iSchool’s pioneering Digital Youth Seattle Think Tank convenes national experts

Two-years in the making, the Digital Youth Seattle Think Tank (DYSTT) brought together leaders from industry, research, practice and policy to share ideas, brainstorm research questions, and discuss  obstacles and solutions in the work of studying and learning from digital youth.

Digital Youth, one of the strategic areas of focus for the iSchool, explores the interactions of young people with digital information and technology. Beginning with young children learning literacy skills through young adults using social media and online games, iSchool faculty and students conduct research to understand how today’s youth consume and create information. Insights gained from the research help inform policy makers and industry professionals.

DYSTT was conceived by Professors Eliza Dresang and Karen Fisher to highlight the opportunities in the field not currently addressed by academic conferences. Each of the featured speakers represented a focus area central to youth and technology, including social and mobile media, digital and information policy, information and digital literacies, formal and informal learning, games and learning, and mind/brain and behavior. A panel representing young people (pictured) kicked off the conference and established themes for the participants to explore. 

Speakers included: Joanna A. Christodoulou, MGH Institute of Health Professions; Allison Druin, University of Maryland, College Park; Henry Jenkins, University of Southern California; Kurt Squire, Games + Learning + Society team at University of Wisconsin-Madison; Rane Johnson-Stempson, Principal Research Director at Microsoft Research Outreach; and S. Craig Watkins, University of Texas at Austin. Participants included librarians, academics, industry representatives from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Nickelodeon, and nonprofit representatives from Children’s Hospital, HopeLab, Committee for Children and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The DYSTT was organized by the digital youth faculty and students at the UW iSchool, including Katie Davis, assistant professor; Karen Fisher, professor; Michael B. Eisenberg, dean emeritus and professor; J. Elizabeth Mills, Ph.D. student; Jason Yip, assistant professor; Negin Dahya, assistant professor; and  iYouth. It was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Facebook, Microsoft Research, King County Library System, and Seattle Public Library.

Visit the website for more information.