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children civic engagement

October 20, 2016

Topic: Features

Children’s civic engagement

The Scratch online community addresses children’s civic engagement. Children and youth are provided a space to program, share, and discuss interactive media projects. A project by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, members have shared over 16.3 million projects and 87.4 million project comments.

In ‘Children’s Civic Engagement in the Scratch Online Community’, published in Social Sciences, Ricarose Roque, Sayamindu Dasgupta, and Sasha Costanza-Chock present an inquiry into how young Scratch community members aged between 8 and 16 years engage with global, local, and community governance issues. They offer a typology of the strategies used by members for self-expression, peer engagement, and calls to action.

The research suggests guidelines for designers and educators that encourage youth to connect to topics with personal meaning, and enable them with familiar tools and practices. It also identifies facilitation as crucial to support youth participation, and community ownership as a pathway to genuine civic action. The authors recommend structures that help members engage in traditional civic practices, to bridge the gap between the models of dutiful citizenship and actualizing citizenship.    

Ricarose Roque, Assistant Professor in Information Science at the College of Media, Communication and Information, University of Colorado (Boulder), leads the Family Creative Learning project. Sayamindu Dasgupta is a postdoctoral associate at the MIT Media Lab. Sasha Costanza-Chock is Associate Professor of Civic Media in the Comparative Media Studies/Writing Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of Out of the Shadows, Into the Streets! Transmedia Organizing and the Immigrant Rights Movement.  


Twitter: Ricarose Roque: @ricaroseSayamindu Dasgupta: @sayaminduSasha Costanza-Chock: @schockThe Scratch Team @scratchteam

Photo: ITU Pictures/Flickr/cc

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