HOW URBAN YOUTH USE DIGITAL TOOLS AT COMMUNITY TECHNOLOGY CENTERS (CTCs) TO SUPPORT THE DEVELOPMENT OF CIVIC ENGAGEMENT PATHWAYS: THE CONSIDERATION OF UNIVERSITY-CTC PARTNERSHIPS TO SUPPORT DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP
Thursday, March 29 10:45 AM-11:15 AM
This research explored how seven urban youth ranging in ages from 13-18 used digital tools at two community technology centers (CTCs) to support the development of civic engagement pathways. Research shows this group of adolescents often lack the same opportunities as their wealthier peers to engage civically (Levinson, 2007). This is problematic given the benefits of civic engagement, specifically related to positive youth development and the strengthening of our nation’s democracy (Lerner, 2004) CTCs have been shown as valuable places where young people can develop positively in a variety of ways (Kafai, Peppler, & Chiu, 2007), therefore, the purpose of this study was to better understand how young people might use digital tools at CTCs to acquire skills associated with civic activities Bers’s (2012). The Positive Technological Development Framework was used as the theoretical lens for this qualitative, multisite, multicase study. Inductive analysis using the constant comparative method revealed that participants' digital content creations played a critical role in their development of civic skills, namely civic knowledge, collaboration, and communication. This research provides a perspective not yet fully explored in the literature and suggests CTCs could be vital places to address the civic engagement gap and support Common Core and ISTE Standards centered on developing digital citizenship.