Our Space: Being a Responsible Citizen of the Digital World
For most young people today, engagement with new digital media is a routine aspect of life. Through computers, mobile phones, and other handheld devices, youth can blog, tweet, participate in social networks like Facebook, play massive multi-player games, use online information sources, and share videos, stories, music, and art they’ve created. Important skills and knowledge can be gained from such activities, but there are also risks. For example, young people may only rarely consider what it means to be an ethical, socially responsible “citizen” on the Internet.
Our Space is a set of curricular materials designed to encourage high school students to reflect on the ethical dimensions of their participation in new media environments. Through role-playing activities and reflective exercises, students are asked to consider the ethical responsibilities of other people, and whether and how they behave ethically themselves online. These issues are raised in relation to five core themes that are highly relevant online: identity, privacy, authorship and ownership, credibility, and participation. For more information, download the Introduction to Our Space [pdf], FAQ [pdf], and Road Map [pdf]. The full casebook can be downloaded using the button in the sidebar.
Our Space was co-developed by The GoodPlay Project (Harvard Graduate School of Education) and Project New Media Literacies (established at MIT and now housed at University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism). The Our Space collaboration grew out of a shared interest in fostering ethical thinking, and conduct, among young people when they exercise their new media skills. For more background about the collaboration that resulted in this casebook, see “How We Got Here,”(link) by Howard Gardner and Henry Jenkins.
The GoodPlay Project is funded by the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning initiative.