Youth media practices and their implications for self-directed project-based learning

Chi Tat Larry CHAN

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Self-directed project-based learning is highly popular in Hong Kong and in many other countries. Many advocates of these project activities more or less presume a kind of neutrality on the part of the presentation media that are used, seeing students’ productions or project reports as technical processes that merely reflect their voices or what they have learned. Supported by my own empirical research referencing the cases in Hong Kong, I have argued that production media are not neutral; student productions are much more complex and political than they initially appears. Three young people and their media texts have been selected from three contrasting settings in Hong Kong. There is a case from the education sector, a case from the arts sector and a case from youth-led media practices. The findings reveal the possibilities of influencing young people’s sense of self using their own “expression”. These production-based project works definitely do not (and cannot) represent all types of project-based activities, but they do address a pedagogic issue that might be commonly shared among different types of project-based learning activities: On one hand, the young people are generally encouraged to express their independent views, while on the other, there are ways in which these practices might implicitly operate to shape or define their “voice”. Based on a Vygotskian approach to learning, this paper aims to clarify the nature and value of student-centred production. It is argued that there can be no such thing as “free” or “independent” expression. Instead of believing that any given technology or setting can liberate students’ “authentic voice,” it is more practical and productive to address the ways in which educators can make use of student productions in the context of project-based learning.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008


Chan, C. (2008, December). Youth media practices and their implications for self-directed project-based learning. Paper presented at the First International Conference: Popular Culture and Education in Asia, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.


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