Big Thinkers: Henry Jenkins on New Media and Implications for Learning and Teaching. The USC media professor describes the role of digital media in cultural transformation
After reading a blog on filtering sites in our schools from Kim Brown, I spent some time watching and reflecting on Henry Jenkins’ views about today’s educational practices and the need to transform practices to actively include the student as part of a mastery role in hopes to provide owner and authorship to the realities that students face today.
The fact that some sites are being filtered in our schools today provide students a disservice according to Jenkins. Some kids only have access to computers during school hours and if we prevent students from using sites to socialize or gather information, we are stripping away a valuable educational experience from our kids. According to Jenkins we are creating a participation gap, “it’s not just about the access to technology, its access to learning experiences, to social skills and cultural competencies to a sense of empowerment and entitlement which allow them to fully be participants in this new society that is emerging”.
By not allowing kids to use and transfer their knowledge via technology in schools, we are devaluing the learning taking place as students feel their learning experiences are unrealistic to the world they occupy on a regular basis. This disjoint between reality and practice continues to expand and our students don’t get a feeling of ownership and authorship that is crucial in expanding their learning and keeping them versed in this age of technology.Also, students today need to know how to take information and effectively use it to perpetuate the understanding around ideas presented by others without infringing on copyrights and as teachers we need to teach them how to effectively intermingle their ideas with ideas from others without taking credit away from creators of content.
Imagine how engaged students would be if we mirrored educational practices and curricular objectives with the issues that plague students in today’s rich informational world, mainly using technology. We need to teach kids technological efficiencies and how to effectively incorporate technology into their learning. Without the infusion of technology into our schools and practices, students will turn elsewhere to learn how to use technology with or without our guidance and mastery in which I personally feel we run into the problem of recycling “uneducated” information and technological practices. We need to keep students actively engaged and by promoting awareness and proper etiquette techniques we allow our students to remain competitive in the global markets of information and technology.
21st Century Education Remix
Structural innovation is the new initiative be implemented in all schools under our school board within the next couple of years. Student centered, real life situations are being developed to immerse students into their own learning by creating an active role in problem solving and real life dilemmas in hopes of ultimately providing a rich learning experience for students to find engagement and intrinsic motivation to learn. These type of activities are termed augmented-realities. To watch a TED video in which Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry demo SixthSense discuss this new technology go here.
Unfortunately, along with these initiatives, we are blocking access to learning avenues by filtering important informational sites in schools preventing students from learning how to incorporate legal aspects, social norms and proper etiquette surrounding the use of the Internet and all of its informational advantages.
In order for this activity based, student centered transition to be completed, teachers need access to all avenues of information on the Internet, proper implementation practices must be rich in providing confidence and competencies in technology incorporation and supports must remain viable via in-school collaborations, PD intitiatives and strong networking between teachers, administrators and IT staff. Jenkins suggests that we need to build on line communities for teachers that they can trust in order to succeed.
Our education paradigm is shifting in the ways that we teach with augmented-reality games becoming a promising form of educating students as it combines real life situations with current technological practices in which students solve problems plaguing today’s society.
Some questions that Jenkins proposes are:
1. How are schools limiting kids’ access to digital tools? Do you agree with these policies?
2. Do you see the participation gap in your school and community?
3. How do we create shared learning opportunities across generations?
4. Are schools ready to give up control to kids, families, and communities of learning? What are the opportunities and challenges?
5. What does authorship mean in the digital age? How do we teach it to kids?