Mimi Ito is a Professor in Residence at the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine, and serves as Research Director of the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub in the system-wide University of California Humanities Research Institute.
This past October, Ito spoke at the New School's biennial conference series, The Politics of Digital Culture. In her talk, "Learning with Social and Mobile Media: The Positive Potential of Peer Pressure and Messing Around Online", she examines the diversity of youth experience with new media and how it relates to questions of equity, access, and learning opportunities.
"We can debate outcomes of engagement all we want, but the thing that's really important, I think, to have on the public agenda is really the question of 'Who is getting access to the kinds of experiences that are productive and engaging, and who is not?' And what are the factors contributing to that?" (3:30)
"I think there's still a persistent perception among parents and teachers that activities like gaming and social media use are a waste of time and a distraction from learning, rather than something that is inherently a support for productive forms of learning." (6:25)
"It's often profoundly uncool to care deeply about something [...] kids have mechanisms for hiding these kinds of identities[...] Now, the online world suddenly offers an opportunity for kids to affiliate and connect with others who share these passionate interests in a way that's not bound by the social status hierarchies of high school." (12:46)
"Now what was extremely interesting about Clarissa that made her different from [...] almost all of the kids who we talked to as part of our study was she was able to take the work she did in the role-playing world and make it visible and consequential, in a positive way, to the adult-facing world." (15:33)
"We're doing work right now in trying to develop some alternative assessments, ways of thinking about dispositions, metacognitive capacities, preparation for future learning [...] that can really enable us to make an argument why it's not domain-specific knowledge that we should be looking at as much as an underlying disposition for learning and capacity for future learning that's the most important outcome." (22:27)
"Our theory of change, it's really centered on the fact that--in the best circumstances--new technology can really lower the barriers of access to connected learning experiences. That it can help really connect the dots between these diverse spheres of learning that young people navigate through in their everyday lives." (27:09)
Video Credit: MobilityShifts: An International Future of Learning Summit (mobilityshifts.org)