Digital Media and Technology in Youth-Serving Organizations Working Group

Principal Investigators:
Diana Rhoten and Becky Herr Stephenson

Our team investigated academic and practitioner literature related to digital media and technology integration and use in afterschool programs and youth services at libraries and museums. The literature review investigates the ways in which institutions and organizations contribute to notions of childhood, learning, and future participation. We link the current offerings of youth-serving organizations to the history of progressivism in the United States in order to frame our discussion of digital media and technology not as a radical break from the work of such organizations, but an extension of the work to which they have been committed for more than a century. We investigate opportunities as well as challenges presented by digital media and technology and work to move beyond descriptions of niche activities of exceptional children to demonstrate the diversity of approaches and outcomes related to digital media and technology in youth-serving organizations. The paper concludes with a discussion of youth-serving organizations as nodes of young peoples’ learning ecologies and recommendations for future empirical and theoretical work.