By Sonia Livingstone
Do today’s early life have extra possibilities than their mom and dad? As they construct their very own social and electronic networks, does that supply new routes to studying and friendship? How do they navigate the that means of schooling in a digitally attached yet fiercely aggressive, hugely individualized world?
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Extra resources for The Class: Living and Learning in the Digital Age
Over and again, our fieldwork pointed up the entrenched anxieties about the risks of inappropriate or uncontrolled connection. And over and again, further exploration revealed the strong institutional and commercial interests at stake in reproducing traditional conceptions of school and home. Reimagining young people’s futures not only is a larger social project but also remains a challenge for individuals and their families. At this scale, everything is too risky, and thus most young people find a safer pathway somewhere between the competitive individualism invited by commerce and the state and the conservative embrace of familiar values and expectations that, for many, home and community offers.
Throughout the day, we sat at the back of the classroom, and Catherine introduced us as each set of parents entered the room so that, once her interview with them was over, they could come to us to ask any questions. 1 Second, this was an opportunity to witness an important day in the life of the school. Indeed, the interviews could be seen as revealing how 41 42 | A Year of Fieldwork “school” was performed for the families. Progress Day also brought out some of the challenges faced by students, teachers, and parents as they all tried to make sense of the school experience from their personal perspectives.
What learner identities do they take up and sustain? What do families see as the point of education, and what do they want from schools? Are they creating connections—across people, sites, or interests—that enable particular visions of learning? And how do they respond to the intense competition around school attainment and performance? Peer Cultures On- and Offline Young teenagers often seem to their parents to be absorbed in life with their friends, in their bedrooms, online, or inside the world created by their headphones.