Tweens and their in-betweens: Giving voice to young people when exploring emerging information practices associated with smart devices

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Information Research, 2013, 18 (1)
Issue Date:
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Introduction. Rising access to and use of mobile devices by children and young people makes it critical to study real-life contexts of their emerging information practices. In sharing lessons learnt from an Australian project actively involving children as partners in research exploring their mobile phone usage, this paper discusses why adopting value-sensitive participatory approaches can help meet some of the challenges faced when trying to understand (and regulate) the mediated engagements of young people. Method. As part of the project 1,389 young people from Years 6 and 9 were surveyed from within schools in one state. Following the survey, focus groups were conducted with survey participants. A research advisory group was also chosen from this population. Findings. As smart devices continue to find their way into the classrooms and curriculum, the school library will have to adapt and respond to the intertwining practices of social and academic, information and communication in order to stay relevant. Riskand intertwinglingare presented as two prevailing concepts that might inform future investigations into the information practices of young people in the dynamic contexts of their mobile mediated ecologies. Conclusions. The participatory research methods used in the project can provide rich contextual understanding of the everyday, everywhere presence of mobile technologies in young lives needed to devise effective strategies for dealing with mobile or smart phone use in and out of the classroom and supports efforts to give young people a greater voice in the decisions affecting their engagements mobile technologies.
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