Our book is about a class of 13- to 14-year-olds at an ordinary urban secondary school in London, England. It is a famously tricky age, difficult for parents and teachers, and for the young people themselves. In conducting the research, we became increasingly curious about what young people want, how do they see the world, and how do they find a path through the opportunities and constraints they face?
On the basis of the truism about life/success/genius being 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration it is strange that so many initiatives in education – particularly those aimed at engaging youth who may be disenchanted with mainstream schooling or excluded from society for socio-economic reasons – pay so much attention to the initial moments of engagement rather than the long-term problem of consolidation and sustaining growth. This is a challenge for the digital media and learning field and the host of allied and associated programs, community and after-school initiatives, out-of-school and informal learning projects all around the