Childhood in a digital age: creative challenges for educational futures
The early twenty-first century is characterised by rapid change. Commentators note how permeating digital technologies engage increasing numbers of children, young people and adults as consumers and also producers. In the shifting technological landscape, childhood and youth are changing. Connectivity around the clock, with a parallel existence in virtual space, is seamlessly integrated with actual lives. Young people are skilful collaborators, navigating digital gaming and social networking with ease, capably generating and manipulating content, experimenting virtually with versions of their 'social face'. They are implicit, inherent and immersed consumers. They are digital possibility thinkers posing 'what if?' questions and engaging in 'as if' activity. This paper seeks to theorise such possibility thinking in a digital, marketised age, using two competing discourses: young people as vulnerable and at risk; or alternatively as capable and potent. The former perspective imbues anxiety about the digital revolution; the latter embraces it as exciting and enabling. As education providers seek to re-imagine themselves, neither is sufficient. Local and global challenges urgently demand our creative potential and wisdom. Drawing from work with schools, the paper argues for co-creating with students their education futures through dialogue to nurture the 4 Ps: plurality, playfulness, participation and possibilities.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2012-07-01
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- London Review of Education (LRE) is an international peer-reviewed journal featuring rigorous, theoretically based research into contemporary education. Based at the UCL Institute of Education in London, the journal reflects the Institute's broad interests in all types of education in all contexts - local, national, global - and its commitment to analysis across disciplines using a variety of methodologies. It shares the Institute's aspiration to interrogate links between research, policy and practice, and its principled concern for social justice.
Drawing on these strengths, LRE is an eclectic and engaging journal that features analysis across key themes in education, including: public goals and policies; pedagogy; curriculum; organization; resources and technology; and institutional effectiveness. Its articles and book reviews are written by experts in education, psychology, sociology, policy studies, philosophy, and other disciplines contributing to education research, and by experienced researcher-practitioners working in the field.
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