What are teens doing with media? An ethnographic approach for identifying transmedia skills and informal learning strategies


  • Carlos A. Scolari Universitat Pompeu Fabra-Barcelona
  • Elisenda Ardèvol Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
  • Òliver Pérez-Latorre Universitat Pompeu Fabra-Barcelona
  • Maria-Jose Masanet Universitat de Barcelona
  • Nohemi Lugo Rodríguez ITESM Querétaro




Transmedia literacy, media literacy, ethnography, transmedia skills, informal learning strategies


The emergence of new media, devices, narratives and practices has compelled media literacy scholars and professionals to review their theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches. Based on a new conception – ‘transmedia literacy’ – that moves from traditional media literacy to informal learning and participatory cultures practices, the research program behind the present article tries to understand how new generations are doing things with media outside schools and how they learnt to do the things they do. The article begins by describing the transformations of media literacy in recent years as a consequence of the mutations of the media ecology and, in that context, proposes a methodological approachfor analysing the acquisition of transmedia skills in informal learning environments by teens. The article describes, analyses and evaluates the development and initial implementation of this methodology working with teenagers in a high-school in NAME CITY. It ends with a Research Kit that includes surveys, creative workshops, interactive interviews and media diaries with teens between 12-18 years old. The article also describes the evolution of this methodological approach from its original formulation to the evaluation of the model after it was tested, and reflects on the possibilities of developing specific research devices to be applied in transnational research.


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