I’m chiming in really late, but since I found the ‘digest’ in my mailbox today, my curiosity was sparked and I came to have a look.
Your research sounds very interesting and I’m curious to know more about it. It seems there is some overlap with research I did about three years ago on migrant youth networks (see e.g. Prinsen, F., de Haan, M., & Leander, K. M. (2015). Networked Identity How Immigrant Youth Employ Online Identity Resources. Young, 23(1), 19-38.).
In this research I also found some of these youths creating new social spaces that were strategically blocked off from the more traditional communities they are allied with, thereby separating themselves from particular, culturally informed, social practices. This provided them with new possibilities for identity development.
Also the work identified some limits to their connectivity (ranging from in-conducive attitudes towards connecting to ‘strangers’, limited views of it’s value, and some skill limits, but also clear preferences for offline connectivity).
Together with the other studies we did with our research group we found that there really is no standard ‘constellation’ of people, roles, rules, tools and artefacts - no ideals of connected learning; not all successful networks will have the same characteristics (de Haan, Leander, Ünlüsoy & Prinsen, 2014).
As for your question about linking home and school, I do get a sense that it might not do service to those youth that are trying to carve out alternate identities for themselves through the opportunities that the ‘away from home’ contexts offer them. Still, some youth thrive with more support from the home environment (as I saw in my work where they actively seek out more active roles in their family environment and rely on this environment for support and inspiration). So in my view it depends on how it aligns with the (active or passive) strategy of the youth in question…
Still, general encouragement to bring into school the many talents and skills that youth may develop outside of school (in informal contexts) might be very powerful. I think many youth have hidden talents that teachers need to become more aware of
Looking forward to read all the other threads here!
Thank you for the hotseat.