Teaching & Learning In The New Media

This week in CEP810 is focused on new media literacy. We were challenged with reading regarding how education can and must incorporate aspects of new media (ie: the internet) into the curriculum in meaningful ways. If we don’t, our education system is going to quickly find itself of little relevance to students and their 21st Century lifestyles.

Here are links to the suggested readings:

Will Richardson

Mizuko Ito

Henry Jenkins

James Paul Gee

ISTE.org

After the readings, we were asked to reflect and respond to three questions, those along with my somewhat organized responses are as follows:

 

Based on your readings, what mindsets have you identified as essential for your own professional growth as a teacher and technology integrator?

I think for me, getting past the part of just being a “consumer” is one of the most challenging aspects of entering new media. As personal experience would tell all of us, entering a new community can be a stressful and anxious filled experience. It is much easier in these situations to sit back and simply consume what others are saying / producing. How do you get the confidence to create and participate instead of just consume?

I’ve also been circling around the idea of “collective intelligence” for the last couple of years. However, I haven’t been able to really implement the idea with a lot of success. It seems to me, though, that the key to unlock the door to students understanding and seeing the value in collective intelligence also lies within the negotiation of online learning communities in which the students have a large amount of interest / passion.
Which ideas seemed the most “out there” or the most challenging for you?

I don’t really see it has an “out there” idea, but I feel the most challenging aspect of this is to place students in communities where they can learn and be safe. My school still does a lot of regulating when it comes to accessing the internet. Youtube is blocked, along with a plethora of other sites (basically anything associated with video games). The question of how to we get students to engage in these rich online learning communities responsibly and safely is important. Part of what makes this so challenging, is that at home, many of these students have unrestricted access to the internet, and I’m not so sure they understand the difference to what is appropriate and inappropriate in a different context. I play Grand Theft Auto at home, why can’t I watch video related to Grand Theft Auto at school? This is what I was thinking about when I read Jenkin’s New Media Literacies, and saw the little piece on negotiation.

Right now, we don’t (or at least I don’t) spend time explicitly teaching students how to appropriately participate in the various communities that are out there. How can I bring that into the classroom? How do I convince the school to drop the firewalls and let the learning in?

List one way that you plan to become a more connected teacher and learner (apart from joining this most excellent course, obviously :))

I’ve asked a lot of important questions above. The funny thing is, these questions are not new to me. I have been working on coming up with solutions to these questions on my own. How foolish. One of my goals is to become a more involved participant in online learning communities based around education. I’ve been putting off getting on Twitter for years, even though I have known it is a great education resource since I student taught four or five years ago. Why?

In Gee’s Can Technology-Rich Learning Close the Participation Gap?, he speaks to engaging in experiences and learning literacy in the appropriate context. I think maybe this idea has been in the back of my mind when it comes to teaching, and integrating technology into teaching. I’ve wanted to get my own experiences, go through my own trial and error process, before really engaging in seeing what other educators are doing, or how they are working through these issues in their classrooms. I have passively consumed information, but I haven’t really engaged and participated, created, gotten involved in the online learning communities. Now that I have some experience in the classroom, I’m ready to get involved.

So, we have circled back to a question I left open in the beginning of the post, “How do you get the confidence to create and participate instead of just consume?” It can be a slow process, at least it has been for me with teaching. Once you have engaged in a community long enough, you come to find that there are people out there just like you! They have the same questions, the same problems, have tried similar solutions, and had similar failures. Is there any reason why your experiences are any less valuable than theirs? Absolutely not! Through engaging in common experiences, we find value in ourselves and our own experiences. Once this connection has been made, we can then start to relate to our peers and become active participants in this New Media Culture.

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