Young people learning from digital media outside of school

Bradford Council

The informal meets the formal

The dissonance between what teenagers learn in classrooms and their everyday lives is not a recent phenomenon, but it is increasingly relevant as school systems are unable to follow the evolution of media and society beyond traditional concerns regarding the protection of young people [1]Pereira, S., Fillol, J. and Moura, P. (2019) Young people learning from digital media outside of school: The informal meets the formal. Comunicar, Media Education Research Journal [online]. 85(27), … Continue reading. An overly scholarly view of learning continues to prevail in our society, which seems to marginalize the knowledge that young people develop with and through media and digital platforms. Based on questionnaires, workshops, and interviews conducted with Portuguese teenagers, aged 12 to 16 years old (N=78), attending an urban and a rural school in the North of the country, this paper aims to understand how these teens are learning to use the media, what motivates them, and if their media practices contribute to the acquisition of skills and competencies useful to their lives inside and outside school. The research main results confirm the existence of a gap between formal and informal education. Informal education is mainly motivated by their needs and peer influence. Colleagues and family, alongside the Internet and self-discovery, appear as important sources of knowledge. Another important conclusion is that informal learning strategies contribute to the development of skills and competencies that are useful from a school viewpoint.


Authors: Sara Pereira  ORCiD, Joana Fillol ORCiD and Pedro Moura ORCiD

Website: Comunicar – Media Education Research Journal

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1 Pereira, S., Fillol, J. and Moura, P. (2019) Young people learning from digital media outside of school: The informal meets the formal. Comunicar, Media Education Research Journal [online]. 85(27), pp. 41-50 [Accessed 06 December 2019]. Available at: <>.


The Internet and Education

In many ways, it is difficult to discuss any aspect of contemporary society without considering the Internet. Many people’s lives are saturated so thoroughly with digital technology that the once obvious distinction between either being online or offline now fails to do justice to a situation where the Internet is implicitly always on. Indeed, it is often observed that younger generations are unable to talk about the Internet as a discrete entity.

Instead, online practices have been part of young people’s lives since birth and, much like oxygen, water, or electricity, are assumed to be a basic condition of modern life. As Donald Tapscott (2009, 20) put it, “to them, technology is like the air.” Thus, in many ways, talking about the Internet and education simply means talking about contemporary education.

The Internet is already an integral element of education in (over)developed nations, and we can be certain that its worldwide educational significance will continue to increase throughout this decade (Selwyn, 2014).

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Databite No. 76: Neil Selwyn

Neil Selwyn presents (Dis)Connected Learning: the messy realities of digital schooling: In this Databite, Neil Selwyn will work through some emerging headline findings from a new three-year study of digital technology use in Australian high schools. Neil will highlight the ways in which schools’ actual uses of technology often contradict presumptions of ‘connected learning’, ‘digital education’ and the like. Instead Neil will consider:

  • how and why recent innovations such as maker culture, personalised learning and data-driven education are subsumed within more restrictive institutional ‘logics’;
  • the tensions of ‘bring your own device’ and other permissive digital learning practices
  • how alternative and resistant forms of technology use by students tend to mitigate *against* educational engagement and/or learning gains;
  • the ways in which digital technologies enhance (rather than disrupt) existing forms of advantage and privilege amongst groups of students;
  • how the distributed nature of technology leadership and innovation throughout schools tends to restrict widespread institutional change and reform;
  • the ambiguous role that digital technologies play in teachers’ work and the labour of teaching;
  • the often-surprising ways that technology seems to take hold throughout schools – echoing broader imperatives of accountability, surveillance and control. The talk will provide plenty of scope to consider how technology use in schools might be ‘otherwise’, and alternate agendas to be pursued by educators, policymakers, technology developers and other stakeholders in the ed-tech space.[1]Data & Society Research Institute, Published 7th April 2016


1 Data & Society Research Institute, Published 7th April 2016