Investigating emergent literacies, identities, and relationships at the intersection of online and offline experience

Completed as part of Mediatized Stories

Project leaders: Glynda A. Hull and Mark Evan Nelson (with Stacy Marple and Amy Stornaiuolo)

The project investigates the sociocultural, developmental, and educational implications of engaging youth around the world in the explosive phenomenon of Internet-enabled social networking. The overarching program and research objectives are 1) to engage a diverse, global group of youth in cooperatively developing their own online community (virtually housed at and 2) to track and document evidence of the decision making, interpersonal and intercultural negotiation, and knowledge construction that this network creation project reveals over time.

South African Kids taking part in Space2cre8

Rather than preemptively constraining possibilities for communication and creativity, as is the case with other social networking sites and projects, we envisage a creative arts-based network shaped from its inception by the needs, wants, and inspirations of its youthful members, extending to its architecture and modes of interaction as well as its content, in which digital stories and other multimedia products feature prominently. Another vital distinction between this project and others is the priority given the inclusion of youth for whom the advantages of the digital revolution have been beyond reach due to socioeconomic and political circumstances, in such places as South Asia, Africa, and underserved communities in the so-called developed world. As inaugural sites of participation, we have included a privately run 'afternoon school' for school-age girls/domestic workers in Northern India; a public Afrikaans-medium school in rural Western Cape, South Africa; and a private school designed to address the needs and situations of African American youth in urban Oakland, California.

In addition, students at a public school in Oslo, Norway have been taking part in the intercultural learning and communication that Space2cre8 as social networking site affords. Ola Erstad, Kenneth Silseth and Kristin Vasbø have been in chasrge of the research at the Norway site. In addition, Michelle Storakeren and Catharina Kokkim, two Norwegian master students, are writing their thesis on the project.

Through this work, employing a mixed-methods approach to data collection and analysis, we hope to shed new light on 21st Century learning and literacy, with the ultimate aim of pointing the way for students, classroom teachers, and academics alike to better comprehend and optimally benefit from the powerful connectivity and accommodation and understanding of diversity that the integration of social networking and creative arts practices may afford.




Nelson, M.E., Hull, G.A., & Young, R. (forthcoming)  Portrait of the artist as a younger adult: Multimedia literacy and “effective surprise.” In O. Erstad & J. Sefton-Green (Eds) Learning lives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Nelson, M. E. (2010)  Invited Lecture: Investigating Multimodal Meaning Making on the Ground. University of New England, Armidale, Australia, 25 August.

Panel at ICA in Singapore 26 June 2010 on Building Bridges of Meaning Across Distance and Difference: Studies of Youth-Designed Social Networking chaired by Mark Evan Nelson with these Mediatized Stories related entries:
• Glynda Hull and Mark Nelson on "Space2Cre8: Lessons Learned Thus Far"
• Stacy Marple (with Amy Stornaiuolo) on "Designful Play: Qualities of Youth Engagement With the Creation of an International Social Network"
• Kenneth Silseth and Kristin Vasbo (with Ola Erstad): "Creating Multiple Voices in the Classroom: Space2cre8 as a Facilitator for Negotiating Cultural Identity"
• Birgit Hertzberg Kaare and Catharina Kokkim: "Space to Create With Social Media in Global Classrooms"


Nelson, M. E. (2010)  Keynote Lecture: Facilitating Literacy Development through ICT. Asian Primary and Preschool Teachers Congress. Singapore, 8 May.

Silseth, K & K. Vasbø (2010) Bruk av nettsamfunnet Space2cre8 i norsk skole. Presentation at PUBLIC SEMINAR with presentation of research results from the Mediatized Stories project. Forskningsparken, Oslo, 14 April 2010.

Nelson, M. E., S. Marple & G. A. Hull (2010)  Paper: Gaining ‘Ground’: Iconicity as a Tool for Networked Meaning Making. American Association of Applied Linguistics, 2010 Annual Meeting. Atlanta, Georgia, 8 March.

Nelson, M. E. & S. Marple (2009)  Paper:  Iconicity and Networked Meaning Making. National Council of Teachers of English, 2009 Annual Meeting. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 20 November.

Marple, S. & A. Stornaiuolo (2009)  Paper: Designful Play: Youth Engagement with the Creation of an International Youth Network. Creativity & Cognition 2009. Berkeley, California, 8 October.

Nelson, M. E (2009) A Reflection on Self-Presentation and Iconic Representation: The Case of Space2Cre8. Presentation at the Mediatized Stories preconference on 'The presentation of self in everyday digital life', London: University of Westminster, 2 September.

Published Oct. 12, 2010 12:01 PM - Last modified Jan. 15, 2020 12:59 PM