Living and Learning with New Media Reflection


I wonder if it might be considered clever to put the highlighted sections from this reading in a blog post. It would certainly demonstrate some technical skill on my part to have saved the reading to my iPad’s Good Reader app and then some further skill by having had the ability to alter the document as I read it, assigning value to the highlighted sections before presenting them here. My previous post on HO, MA & GO was perhaps less than detailed though very genuine. No, I suppose I should add my own commentary as well. Let’s see what had an impact on me from this reading:

This should help put some parents at ease: Social and recreational new media use as a site of learning. Contrary to adult perceptions, while hanging out online, youth are picking up basic social and technological skills they need to fully participate in contemporary society. Erecting barriers to participation deprives teens of access to these forms of learning. Participation in the digital age means more than being able to access “serious” online information and culture. Youth could benefit from educators being more open to forms of experimentation and social exploration that are generally not characteristic of educational institutions.

As well as this: While the pace of technological change may seem dizzying, the underlying practices of sociability, learning, play, and self-expression are undergoing a slower evolution, growing out of resilient social and cultural structures that youth inhabit in diverse ways in their everyday lives. 

I have always believed that education should be about more than just a march towards a paycheque. Is the digital age one of the signs that this may become a reality?

Rather than assuming that education is primarily about preparing for jobs and careers, what would it mean to think of it as a process guiding youths’ participation in public life more generally? 

As I am learning through study (and more slowly and painfully through application) networks and networking are becoming the norm in learning and will become more so as skills replace knowledge as requisite life and job skills. The ability to continually learn through the application of RSS feeds, social networks and other new media may arguably become the new survival skills of the digital age. Many “youth” are positioned to take full advantage of this new landscape.

Rather than conceptualize everyday media engagement as “consumption” by “audiences,” the term “networked publics” places the active participation of a distributed social network in producing and circulating culture and knowledge in the foreground. The growing salience of networked publics in young people’s everyday lives is an important change in what constitutes the social groups and publics that structure young people’s learning and identity.

Geeks are being social: Contrary to popular images of the socially isolated geek, almost all geeking out practices we observed are highly social and engaged, although not necessarily expressed as friendship-driven social practices.

Don’t get scared, get on board. Things aren’t that different but they are changing. Understand in order to get the most out of this evolution in human learning styles:

Adults who stand on the other side of a generation gap can see these new practices as mystifying and, at times, threatening to existing social norms and educational standards. Although we do not believe that youth hold all the answers, we feel that it is crucial to listen carefully to them and learn from their experiences of growing up in a changing media ecology. 

These are just a few of the many ways in which my thinking in relation to new media is changing. I also agree with what I read about the tools we use having an impact on how we think and learn. Stay tuned.

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About Sean Thompson

Sean has accepted a position as the Director of Technology at The Early Learning Centre, City School, in Bangkok. He is excited to be working with Giovanni Piazza and the rest of the staff to raise awareness of digital-age teaching and learning practice in this Reggio Emilia inspired environment. Sean is also an Apple Distinguished Educator, an International Baccalaureate Educator Network Workshop Leader and a Google Educator available for professional development at your school.
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