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A must-download/share: Our Space

With great power comes great responsibility. So advises Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben.

In a blog post Henry Jenkins re-imagines Peter/Spiderman as a case study representing

a whole generation of youth who, like Peter, are deploying new media technologies and the processes associated with them to develop a clearer understanding of themselves and their place in the world.

Jenkins is one of the scholars and leaders behind Our Space: Being a Responsible Citizen of the Digital World.  This one is must-download!

Sample handout from the identity unit

The hefty 518-page pdf casebook is jam-packed with curricular materials to encourage high school students to reflect on the ethical dimensions of their participation in new media environments and to help teachers (and teacher librarians!) engage in conversations about ethical issues in new and emerging digital spaces. (In fact, I see high school and middle school teacher librarians sharing and distributing the resources here as needs pop up across their curricula and their buildings.)  The lessons themselves are low-tech and can be easily used in any classroom or library.  They engage learners in creative role playing, thoughtful discussion, and reflection around real-life issues in arenas not covered by our texts.

Our Space is organized around core themes–participation, identity, privacy, authorship and ownership, and credibility. Lessons are professionally designed and highly relevant.  They provide clear overviews, objectives, and instructions; lists of materials including links to media; discussion questions; optional extensions; alternative scenarios; concluding takeaways, and assessments. Some include document packets and glossaries.

You may choose to download the entire book, but the curricular units and lessons are available for individual download through the Table of Contents

  1. Credibility
    1. Making Credibility Judgments Online
    2. Should You Be in MySpace?
    3. Demonstrating Credibility
    4. Whom Do You Believe?
    5. Wikipedia: The Group Behind the Screen
  2. Authorship and Ownership
    1. The Axis of Media Ethics
    2. Diamonds and DJs
    3. The Inspired Highlighter: The Appropriateness of Appropriation
    4. Ad Men
    5. Supplemental lesson: Who Wants to Be in the Public Domain?
    6. Supplemental lesson: Is It Fair Use?
    7. Ownership Glossary (Facilitator)
    8. Ownership Glossary (Student)

Project New Media Literacies (begun at MIT and now housed at USC’s Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism) and the GoodPlay Project (Harvard Graduate School of Education) co-developed Our Space.  Howard Gardner and Jenkins led the teams at the two sites and describe the journey in How We Got Here.

Creative Commons LicenseOur Space is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. This is LIT, a library and information technology resource worth implementing with students. Kudos to the GoodPlay Project, and to JV for putting it forward for us to know.

  2. This is just what I needed for my Digital Citizenship curriculum. Thanks Joyce!
    Too bad it’s 518 pages, because I’d love to print it ALL out, but I’ll just do chapters, like you suggested.

  3. Great resource! I’ll pass this along to teachers and librarians…

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