When I found out Dr. Katie Davis worked with Howard Gardner to coauthor a book, my curiosity and interest antenna perked up a bit. How many people do I get to meet that know Howard?
Her work focuses on the use of social media among the youth. Something many adults struggle with, and frankly, fear! Frequently I hear, read or see schools that ban or severely limit the use of social media on campus. The concern being we should shield our students from distractions and evil predators intent on doing harm.
Dr. Davis informs us that many teenagers use these social groups to connect on a variety of topics outside their regular social circle such as fan fiction. They now have a zillion more creative tools to express themselves and are able to reach out to a wider audience and connect with like minded individuals.
However, the lowering of barriers to communication is not always a bundle of roses. For example, photos and online social groups can magnify in a very public way who is in and who is out of various social groups.
One of my favorite moments is when Dr. Davis shuts down my conspiracy theory that all app developers want us to be more app dependent (addicted) and less app enabled. 😉
Lastly be on the look out for the moment she talks about how students are frustrated by how addicted their parents are to technology and how it sometimes has a negative impact on their relationships.
This interview was recorded live at the 7th annual 21st Century Learning Conference in Hong Kong.
Dr. Katie Davis is an Assistant Professor at The University of Washington Information School, where she studies the role of digital media technologies in adolescents’ academic, social, and moral lives. She also serves as an Advisory Board Member for MTV’s digital abuse campaign, A Thin Line. Katie is the co-author with Howard Gardner of The App Generation: How Today’s Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World (2013, Yale University Press).
The book represents a synthesis of the research Katie conducted with colleagues on the Developing Minds and Digital Media Project and the GoodPlay Project at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Drawing on interviews and surveys of young people, focus groups with the adults who work with them, and comparative analyses of youth’s artistic productions from 1990-2011, the book explores how today’s “digital youth” are different from the youth who grew up in a pre-digital era.
In addition to publishing and presenting her research in scholarly venues, Katie regularly shares her work with parents, teachers, and school administrators in an effort to build connections between educational research and practice.