My Digital Footprint: Guest lecture by Gregory Donovan

Gregory Donovan research project project My Digital Footprint focuses on informal learning in participatory projects. Welcome to a discussion on user engagement in research in out-of-school contexts.

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InterMedia, the research group TRANSACTION and the research group DELTA (AHO) invites to a talk by Gregory Donovan (City University of New York).

The follow-up discussion will focus on user engagement in research in out-of-school contexts.

Gregory Donovan's research project My Digital Footprint focuses on informal learning in participatory projects, and involves youth as co-researchers. The project also explores how the youth engaged in the project gain insight into privacy and authorship issues of online spaces.

Gregory belongs to a strong research group at CUNY that have strengthened the PAR approach (participatory action research) in numerous research projects on urban environmental conditions for youths learning and education i NYC.

Gregory Donovan is supervised by  Cindy Katz, professor in environmental psychology  (Growing Up Global: Economic Restructuring and Children’s Everyday Lives, 2004) working on urban childhood and education from environmental perspective, and distinguished professor Michelle Fine, in social/personality psychology (Revolutionizing Education: Youth Participatory Action Research in Motion, co-edited with Julio Cammarota), focusing on participatory action research.

More on My digital footprint project

My dissertation, MyDigitalFootprint.ORG: Informational Youth and the Securitization of Cyberspace, is a participatory action research and design project focused on the interests and concerns of young people developing within proprietary informational environments. This project takes a participatory approach by involving young people as co-researchers in investigating the production, circulation, and consumption of their own digital footprints in order to address broader questions surrounding privacy, property, security, usability, and identity in the Information Age.

The first phase of this research entailed a series of in-depth interviews with young people in New York City to identify common interests and concerns regarding everyday proprietary informational environments. The second phase entailed collaborative research and design with a group of five youth co-researchers to further investigate these common interests and concerns through the development of a youth-based open-source social network. These five young people made up the Youth Design and Research Collective (YDRC) and worked with me in a series of eight workshops over a period of six months. The workshops began with tutorials on information and network architecture, internet governance, qualitative research, free and open-source software, and universal access in order to enhance the YDRC’s situational awareness in informational environments as well as provide the literacies needed to develop our social network.

Based on the empirical findings of this research I argue that when young people are engaged as producers of social media and participants in social research, rather than as consumers and research subjects, they develop greater situational awareness within informational environments. Such awareness encourages young people to see themselves as self-possessed social actors, while also affording a framework for youth to collaborate meaningfully with researchers, policymakers, designers, educators, and other actors to develop more empowering and accessible informational environments that are sensitive to the interests and concerns of young people.

See video presentation

More on Gregory Donovan

  • Gregory Donovan is soon finishing his PhD at The Department of Environmental Psychology, City University of New York, Graduate Centre.


Published June 4, 2012 1:05 PM - Last modified Mar. 15, 2016 12:39 PM