Welcome to the Digital Generation Project. Edutopia's in-depth coverage of students from around the country reveals how young people are using new media to learn, communicate, and socialize in new and exciting ways.
Today's kids are born into a media-rich, networked world of infinite possibilities.
Credit: Chris Walsh
Parents live with it. Teachers see it daily. You can't observe young people and not notice how smoothly and seamlessly they dive into new Web 2.0 communication technologies. With a flick of the cell phone, they share more texts, photos, music, and video than any other demographic group on Earth.
A decade ago, kids led the charge to Napster and IM and then to MySpace, Facebook, and Flickr. Now, they're on to Flip, Twitter, and Wii. Youth are encamped at the farthest outpost of digital technology -- and you can be sure they'll be on to the next cool thing quicker than you can say "Guitar Hero World Tour."
Where does that leave us not-quite-young folks? Some of us grouse about the bewildering circus of gadgets, games, and groups intruding on our social circles. Others long to join in the fun -- if only someone would show us how. Either way, the teachers, moms, and dads among us find ourselves on the outside peering into a world we neither know nor understand. Too often, we draw conclusions that miss the point -- and the promise -- of what these new communication tools offer.
Sound familiar? Perhaps it's time for all of us to explore the Web 2.0 frontier. Throughout this site, you'll meet unique kids who will show you how they've mastered digital tools. They'll show you how they create, collaborate, and teach in ways that kids before them could scarcely imagine.
As you watch and listen, you'll learn, too. If you're an educator, you'll understand how digital tools are changing the classroom. You'll find practical ideas on how to leverage the unique skills of this generation. If you're a parent, you'll access ideas and resources about how to support, protect, and better guide our children as we all continue to explore the digital age.
Have fun, and don't forget to email, text, or tweet (@EdutopiaDG). We're all on this journey together.