More than digital native—a digital youth
Riri Kawakubo is of a generation pegged as “digital natives.” She balked at the label. She used computers to access the Internet and for creating documents, but little else. She was a painter who entered college to major in English culture, and had always imagined herself working in the art world. “The biggest lesson for me was that it’s really important that technology is not limited to a segment of people but accessible equally to everyone no matter where they are born, what school they attend.”
The biggest lesson for me was that it’s really important that technology is not limited to a segment of people but accessible equally to everyone no matter where they are born, what school they attend. Her idea of herself and her career path changed after she joined Digital Youth, an initiative by Windows Digital Life Consortium that brings together young people from diverse backgrounds to promote and strengthen cultural exchange, friendship, and education through various forms of digital entertainment. The program aims to show that digital culture is not just a tool to entertain but also to create, educate, and compete.
Through the Digital Youth program, she learned information technology (IT) skills. Students brainstormed ideas, put together project plans, and listened to experts in the IT field. Riri engaged with industry mentors, Microsoft employees and partner companies. She took a series of workshops, and it was the session on creating apps that really inspired her. "I learned the excitement of being able to build something,” Riri said. “And I am so much more motivated since technology has become a part of my life.”
After the year of intensive training, Riri took the stage at the Digital Youth Awards in Tokyo, Japan to accept awards from Toshiba and JamLogic. On stage, she presented her idea for a social networking app for Windows to an audience of executives from more than 100 companies, including Microsoft. An estimated 30,000 people watched her over a live webcast.