Young Boys and their computer toys: What is it that so engrosses them and how can we translate this into improving their educational outcomes
International Federation for Information Processing
Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
School of Education
As digital 1nedia converge, television "shows'' develop to become rich media environments that appeal to children through all their senses and intelligences. This phenomenon has become 1nore apparent as areas of 1nedia have combined to create exciting new worlds that appeal to children on a number of levels. These new, exciting worlds are having a profound effect upon the sub-cultures that are emerging. A number of sources (e.g. Calvert, 2003; Neilsen, 2004) suggests that the largest group of children participating in the new media saturated subcultures (MSS) is boys aged 7 to 15 years. This is also the group that is currently the most likely not to be performing to ability in school educational programs (West, 1999). One of the most prevalent factors mentioned in current literature affecting the outcomes of these boys is lack of engage1nent or interest in school. With a particular emphasis on boys, the focus of this paper is on examining the proposition that if teachers could understand the subcultures of children who participate in digital grunes, they could potentially engage them in more relevant learning experiences. More specificaJiy, what is it about the media-saturated sub-culture of young boys that so engrosses them and what can we adopt or adapt from this culture to improve their educational outcomes? This question is the basis of a research project being conducted by one of the authors - an ethnographic study of a group of 7-12 year old Australian boys participating in a media-saturated sub-culture, namely Yu-Gi-Oh. This paper briefly describes this research-in-progress against a background of boys in education in the Australian context, and the media saturated subcultures they engage in.