Advice. Information. Real Stories.

Relevant Teen Issues.

Learning Theories

Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development - (ZPD)

ZPD is the idea that more capable peers or adults can facilitate development in children by encouraging, modeling, and supporting the introduction of new skills, thoughts, and behaviors. This is accomplished by the more experienced peers reaching the younger peers where they are and providing scaffolding to help them stretch beyond. iveBeenThere will be a true exemplar of this theory as the older teen mentors share their experiences and offer advice and information to expose the younger teens to new ideas. 

Lave and Wenger's Legitimate Peripheral Participation -(LPP)

LPP is the process by which newcomers enter a community of practice(in this example, high school students) and become experienced members. Newcomers observe ‘old timers,’ learning the roles, tasks, vocabulary, and organization of the community. (Lave and Wenger, 1991) In locally curated versions of iveBeenThere, transitioning teens will have the opportunity to watch videos of experienced members of their new high school, effectively showing them the ropes. Users can learn about the academic and social culture of the school by watching a variety of mentors describe their experiences and offer advice. LPP is cyclical whereby the newcomers work towards becoming central members of the community of practice eventually replacing the ‘old timers’. Users of iveBeenThere can eventually create videos for the app and become mentors themselves, completing the cycle. 

Judith Rich Harris' Group Socialization Theory

According to this theory, children mold their behaviors according to their peer group. Group socialization theory minimizes the lasting influence of parents suggesting that as children age, there is a lessening of adult influence. Consequently, as children reach adolescence, they identify more readily with older peers than adults. (Harris, 1995) As an experienced 8th grade teacher, I can attest to the truth of this theory. While it may not be true for every adolescent, it is very common for young teens to turn away from the adults in their lives, most notably their parents. Unfortunately, this is the time when young teens are in more need of accurate information as they are faced with a new school with a more demanding work load and new social issues such as sexuality and drugs and alcohol. iveBeenThere will provide reliable older teen mentors who the younger teens can relate to and trust to give them the advice and information they need. 

Gee's Design Principle of Identity

Even though Gee’s Design Principle’s are for video games, I feel it is important to include it here because identity is a critical aspect built in to the design of iveBeenThere to enhance learning and engagement. Within iveBeenThere, users are allowed to pick the mentor whose videos they want to explore. By listening to the personal experiences of the older mentor, the user has the ability to project him or herself into the future and envision taking similar actions. For example, the mentor may be talking about being a designated driver at high school parties. The user may have never considered this as an option but can not begin to identify with this possible way of being, a person who avoids drinking or doing drugs without losing social status. The variety of mentors with multiple perspectives allows for multiple identity formation opportunities that would not be possible otherwise.