The researcher of this study presents definitive arguments for the need to move beyond a “school-centric” approach to studying how people learn. Citing ecological perspectives on learning, this paper claims that for an understanding of how people develop interests, participation, and fluency in a given domain, it is necessary to first examine how these interests are developed and nurtured across time and settings. The researcher provides three case studies of teens who familiarized themselves with electronic technologies, each of them following different pathways, all of which spanned multiple settings and opportunities. The informal sector is sometimes designated as a niche where children can become interested, while school is the place where they can develop their expertise. This paper illustrates that the nature of interest and expertise development is very complicated, and the ISE sector can spark, sustain, and strengthen interest and expertise.
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