12681 CE: Exploring Pathways to Interest-Related Careers: Google Maps as a Tool for Youth Participatory Action Research
Organizers: Josephina Chang-Order, Michael Harris, Ben Kirshner
Presenters: Samsam Dirie, Jasmine Nurnberg, Jordan Gilliard, Westin Musser, Morgan Rasmussen
Participatory Action Research (PAR) provides opportunities for young people to study and take action to address issues that directly affect their lives and aspirations. Although a new generation of PAR scholarship has shown how it can be a vehicle for educational equity and youth political activism (Cammarota & Fine, 2008; Morrell, 2004), it is relatively uncommon to see PAR used in the DML community, despite strong substantive overlap in learning principles that they endorse. This is a missed opportunity because of the complementary strengths of each tradition: PAR can benefit from insights about digital media and participatory cultures (Jenkins, 2006) and the Connected Learning community can draw on PAR’s understanding of how to engage young people in critical social analysis, systematic research, and policy deliberation.
Our purpose in this workshop, therefore, is for participants to learn how to integrate digital media tools, specifically Google Maps, with a critical PAR approach that privileges spatial analysis of differential access to sustainable livelihoods. A team of youth ethnographers and university researchers from the Pathways Project will lead a workshop that combines interactive demonstration of digital PAR methods with sharing of our findings. For the demonstration, we will model a digital mapping method used to understand opportunities for, and barriers to, interest-driven careers within youths’ communities. Youth PAR studies have recently drawn on GPS-supported mapping activities to investigate issues of spatial justice (Soja, 2009) such as young people’s mobility and perceptions of safety (Literat, 2013; Taylor & Hall, 2013). This workshop explores the utility of Google Maps as a tool for understanding spatial justice with regards to local employment and higher education opportunities.
We will also share findings about challenges and opportunities for access to sustainable livelihoods. These findings suggest the importance of Connected Learning sites in supporting young people’s development as professionals, and in providing crucial exposure to, and guidance in seeking opportunities. The Google Maps analysis showed that transportation barriers, part of the spatial mismatch hypothesis (Blumenberg, 2004; Kain, 1992), remains a significant constraint on youths’ ability to expand their literal and figurative range to job opportunities.
This workshop addresses the conference sub-theme through exploring the challenges and opportunities of youth and adults leveraging new media to work collaboratively to investigate equity and access in post-secondary pathways. Conducting digitally mediated youth research with geographically distributed sites can be supported by tools such as Google Maps which serves as both a research and communication tool. The larger research group includes participants from Anythink Wright Farms, the American Museum of Natural History, the Kitty Anderson Youth Science Center at the Science Museum of Minnesota, and The Village Arts and Humanities Center; our project budget will enable us to send a subgroup of youth researchers to this conference. Youth and adults will collaboratively facilitate the workshop. We welcome participants who are interested in exploring new media technologies to support research and practice in YPAR, and those in support of equitable ways to present this research.
Full references available upon request.