Book Review of Youth Online

An otherwise bright light in a stressful semester – a very complimentary review of my book, Youth Online. The review is from the Education Review Journal and can be found here. Here is an excerpt:


This work is extremely important for educators in understanding the state of current students, and as a call for changes in the future educational process. This is an accessible work that explains the theories and their applications in a very clear way. Through Thomas’ case studies, it also offers a picture of the world of the modern and future student. This work is useful for those in academia, in teaching, or those looking to understand what it is that students do online. However, it only offers a glimpse. Thomas opens the reader’s eyes, but it is up to the reader to proceed down the rabbit hole.

Can the institution of education proceed in the traditional manner? Students spend most of their lives outside of school. What they are learning outside the institutional environment is not replicated inside it. Certainly students need to learn about mathematics, language, and science. But is the medium currently used the best, or is the world that Thomas is showing a better one to model for educators? This is something that Thomas calls for in Australia, and around the world. Online literacy will be important for success in the future. It is a travesty for schools not to integrate these areas of literacy into education

Thomas is not the only voice urging these ideas. Her work resonates with that of Gee, Hawisher, Selfe, and Steinkuehler. Some of this work focuses on videogames and how they can be used in education, but also on how videogames form an important part of learning literacy. Reading and writing are not enough – other literacies are important in education.

As Thomas has shown, students will spend the time learning them, and they can learn from each other as a community of experts. This work also attempts to understand identity creation of students in online environments, equally echoing the call from Gee. The problem with utilizing these works is not educating the students, but educating the educators.

Lovely words, my thanks to this reviewer!! 🙂

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