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How Smart Phone Apps Are Changing a Generation: Howard Gardner and Katie Davis Intvw Transcript part 2

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Originally Published on OpEdNews

Part 2 of 2, of the Transcript of the radio interview Multiple Intelligences Genius Howard Gardner-- Are Apps Producing an App Generation? 

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Interview Guests: Howard Gardner and Katie Davis 

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authors of  The App Generation; How Today's Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World

Howard Gardner is a rock star-- to hundreds of thousands of teachers, to psychologists and to me,  because of his development of the Multiple Intelligences theory. Dr.  Gardner is Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and senior director of Harvard Project Zero, an educational research group. He is renowned as father of the theory of multiple intelligences. 

Katie Davis is assistant professor, University of Washington Information School, where she studies the role of digital media technologies in adolescents' lives.

Interview transcript- Part 2

K.D.: Okay sure, was there a particular place that you wanted to go with the Three I's?

R.K.: Well why don't you start off by how you came up with the Three I's and the kind of big picture and then you can go in to talking about each one of them briefly?

K.D.: Okay sure, and Howard you should., if you have something to interject with the way we came up with them please do but generally, we started this research, well we started looking at the role of digital media technologies in people's lives back in two thousand six,  and then a few years later we started this project in particular that led to this book where we were looking at the role of technology in young people's development, and we started by interviewing forty veteran teachers in the Northeast who had been teaching for at least twenty years and we just asked them generally, "what changes have you noticed in the students who you've been teaching over the last several years?" and we didn't say anything about digital media but of course it came up right away, and through our analysis of those interviews we found that a lot of what they were saying started to cohere around these three themes of identity, intimacy, and imagination, which are really important areas of experience for young people growing up, so in adolescence identity is a very important developmental task. 

Developing an identity that resonates with you and is recognized by other people, that's a  important task for young people to grapple with during adolescence.  The same with intimacy, developing relationships outside of your family, and ones that are satisfying and also support your identity and then, imagination which is our "i" word for creativity.  

As you go out and enter into the work force and society, what creations are you going to contribute?  And so those were the three areas that we started to focus on and then we went back and did a bunch of more research with those three areas in mind.  

So we conducted seven focus groups with fifty eight professionals who had worked, again for many, many years with young people in a variety of contexts from camp counselors, religious leaders, after school educators, art teachers, and psychotherapists, and again we asked them what they have noticed and the Three I's came up again and we also asked them specifically this time some pointed questions about each "I", and as we were analyzing our results we started to think about the connection to apps and the features of apps, and so for instance, with respect to identity, we saw this pattern of, as we have already discussed a little bit, right now this focus on external packaging, what you might call The Packaged Self, a very polished, brand-like view of oneself which is really very similar to the very visual brand-like icon that you see on your phone for each of your apps.  You can immediately picture, I'm sure, the Twitter bird or the Wikipedia "W" or the Amazon shopping cart and these icons are very brand-like and this is the type of identity that we're seeing in young people today.  It's becoming very externalized and brand-like.  Howard, did you want to add anything at this point to the identity piece?

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Rob Kall is the host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, WNJC 1360, where he discusses how the bottom up mind and bottom up revolution are reaching different areas of the world, of life, of politics, business, society and anywhere else.

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