Vice-Dean Halla B. Holmarsdottir of the Faculty of Education and International Studies is project manager for the newly started research project “The impact of technological transformations on the Digital Generation (DigiGen)”. DigiGen is part of a EU Horizon 2020 project, and the researchers are going to investigate how digitalization and technological development impact children and young people’s lives.
What makes DigiGen such an important project?
We have some research on digitalization in general as well as a focus on schools about online risk. But we know very little about the daily lives of children and young people in terms of technology, and how technology affects their everyday lives.
DigiGen aims to understand how technology affects children and young people at home, in family life, at school, in their leisure time and their digital citizenship. There is a need to understand the different arenas of children's lives, and where the boundaries between these different systems around the children go. Because of technology these boundaries are no longer clear. For example, technology contributes to learning in leisure and at home, not only at school.
What do you know about this today? How does technology affect the lives of children and young people?
There is a tendency to assume that children born in the digital era, where the use of technology is everywhere - in homes, play arenas, leisure time and schools - automatically have digital skills and knowledge. The use of digital technologies and internet expands and includes younger children in critical stages of early development. It is therefore a growing need for empirical research to understand children's use and experience of these new technologies in their daily lives.
- There is a growing need for empirical research to understand children's use and experience of these new technologies in their daily lives.– Halla Bjørk Holmarsdottir, project manager DigiGen.
What we know about online behavior often applies to the use and experience of ICT from older generations. Or the data is based on parents or teachers' perceptions of children and young people's online behaviors. That gives us limited empirical knowledge of the actual experiences of children and young people as individuals.
When it comes to the inclusion of ICT in education the most relevant and sustained findings in recent decades is that integration of ICT use and digital competence in education is more challenging than expected. Preparing children and young people for a life in the digital community is complex. It requires a great deal of effort from parents, teachers and other important agents in the children and young people’s lives.
- Preparing children and young people for a life in the digital community is complex. It requires a great deal of effort from parents, teachers and other important agents in the children and young people’s lives.– Halla Bjørk Holmarsdottir, project manager DigiGen.
Previous research on this field has focused on inequality to access to ICT, students' academic performance and risk and security online. DigiGen has another focus and wishes to look beyond that.