and participate in multiplayer games online. They can form new friendships with other youth, in the same city or in another country, and can engage in online group work with others. And they can find adult experts and mentors to support their interests. As 13-year-old Dylan puts it, "It's a fun experience. I think it's pretty amazing to be able to have a conversation with people from other countries that easily."
And as they collaborate in a hyperconnected world, cultural anthropologist Mimi Ito says, kids "are becoming very fluent in online communication, the use of digital media, posting, linking, forwarding, remixing media. This is just what they pick up as part of being a participant in peer culture, and that's what's very different."
- Social networks (MySpace, Facebook, Ning, Twitter)
- Instant messaging and SMS (AOL Instant Messenger, Google Talk)
- Collaborative workspaces (Wikispaces, Google Docs)
- Videoconferencing and audio conferencing (Skype, Apple's iChat)
- Multiplayer games (World of Warcraft, Runescape)
- Game consoles (Microsoft's Xbox, Nintendo's Wii)