Learning Across Networked and Emergent Spaces (LANES)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Family interactions and daily routines have been impacted by the ubiquity of technology and media in the household. For children and parents, mobile devices especially, have increased the opportunities for interaction and learning with technology to occur “on the move,” as well as in place. Based on what children are choosing to do with media, this study (LANES) explores the ways in which technologies extend the individual – socially, spatially, and temporally – and the implications this extensibility has on family interactions and learning within the house and across settings. LANES builds on the studies and goals of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and the LIFE Center to understand how young people are learning and socially engaging with digital media within and between formal and informal educational settings. LIFE and Cooney Centers studies have documented the phenomena of joint media engagement (Stevens & Penuel, 2010; Takeuchi & Stevens, 2011) across a number of specific media contexts including television (Dugan, Stevens, & Mehus, 2010), video games (Stevens, Satwicz, & McCarthy, 2007), and creative technological expression (Barron, 2004). We also consider prominent national surveys that highlight the amount and kind of media experience young people have (e.g. from Common Sense Media, and the Kaiser Family Foundaton). However, these studies have paid little attention to the ways that the ubiquity of mobile media has affected the configuration of learning arrangements; “learning together” can occur across and between physical locations. As a central element of a multi-institutional partnership, this project benefits from an extensive network of research expertise and interest. LANES will produce in-depth case studies in the style of past Cooney Center and LIFE Center ethnographic studies and generate findings for comparative analysis with others doing similar work (e.g., Takeuchi at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and Barron at the LIFE Center). LANES is also being conducted in collaboration with Northwestern’s Center on Media and Human Development, led by Ellen Wartella. In the context of this collaboration, the results of this project’s case studies will inform the design of surveys that explore the generality of ethnographic case study findings. Novel techniques for capturing and mapping mobile media experiences will be generated in this project, because of the participation of post-doctoral scholar Katie Headrick Taylor whose research draws both on learning sciences and cultural geography. LANES will be conducted in the Chicago area and will compose its sample of youth from different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, an important issue given persistent differences in access to new media and technology and likely, unexplored cultural differences in families and communities about the meanings of and uses for media. Video recorded observations, interviews, and experience sampling techniques will provide a clearer picture of young people’s at-home and on the move media practices. We will also use geospatial technologies to visualize how an individual’s media use maps over the community in which s/he lives. We will conduct spatio-temporal and microanalyses of family life that demonstrate how technologies arrange child activity into nodes and pathways of learning and engagement with media, peers, and family members. Nodes are instances of in-place technological engagement with media, while pathways are “on the move” interactions with media facilitated by mobile devices. We will show how the technological content of nod
Effective start/end date9/1/138/31/14


  • Joan Ganz Cooney Center for Educational Media and Research, Inc. (Agreement 1/13/2014 // Agreement 1/13/2014)
  • Bezos Family Foundation (Agreement 1/13/2014 // Agreement 1/13/2014)


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