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Designing Digital Experiences for Positive Youth DevelopmentFrom Playpen to Playground$
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Marina Umaschi Bers

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199757022

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199757022.001.0001

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Multimedia Parks vs. Virtual Malls in the Elementary Years

Multimedia Parks vs. Virtual Malls in the Elementary Years

(p.36) Chapter 2 Multimedia Parks vs. Virtual Malls in the Elementary Years
Designing Digital Experiences for Positive Youth Development

Marina Umaschi Bers

Oxford University Press

This chapter starts by introducing the metaphor of parks as spaces where children can develop and master skills, make their own choices based on personal interests and engage socially within boundaries. The chapter explores how the developmental needs of elementary school children, which were traditionally expressed in the park, are negotiated through the use of websites, video games and virtual worlds in our digital landscape. Most of these multimedia parks engage youth in developing digital media literacy skills and can serve as platforms to help children become fluent with technology and learn skills advocated by internet safety movements. The chapter concludes by proposing a vivid metaphor of what kinds of design features should parents and educators look for in multimedia parks to ensure the best uses of technology for meeting developmental milestones.

Keywords:   Mastery, competence, video gaming, virtual world, consumerism, industry, “epistemological pluralism,” technological fluency, elementary school, creation

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