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ERIC Number: EJ1046719
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Mar
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0004-3125
Youth on YouTube as Smart Swarms
Duncum, Paul
Art Education, v67 n2 p32-36 Mar 2014
Viewing YouTube culture as a creative, collaborative process similar to animal swarms can help art educators understand and embrace youth's digital practices. School-age youth are among the most prolific contributors to YouTube, not just as viewers, but also as producers. Even preschoolers now produce videos (McClure, 2010). So pervasive, complex, rapidly moving, and starkly different from institutional schooling is this participatory, online culture that it offers major challenges to educators. Based on the assumption that the first step in learning how to engage with this culture is to understand how it operates, the author applies Miller's (2010) theory of smart swarms. Wisdom drawn from bee, ant, and termite colonies, bird flocks, and fish schools may initially seem utterly unrelated to human behavior intersecting with new technologies, but the author argues that they offer powerful albeit partial metaphors to appreciate just how pervasive a social contagion YouTube has become. Teachers should make it clear to students that using YouTube as a form of self-expression was never its intended primary function. YouTube is a traditional marketing tool, its only major innovation being to use user-generated material to attract eyeballs to advertising. Youth on YouTube appear to operate to a large extent according to principles of smart swarms that have evolved over millions of years to deal with uncertainty, complexity, and change. It is important that educators find ways to interact with youth as smart swarms because many predict that YouTube is merely a harbinger of things to come (Strangelove, 2010).
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A