Helping Educators Learn About New Media Practices

Although the book,  Teaching Tech-Savvy Kids Bringing Digital Media Into the Classroom, Grades 5-12, highlighted in these  interviews by Henry Jenkins with author Jessica Parker and additional contributors is geared toward educators, the conversations and content are also applicable to librarians who work with youth in a public or school library setting.   You can read both Part 1 and Part 2 of Henry Jenkins’ interview on his blog, Confessions of an Aca-Fan. Here is a short excerpt from Part 1 of the interview:

With regard to new media practices making youth less literate, it’s a version of an old argument that surfaces every time there’s a new wave of practice. Each new wave of media practices encounters resistance. Literary scholar, Nina Baym (2006), chronicles magazine and journal articles from the early 1800’s in which editors asserted the need for reviewers to exercise surveillance and provide direction to the newly literate masses who had taken up the habit of reading fiction. Novels were dangerous! There was a similar kind of backlash in response to comic books. If anyone had taken that criticism seriously we would never have the incredible array of graphic novels we enjoy today.

As Henry Jenkins has pointed out, the critical change in the latest of the new literacies is that of convergence. The problem with “either/or” thinking with regard to traditional and digital literacy is that it fails to capture the experiences of youth. The child who is reading a novel from a traditional text, or listening to it on her ipod, downloading it onto her e-book, and visiting a website where she can play a game as a character from the book, participate in a forum discussion, and answer challenge questions, is transforming the practices of reading and writing. The sad fact is that she is not allowed to bring her e-book to school, even though some of her classmates wear outfits that cost more than her Kindle. She only sees a computer when her teacher beats out the thirty other teachers attempting to sign-up for the school’s only computer lab on Wednesday, after lunch. Though at home she rarely writes with a pen, during the school day it is the only tool she is allowed to use in most of her classes. Even her cell phone must be kept in her locker or it will be confiscated.

Chapters in the book include:

1. Understanding Youth and New Media

2. Hanging Out With Friends: MySpace, Facebook and Other Networked Publics

3. YouTube: Creating, Connecting and Learning Through Video

4. Wikipedia: The Online Encyclopedia Based on Collaborative Knowledge

5. Role Playing: Writing and Performing Beyond the Classroom

6. Virtual Worlds: Designing, Playing and Learning

7. Remix Culture: Digital Music and Video Remix, Opportunities for Creative

8. Conclusion

You can also join the website/social network  for the book for supporting content and discussions related to the themes of the text:

Writing Visually: YouTube, New Media Literacy, and the College Admissions Race

Henry Jenkins: Fandom, Literacy, and Scholarship

Reading, writing, and understanding words on a page won’t cut it anymore. In a digitized world, Henry says young people need new skills that go way beyond basic composition and comprehension. Skills like play (“the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of problem-solving”), collective intelligence (“the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal”), and transmedia navigation (“the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities”).
~Henry Jenkins~

Read this April 16 article at Boing Boing in which Henry Jenkins discusses the relationship between fandom and literacy:

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