Digital Childhoods

Just published:

Kontopodis, M.; Varvantakis, C. & Wulf, C. (Eds) (2017). Global Youth in Digital TrajectoriesLondon: Routledge.


Ferrin, N. & Kontopodis, M. (2017). Playing sports with Nintendo Wii in Berlin: Technography, interactivity and imagination. In M. Kontopodis, C. Varvantakis, & C. Wulf (Eds.), Global youth in digital trajectories (pp. 39-52). London: Routledge.

Rezoned F. da Cunha Júnior, van Oers B. & Kontopodis M. (2016). Collaborating on Facebook: Teachers Exchanging Experiences Through Social Networking Sites. Cultural-historical psychology, 12(3), 290-309,  – Open Access HERE // Russian version HERE.

Project: HyperConnecting Youth

Communication is nowadays taking place through interactive, fast and mobile media that enable the automatic translation of speech as well as the distributed production and peer-to-peer circulation of advanced audio-visual designs across very different geographical areas. These developments concern today’s young people more than anybody else: Terms such as “digital youth” or the “app generation” have been used in this context, to denote today’s young people (Subrahmanyam & Šmahel, 2011; Gardner & Davis, 2013). At the same time, the capital and money markets are also becoming more hyperconnected. While this development may entail positive potential with regard to cosmopolitan values, it also implies that economic crises easily spread from one place to the other.

cameraThe global and interconnected world, we are living in, calls for a high emphasis on global citizenship, intercultural sensitivity and tolerance. Our project aims at using the digital technologies that are available in local schools and communities around the world as to (a) hyper-connect them with each other and (b) enable children and young people from the whole world to virtually communicate for longer periods of time with each other. This is a follow-up to a previous project “Global Perspectives on Learning and Development with Digital Video-Editing Media”:

HCSlogoVirtual person-to-person communication among youth from various countries refers to communication over months or years among youth who get to “know” each other through all possible internet-based technologies such as: video hosting platforms, social networking sites, internet forums, online translation software, video-conferencing technologies, blogs and micro-blogs as well as virtual social worlds without any possibility for meeting offline.

With certain guidance by researchers, teachers and/or community-workers virtual person-to-person communication can lead to: 

  • Knowledge about other places and cultures from a local’s standpoint,
  • Tolerance towards different lifestyles and views,
  • Concern for the other’s everyday life difficulties as well as for problems that might be common and shared.

Concrete steps

A. Children & young persons use their mobile phones and/or cameras to make digital pictures and videos about their neighbourhoods, their school or some crucial issue they might be confronted with. Teachers & researchers can help the students to learn how to make pictures & films by following this guide: UsingFilmGuideShortVersion

B. Selected pictures & videos from (A) are uploaded on SchoolTube and YouTube and embedded here as well:

The producers add titles, explanations and commentaries on these platforms. This work can be developed further by producing digital stories cf. the Digital story telling guide.

C. Children and young people from the various hyperconnected schools watch the pictures made by the other groups and discuss these in the classroom. They respond in written as well as by posting other pictures or videos as a response. For the written communication GoogleTranslate can be used. At this stage reflection takes place on all produced and exchanged materials. Children and young people from various geographic areas can think of producing a film jointly online as a next step. Meta-reflection is also possible here, cf.

Note: It is essential at this stage that the teachers and the involved researchers explain to children and young people that intercultural communication does not take place on neutral grounds but within a global history of conquests, slave trades, migration, exploitation of natural resources and genocides (Coulby, 2011). Within this frame, global citizenship education offers the ground for educational programs that encourage global thinking, peace orientation and respect for human rights and diversity (Zajda, 2010).

D. Social networking sides that are safe and eligible for children and young people can be used as well as to enable person-to-person virtual communication for longer periods of time (in parallel to the above-mentioned group activities). Depending on the age of the reference group we suggest: giantHello; kazaana or yoursphere


YouTube Channel “Hyperconnecting Schools”:

Facebook Group “Hyperconnecting Schools”:

For more ideas & theoretical input visit: