Monday, February 28, 2011

Evan's Blog 6, concept map 3

This week's readings covered participatory media and web 2.0 media which empower users and allow them to interact with the artifacts that they consume on the Internet. My concept map is meant to start with a constructionist theory of learning at the top, which is enhanced by the modularity, manipulation, automation, and transcoding characteristics that we learned in the Lev Manovich reading. My map then slips into two of the readings from this week -- Shirky and Greenhow. The Shirky reading addresses the social theory of how the Internet has made it much easier to communicate information. I then site how Shirky refers to individual/one-to-one communication (sharing), which is the easiest form of communication; and group/many-to-many communication (cooperation and collaborative action), which are much more difficult to accomplish. At the other end of my concept map, I focus on the Greenhow readings and how she describes the process of learning. Greenhow talks more about the skills involved in the learning process (personal identification, playful learning, role playing, reflection, sharing), which relates directly to Piaget and constructionism.

In terms of been “what is ‘new media literacy’”, I'd say it is all about exploration and reflection of yourself. All of the readings (especially Greenhow and Jenkins) stress the important skills involved in learning, sharing, storytelling, creative and analytical thinking, and so much more. The more we can play and have opportunities to exhibit these skills, the better. Even more important is the ability to share your experiences with others. This way, you can get feedback and teach through learning. Likewise, as Shirky states, ‘new media literacy’ is all about being able to form complex connections with others. It is relatively easy to share information on an individual basis, but it is much more difficult to agree on an idea (cooperation), and even more difficult to carry-out a collective action (collaborative action).

However, in order to make users/students more aware of their learning process and the skills that they are using, they have to slow down and challenge them and make them more aware of their own usage of technology. If we just throw games at students, all they will do is play. As teachers (and anyone else who wants to use technology to its greatest potential), we have to guide our students/users. The more we engage students/users to become aware of and challenge their own habits, and be able to share their stories with others, the more they will learn. The environment has to be open enough where students/users can learn at their own pace, yet structured enough where teachers/superiors can give guidance and track the students'/users' progress.

In my own experiences in this class, I can easily see how easy it is to share, but how difficult it is to cooperate on an idea and then to act on it. For instance, it is easy to reflect on my own experiences via a blog or make my own comments via VoiceThread. However, it was significantly harder for me to coordinate ideas when I was a discussion leader. Likewise, it is hard to understand how someone made Scratch project just by looking at their end result and a blog post. This is complicated even more because many people post on Sunday night, so there is a lot of information overload and little time to reflect, explore, and respond. In my other class, summarizing our weekly readings on blog and then commenting with our group was a much easier activity because we still met in class to discuss things, which was more structured. In this class, everything is online and there is less structure because there is no lecture material for us to fall back on during the week. Everything is based on comments is based on class discussion and peer communication, which is fun, but I like a more structured environment.


  1. Evan,
    I am interested in what you thought of Prensky's "Digital Native Digital Immigrant" article? Can you share your thoughts and feedback regarding his work? How did you relate? What did you agree or disagree with in that article?

  2. I really liked Prensky's article and I do agree that teachers, many of whom are digital immigrants, need to rethink and restructure how they teach they teach their students, many of whom are digital natives. I do think that digital native's learning habits are very different from previous generations and thus need to be approached differently.

    I can easily relate to this from my Informatics Multimedia and technology classes. In this class, we were engaged very differently from a normal lecture-- we wrote blogs based on the readings to enhance discussion, and had debates in class where we could discuss the most important topics and talk about real life examples. Using these methods, I was able to take in information more holistically rather than just passively listening to a lecture.

    I also have an example of a teacher who taught in a very traditional manner. It was a course where we used audio and video editing tools. However, the lessons were very outdated and were all in text (no video). It was a poor experience.

    However, I do not totally agree with everything Prensky says. I enjoy a more structured learning environment-- I do not work better at faster pace, and nor do I always multi-task. I also disagree with Prenksy when says that everything must be taught in the language of digital natives. I think the traditional form of teaching can be useful, especially for students like me who want more structure and guidance. Likewise, the traditional methods ought to be supplemented (not replaced) by new methods of teaching, like class discussions and debates, games, thought experiments, projects, and other more inclusive methods of teaching. There are new minds out there that need to be engaged differently than ever before, but the engagement does not need to be as drastic as Prensky seems to describe.