The Role of After-School Digital Media Clubs in Closing Participation Gaps and Expanding Social Networks

BY: Jacqueline Vickery

This article considers how after-school digital media clubs, as an example of informal learning, can provide meaningful opportunities for youth to participate in the creation of interest-driven learning ecologies through media production. Ethnographic research was conducted in two after-school digital media clubs at a large, ethnically diverse, low income, public high school over the course of an academic year.The after-school clubs provided students with opportunities to develop digital literacies that could be leveraged for the acquisition of cultural and social capital. Although participation in the clubs expanded students’ offline social networks, restrictive school policies blocked access to social media and video sharing sites. Students were unlikely to share their work online and missed opportunities to develop network literacies that are crucial to more equitable modes of online participation.

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