What's the point of using computers? The development of young people's computer expertise in the home
Sage Publications Ltd.
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This article was developed from an ESRC funded research project (1998-2000) entitled 'ScreenPlay' conducted by researchers from Bristol, Cardiff and University of Wales Newport universities. There has been relatively little research on how young people make sense of 'the computer'. For those who have it, how does it come to be part of the everyday life of the home and what use do young people think it offers in relation to future opportunities and careers. This article draws on a survey of 855 children and 16 detailed case studies of their use of computer in the home and suggests that we need to understand the diversity of learning practices (formal and informal) which young people are engaged in relation to ICT if technologies like the computer are to become technologies offering social inclusion in the workplace rather than social exclusion. This work has therefore influenced those working in research on human-computer interaction in particular exploring a more ‘multi-modal’ approach to acquiring knowledge, for example through diverse semiotic systems such as image, sound, gesture and the body. The work inspired, for example, a paper presented to the IFIP Conference, Manchester July 2002 'Beyond Language: exploring the potential of multi-modal research' by Keri Facer, Futurelab (IFIP is the International Federation for Information Processing, an umbrella organisation for research in information technology). The work has also influenced those working in Youth and Adult Development Programmes exploring how life-chances of disadvantaged and low income groups might be enhanced through the creative use of the computer for example (Bridging the Digital Divide: An Evaluation of a Train-the Trainer, Community Computer Education Program for Low-Income Youth and Adults, Journal of Extension June 2006 Volume 44 No. 3 Article Number 3FEA2, University of Connecticut.)
New Media and Society
New Media and Society, 3 (2), pp.199-219
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