On February 17, 2012, the Youth and Media (YaM) team hosted a workshop on “Youth and Information Quality Online”, as part of the DML Hub workshop series. We enjoyed having a diverse and passionate group of about 30 artists, makers, practitioners, and thinkers come together to discuss information quality in the youth context – namely, how young Internet users search, evaluate, create, and disseminate information online (and off) – and new opportunities for learning and collaboration.
To initiate the day, the YaM team overviewed the recent report, “Youth and Digital Media: From Credibility to Information Quality,” by presenting its narrative, framework, and key findings as illustrated in the accompanying info graphic. Following the insightful commentary of Denise Agosto and Rebekah Pure, we explored the dimensions of youth behavior online with regards to age and other demographic factors, in addition to information-related practices offline. Thinking through “problems” typically associated with young people’s information quality assessments, prompted discussion of schools’ rule-making and educational approaches.
The workshop’s second session highlighted info quality use cases from different contexts of youths’ online activity: the personal, social, and academic context. Elisa Kreisinger and Jonathan McIntosh shared their experiences teaching content creation and dissemination with regards to the personal context. Chris Altchek and Jordan Wolf (PolicyMic) and Lori Cullen (Millennial Youth Magazine) discussed the relationship of news(-making) and citizenship among young people in the context of their respective media ventures. Turning to the academic context, Mindy Faber (Open Youth Networks) explored how an info quality framework might bridge formal and informal learning; Maura Marx (DPLA) commented on how new intermediaries, such as libraries, can take learning about youths’ behaviors to heart when creating services and information environments.
The workshop concluded with reflections on policy considerations and potential system-level shifts. New trends in design and entrepreneurship may at once capitalize on youth behavior and foster new learning opportunities, as we learned from Hugo Van Vuuren; similarly, Claire McCarthy revealed how the changing landscape of health information invites new collaborations between doctors, content creators, and educators. Geanne Rosenberg and Urs Gasser culminated the conversation by addressing new prospects for innovative educational and legal policy, respectively.
We are grateful to all the participants for all the “quality information” generated during the workshop, and we look forward to continuing the conversation and taking our explorations of info quality to the next level.
Read the report, including workshop reflections, key themes, and open questions:
Listen to workshop participants reflect on what they learned:
Participants in the Information Quality workshop reflect on what they learned from the information quality report and the conversation with others from fields as diverse as journalism, education, health care, and the arts. Recurring themes include the importance of empowering youth to make informed information quality decisions, rather than adults acting as quality arbiters, and the myriad opportunities for collaboration, both across disciplines and fields and between youth and adults.
Claire McCarthy, MD:
Claire McCarthy, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Faculty Associate at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, explains the risks and opportunities associated with young people going online for health information.
Geanne Rosenberg, Professor at Baruch College and CUNY and Faculty Associate at the Berkman Center, finds the information quality idea very useful in her work with news literacy and citizenship. Her own work deals with empowering youth to find, assess, fact-check, and contribute high quality news information, and she finds that the workshop introduced her to practical interventions she can use toward these ends.