About Play Policy

Participatory digital tools have been enthusiastically adopted by young people: they blog, vlog, upload, download, click, surf, post, podcast, mash, chat, poke, text, tweet, talk, game, sample, scan, and remix…but, what sorts of content are they interacting with and creating? Do they have an understanding of the policy processes that insure (or inhibit) the open and diverse communication system that they use everyday? How can these complex and arcane policy issues be framed as broader values vital for social well-being, democratic communication, and the public interest?

Young Canadians, Participatory Digital Culture and Policy Literacy has a dual focus: through interviews and focus groups with young Canadians it will examine their use of digital technologies for play, education, work, and civic participation, as well as assess their knowledge of digital policy issues, while student-led workshops on digital policy and media-making will enable young Canadians to develop the capacity and fluency to create innovative policy toolkits.

Research questions include:

  • What are the everyday uses of digital technologies by youth?
  • How do these practices shape their knowledge of digital policy issues?
  • What tools and techniques can be mobilized to create participatory and innovative digital policy literacy toolkits?
  • What are examples and best practices of digital policy literacy projects targeted for youth that are developed by governments, educators, and activist groups?
This program of research was led by Leslie Regan Shade at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, and generously funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada from 2010-2013. A paper detailing the project was prepared for the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) Conference, Media Education Research Section, July 2011, Istanbul:shade-iamcr-mediaed-june1

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