From page 170 of Henry Jenkins’ new book “Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide“:
None of us really know how to live in this era of media convergence, collective intelligence and participatory culture. These changes are producing anxieties and uncertainties, even panic, as people imagine a world without gatekeepers and live with the reality of expanding corporate media power.
Just as we would not traditionally assume that someone is literate if they can read but not write, we should not assume that someone possesses media literacy if they can consume but cannot express themselves.
I wonder to what extent he means express themselves publically. I think this is what’s really hard for many educators to get their brain around, and to be honest, I waffle on whether teachers need to be content creators or just have to understand the potential for their students. Some of that ambivalence may be because of the look of fatigue that comes over many people’s faces when I suggest it, and the frequency with which I get asked how I find the time to learn and do all of this. (Answer: I have no life.) But I do think publishing literacy is crucial these days. Not just from the technical aspect of blogging and podcasting, but from the philosophical aspect of sharing and collaboration as well.
I just had a flash of reflection on my own experiences with all of this, that the tools were relatively easy, but the expectations of sharing widely and freely are still issues that I struggle with. Not as much as before, but as recent posts indicate, it’s still there.
And just one more extended quote from the book (page 179) to whet some appetites:
More and more, educators are coming to value the learning that occurs in these informal and recreational spaces, especially as they confront the constraints imposed on learning via educational policies that seemingly value only what can be counted on a standardized test. if children are going to acquire the skills needed to be full participants in their culture, they may well learn these skills through involvement in activities such as editing the newspaper of an imaginary school or teaching one another skills needed to do well in massively multiplayer games or any number of other things that teachers and parents currently regard as trivial pursuits.
I’ll let you read the section on “Rewriting School” yourselves…
technorati tags:Henry_Jenkins, Schoo, culture, education, schools, learning
Bud Hunt says
We all need to be creating something. If we’re teaching content creation/manipulation/mashing-up/critical thinking/etc., then we probably better be engaged in the process ourselves.
That’s not a new idea. The National Writing Project has for 25 years been saying that the best teachers of writing are writers themselves. The same holds true of other content areas, I think. Everyone should be taking information in, processing it, and expressing their understanding in some way — regardless of subject area.
Tom Hoffman says
Yeah, while it is pretty easy to come along and say “that’s not a new idea,” when the point is question is something like “they may well learn these skills through involvement in activities such as editing the newspaper of an imaginary school” it is hard not to point out that the student’s school has probably had a REAL newspaper since the ’50’s, if not the ’20’s. And American schools have historically burst at the seams with extracurricular activities: sports, band, clubs, etc. If this is technically not “informal learning” it is close.
Graham Wegner says
My boss has a pretty good attitude to taking on new things and it could apply here to the idea of teachers becoming digital content creators. If you want to add something new into your already over full professional life, then something has to drop off to create that space. Perhaps it’s time for the teaching profession to let go of some things that are less important than grappling with the demands of info-overload world. Teachers always want to keep what they always had and done and then try and add more to that – let’s get rid of some of the red tape rubbish we feel compelled to over emphasise and even give up some of the window dressing activities that absorb time in schools. Otherwise this profession slips further and further behind and the gap between those educators looking for the bleeding edge and those who just don’t want to know will be completely out of reach.
Will Richardson says
Tom…I guess I should have pointed out that the student in question doesn’t have a school. She’s homeschooled. In the past, she would not have had the opportunity to reach an audience of this size on her own. And as Jenkins points out, her motivation to do this is because of her passion for Harry Potter, not necessarily her passion for writing. I’m going to post more about the book later.
Tom Macdonald says
I am a new arrival in the blogging world (Monday, BLC’06) and have been wondering about my own public presence and why it’s important for students. A clear (pedagogical) reason for blogging is that it can model for students an approach to communicating and learning.
In the best classrooms, teachers who don’t blog themselves are probably figuring out how to become involved through their students’ activities. I read somewhere recently something like: the technology has finally caught up with human creativity (this is wrong and point me to the quote if you know it…), that is, blogging is a social phenomenon that has little to do with the technology but alot to do with human interaction.
So what teacher shouldn’t be paying close attention — and a good way to do that is to blog. I’ve tried a bit, but haven’t gotten the groove of it…I take to heart your observation that reading is an essential part of blogging. Again, what teacher shouldn’t be all over this!
Being a content creator means different things to different people in different mediums…I don’t have a sense yet of my blog “voice”, but I do know that it’s irresponsible to lurk. This may not mean having my own blog, though I’ll continue to work on it, but it definitely means diving in not only for my own sense of content creation but maybe more importantly for my students.
I first got involved with telecommunications working with adult Haitian immigrants fifteen years- we were excited when we were able to create a book of Haitian herbal home remedies and HTML publish it to the world (illustrated). I believe in content creation as fundamental to good learning and I’ve seen its power.
Teachers have a serious role right now as all these content creation capacities emerge. I need to wrestle with my own “public” speaking – as I imagine a lot of teachers do – but there’s no question that I need to participate, experiment, and explore the blogging world at least enough so that I can collaborate with, guide and encourage what students are already doing in the blog world.
(I hope this is on topic…maybe too long as a comment?? Is there a protocol on length?)
Well, as a teacher for the past 14 years, my mouth is left hanging open at the world created with Web 2.0. I just learned about blogging five days ago and in that time, I set up a blog to see what my students will do with it when they come rolling through the doors in two weeks. Yet, now I am in a bigger dilemma than ever as I struggle with how to teach thousands of years of history and also include all this new technology as well. I am at times criticized for focusing too much on skill building and life strategies rather than content. So the ease of making wikis (yet another new thing I learned this past week), making student web pages, and blogs has me drowning. I am the CEO of my classroom so ultimately I decide what to do, how I do it and how long it takes. Teaching at an independent private school makes it easier on me than others in the public sector. I am left wondering if I will be strong enough to re-invent my class and trash some of the old things and make room for this new technology.
Following Denise’s comment regarding time and how to manage the ever growing number of possibilities…I’m new to this blog so perhaps this thread has been discussed previously, but as an early Internet innovator in my classroom (had the first connection on a pre-286 PC that was set up by the computer adept friend of my son (age 13)before the days of the www etc.) I still struggle-almost even more today- with how to manage the possiblities…and they grow expotentially. I haven’t yet read Jenkin’s new book, but the quotes given just here will be enough to set my mind spinning for days.