Youth, Media & Education

Sample Course Outline for BA Year 3 students

Module Convener: Dr. Michalis Kontopodis  [+ One (1) tutor per 25-30 students]

  • Aims and Learning Outcomes
  • Module Structure & Format
  • Assessment
  • Timetable at a Glance

Aims and Learning Outcomes

Course Description

YOUMore and more children and young people from all over the world come of age in virtual social worlds such as World of Warcraft or make friends in social networking sites such as Digital technologies alter also the ways how children learn and socialise in school. How can social media platforms, video games and smart phones be employed in the classroom? Do these media open automatically ways for children and young people to be more engaged in school and community life, learn in multimodal and interactive ways as well as share information on transnational level? Taking critical distance from both “cyber-critics” and “cyber-utopians” this syllabus examines the various discourses around children, schooling and ICT; it provides students with theoretical and meta-theoretical tools so that they are able to recognize and respond to core debates about teaching and learning in the digital age such as:

  • are children (as opposed to teachers) “naturally adept” users of technology?
  • does access to ICT transform ordinary children into exceptionally skilled ones or do new media make children lonelier and more depressed? What is the role of school in this context?
  • Will the wide introduction of ICT in education lead to economic growth in Europe and worldwide?
  • Can technologies such as Massive Open Online Courses, webinars, pedagogical agents etc. substitute schools and classroom-based teaching and learning?

Instead of adopting too quickly the one or the other position, the course will identify and discuss implicit understandings about childhood/ youth and technology that underlie the various discourses; the course will also explore how digital technologies do not only transform childhood and youth but also the ways in which we do research about and with children and young people.


This module aims to:

  • Introduce students to a range of key contemporary debates concerning the everyday lives and experiences of children and young people in the school of the digital age.
  • Explore and discuss the differences between the various approaches to teaching and learning in the digital age (human-centric vs. techno-centric; optimist vs. pessimist etc.)
  • Extend students’ ability to collect and weigh evidence in relation to informed criteria as well as to interrogate and debate about policy- and practice- related issues concerning schooling in the digital age
  • Extend students’ ability to present findings by means of new media in a clear and accessible manner.

 Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module students should be able to:

 Subject Knowledge and Understanding

  • Map the ways in which the changing media practices are transforming classroom and schools
  • Discuss with knowledge and understanding a range of contemporary issues and debates concerning teaching and learning in the digital age.
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of how the various approaches to the study of childhood and youth in the digital age lead to different conclusions about childhood/youth and ICT in education.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of ethical issues relating to childhood and youth in the digital age.

 General Skills

  • Undertake web and database searches and use information gathered to identify key issues, compile case studies and produce reports.
  • Work as part of a team, collect relevant empirical material, make presentations, lead debates and create blog posts and other relevant online multimedia products.
  • Use multimodal communication skills in off-line and online discussions, debates, and presentations.
  • Use written communication skills to interrogate, analyse and criticise issues of policy and practice.

 children_and_computers_largeSubject-specific Skills

  • Identify and analyse key issues, positions and contemporary debates concerning teaching and learning in the digital age.
  • Evaluate evidence in relation to theoretical positions and practice-related issues concerning teaching and learning in the digital age.
  • Discuss and critically appraise the various approaches to schooling in the digital age
  • Apply their theoretical understandings to the development of curricular resources and/or intervention tools for use in school, after school or community programmes.

Structure & Format

The module consists of eleven 2-hour sessions (one session per week) and a week of small-scale research. It also takes place throughout the week on the class blog/wiki and e-learning space. It includes:

  • seven lectures
  • two media-lab training & teamwork sessions
  • two seminar sessions for discussion in small groups and student presentations
  • online and e-learning activities as described below (for the whole duration of the module)

Students are required to participate actively in all activities by reading the relevant literature, preparing presentations, and contributing to the class discussions, the small-scale research project, the online blogging and to the media-lab teamwork. Students may also be required to complete short written tasks during sessions. The lectures as well as all other activities are compulsory. Students who are unable to attend, have to inform the lecturer in advance.

Media-lab training & teamwork sessions:

Before and after the ethnographic interview students will get acquainted with basic technologies and techniques for producing, designing and remixing multimedia materials with children and young people (animation, film production, e-design, etc.). Students are welcome to further use the media lab and are expected to employ at least one of these techniques in their small-scale research projects and multimedia presentations.

Role of teamwork and seminar sessions in this module

It is crucial to appreciate the role of teamwork. The teamwork is intended to deepen and extend your learning by providing the opportunity for you to:

  • Articulate your ideas in an informal, friendly and supportive environment.
  • Pool your ideas to develop collective depth of understanding within the group.
  • Internalise and assimilate a range of viewpoints and perspectives.
  • Develop your creative abilities and transferable skills (i.e. via informal presentations).
  • Interact and participate with other people.
  • Understand how values and beliefs on media and youth impact upon one’s personal understanding of and attitude towards the various theories and approaches


1. Blogging and seminar presentation (assessment: 10% for the main blog post + 10% for posting commentaries every week and active participation in the seminar session):

Students in groups of six persons will be responsible to make one thoughtful blog post concerning one of the readings below (250 words minimum). Group building, selection of texts and agreement for the date of posting will take place in the first class [90 students means 15 blog posts]. Keep in mind that contributions here also allow the tutors to assess the students’ mastery over the course content so try to anchor your comments closely to the readings. In week 11 students will present and discuss in small groups selected blog posts and additional readings

2. Small-scale research project & multimedia reporting (about 3000 words, assessment: 30%):

cameraStudents (in groups of three persons) will do a short ethnographic interview with a child/ young person or an expert involved in school media-related projects. The interview will a) identify some of the interviewee’s core beliefs about the value of new media technologies and b) document related practices in his/her everyday life by means of various audio-visual materials. Drawing on the literature discussed in the class as well as on further readings, the students will make a 15 minute multimedia presentation in the class; then they will design a wiki report which paints a portrait of their interview subject and links it to larger trends impacting how children and young people are shaped through and/or shape the use of new media.

Oral presentations and wiki reports should demonstrate:

  • high levels of comprehension
  • clear, articulate oral competence as well as multimedia skills
  • clear structure
  • reflective use of theoretical resources and empirical data and evidence of further reading

3. Final exam (assessment weight: 50%)

The course concludes with a 3-hour final exam. The exam consists of seven or eight open questions.  Sample Exam Questions:

– The term multiliteracies was introduced by the New London Group in 1996 while other scholars refer to new literacies (e.g. Lankshear & Knobel, 2011), and Merchant et al (2012) use the term virtual literacies. Can you define these concepts and explain how they challenge the traditional understanding of “knowledge” and the current organization of schooling?

– A few people believe that children are “naturally innocent” and in danger of being exposed to inappropriate violent or sexual material online. Others think that children have an “inherent inclination toward deviance” and seek out inappropriate or violent material on the internet. How do you think that school should respond to these issues in light of what you learned in this course about participatory cultures, intimacy and moral panics?

 Timetable at a Glance



Key Literature


General introduction, allocation in groups, choice of topics etc.

Introduction from the book: Kontopodis M., Varvantakis C., Dafermos M. & Wulf C. (Eds) (2014). Youth – Tube – Media: Qualitative insights & international perspectives. Münster: Waxmann.

2 Chapters from: Boellstorff, T. (2008). Coming of age in Second Life:
An anthropologist explores the virtually human. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.


Theories & methodologies: interdisciplinary perspectives

2 chapters from: Merchant, G., Gillen, J. & Marsh, J. & Davies, J. (Eds) (2012) Virtual literacies: Interactive spaces for children and young people. New York: Routledge.

3 Chapters from: Boellstorff, T., Nardi, B., Pearce, C. & Taylor, T.L. (2013). Ethnography and virtual worlds: A handbook of method. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.


Media-lab training & teamwork sessions


New literacies & multimodality in education

Jewitt, C. (2008) Multimodality and literacy in school classrooms. Review of Research in Education 32, 241- 267.


Participatory cultures  

Jenkins, H. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Selwyn, N. (2010). Schools and schooling in the digital age: A critical analysis. New York: Routledge.


Small-scale research project and individual supervision


Media-lab training & teamwork sessions


Serious Gaming

Chapters 4,7 & 9 from: Merchant, G., Gillen, J. & Marsh, J. & Davies, J. (Eds) (2012) Virtual literacies: Interactive spaces for children and young people. New York: Routledge.


Student presentations on the small-scale research (parallel seminar sessions)


Violence, cyber-bullying, addictions and victimization: moral panics

Subrahmanyam K. & Šmahel, D. (2011). When is it too much? Excessive internet use and addictive behavior. In their book: Digital youth: The role of media in development (pp. 157-178). Dordrecht: Springer.

Payne, R. (2008). Virtual panic: Children online and the transmission of harm. In C. Kinsky (Ed.), Moral panics over contemporary children and youth (pp. 31-45). Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.

Livingstone, S., Haddon, L., & Gorzig, A. (Eds.) (2012) Children, risk and safety online: Research and policy challenges in comparative perspective. Bristol: The Policy Press.


Student presentations on literature from weeks 4, 5, 8 and 10 (parallel seminar sessions)


Hyperconnecting Schools & Global Citizenship Education

Hull, G., Stornaiuolo, A., & Sahni, U. (2010). Cultural citizenship and cosmopolitan practice: Global youth communicate online. English Education 42(4), 331-367.

Cheong, P. H., Martin, J. N. & Macfadyen, L. P. (Eds.) (2012). New media and intercultural communication. Identity, community and politics. Bern: Peter Lang.