Leisure Is Hard Work: Digital Practices and Future Competencies

Jan 01, 2008 | by
  • Description

Part of the Volume on Youth, Identity, and Digital Media This chapter is based on two claims, namely that digital media are fundamental in nurturing human competencies for the future and that children's leisured media practices are critical catalysts in that process. These claims are documented by results from a recent case study on children's content creation of digital animation. Based on these results, the chapter discusses some of the fundamental challenges posed to educational institutions if they are to nurture future-directed competences for all pupils. These challenges include pupils' understanding of knowledge, their attitudes to learning resources and contexts of use, and the distribution of power relations. Like 300 million other kids around the globe, every Dane under the age of 20 knows that the protagonist of The Little Mermaid is Ariel, a fiesty redhead who manages to shape her fate and fortune. This fact is noteworthy only because Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, the author of the orignal fairy tale, composed a tragic tale of loss and redemption. The narrative and experiential discrepancies raise fundamental questions about the ways in which global and local media products frame children's everyday culture and the ways in which media operate as identity markers in a variety of sociocultural contexts. Moreover, Disney's figures, like many other media elements, are routinely appropriated by children in their own, increasingly digitized, media productions, from simple drawings to blogs, screen dumps, and home pages. These practices raise important issues about the role played by digital forms of media production for children vis a vis the more conventional and widespread forms of media reception.