Their Space. Education for a Digital Generation


Work data:

ISBN: 1 84180 175 5

Type of work: Report


Education | Information Society


This report is the result of nine months of work that focused specifically on understanding how children and young people use new technologies. We carried out an initial stage of background research, drawing on existing academic literature, demographic data and policy documents. The methodology, approach and research questions were tested at a Demos seminar in May 2005 which brought together senior policy-makers, academics, headteachers and commentators. The seminar and a series of expert interviews which followed allowed us to test our hypothesis – that schools need to respond to the way young people are learning outside the classroom. It also provided invaluable feedback and suggestions for further research.

Over the next six months we undertook interviews, group discussions and informal conversations with children and young people around the UK. We asked interviewees to fill in diaries tracking their media consumption – what they used, what they used it for and how often they used it. These diaries were a starting point for a series of focus groups. We spent time in primary and secondary schools and youth groups with over 60 children and young people aged between seven and 18, speaking to them about how new technologies fitted into their lives.

Finally, we also polled 600 parents of children aged four to 16 across England to find out their views on learning and the role of digital technologies in their children’s lives. Polling was not designed to be representative in a quantitative sense, but to enable us to view digital technologies from the perspective of parents as well as children.