Singapore Youth's Participation in New Media Ecologies - A Pilot Study

Project Number
OER 05/10 LYH

Project Duration
December 2010 - September 2013


International research reveals the pervasiveness of youth participation in new media ecologies. These include quantitative (Lenhart, Madden, Macgill, & Smith, 2007; Livingstone & Bovill, 1999) and/or qualitative studies (Ito, Horst et al., 2008a, 2008b) that detail such participation and provide a reasonably nuanced understanding of the field. The research further notes that through their participation in new media ecologies in informal contexts, youth are developing important 21st century literacies (Ito et al, 2008; Buckingham, 2004); identities (Waskul & Douglass, 1997; McArthur, 2009) and civic engagements (Wilson & Atkinson, 2005). In light of the above international research, we note that research in Singapore on the topic is in its early, formative stage. Singapore studies reveal that youth lead in the adoption of Internet (Choi, 2008; Kuo & Choi, 2006) and that this internet adoption is associated with the continued existence of divides by gender, socioeconomic status, and age in the general population. These studies are mainly quantitative, national surveys and define participation as access to technology or as time use vis-à-vis specific new media. They also suggest some co-relation of Internet participation with the use of traditional media, and of familial and social relationships (Kuo & Choi, 2006). What is missing are qualitative studies that provide a nuanced and deeper understanding of Singapore youth’s participation in new media ecologies, similar to the study conducted in America (Ito et al, 2008). This project proposes to provide an evidence-based understanding of this phenomenon. Such a study will reveal if the findings with respect to learning in the international studies noted above may also apply and how they differ in the Singapore context. Such findings can be used to support intervention to enhance youth participations in new media via general policy, curriculum development or teacher learning. Also, a substantive theory about Singapore’s youth’s participation in new media practices will be developed. This endeavour may be linked to similar studies conducted in other countries and may provide opportunities for international collaboration on comparative studies. In this proposal we seek funding for a pilot study, envisioned as the first phase of a proposed four year project. In the second phase, we will apply for another 2 1/2 years of funding.

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