Blog Post

DML Panel: Participatory Culture Reconsidered: Moving Beyond Rainbows, Unicorns and Butterflies

Rafi Santo:

New Media LIteracies: Ability to effectively evaluate info. Remix what you find. Work collaboratively. Departure from traditional paradigm: Educational technology not about using tools, emphasis on mastering technology.

Media literacy: focus on critical mindset.

1st Wave ML: empowerment against broadcast media

2nd wave media literacy ("New"): empowerment through new media.

#hashtag allow us to organize conferences and revolutionspowerful way to organize information and knowledge, critical means of participation. User-generated. Through technical understanding (how search functions work) and social understanding (recognizing needs). Example of New Media Literacy.

Facebook: Reclaim Privacy app. Using technical skills to create a tool that changes way people use a platform.

Alex Harbinger: Resident of Teen SecondLIfe. Held Second Life protest to unify Teen SecondLife and SecondLife grid. Represents way of thinking about socio-technologies as malleable.


3rd Wave Media LIteracy ("Hacker Literacy"): Empowerment in relation to participatory tools, platforms and communities

How can we empower youth to resist, revise and reinvent the digital spaces?


Cassidy Puckett:

How do we measure what kids learn in digital learning?

General skills developed: Meta-linguistic knowledge, willingness to try and fail, independent learning and practice, use of models

Technology specific skills learnined: design logic, efficiencies, troubleshooting

Technology could be designed to provide feedback to help students go back and figure out what they did wrong.


Jenna McWilliams:

Power and empowerment in terms of activism with kids

Telling kids they could make a difference, but we were wrong, weren't able to provide students with tools to deal with what happens when they are unable to make a difference.

Developing stronger community ties through digital technologies that helped them to survive the closure of their school. Alternative school for marginalized students. After school closed down, they still kept communicating with peers and teachers through FB to get support for education. Students using technology to get each other to continue coming to school, support each other. Making sense of what it means to be a marginalized member of the communitythey were speaking articulately and they were being ignored. How do we talk about what counts as participation in participatory culture? Does it need to be online, public, visible, empowered, etc?

Dominant discourse resilences students by saying they don't understand civics by reducing civics to specific facts.


Ugochi Acholonu:

How do we allow students to interact with technology? How do we teach it?

Tech has potential for large-scale transformation. Tech is empowering for the individual.

Appropriation is key method for empowerment with technology. Technology is malleable, which allows us to use it to transform our environment. Technology can be used at local level.

Participation gap: Not everybody has access to same contexts for learning how to use technology.

How are individuals positioned differently to interact with technology? How do these positions affect how they use it?

3 Positional identities possible:

1. Material agency: Is there an app for that?

2. Disciplinary agency: Because, this is how we do it.

3. Conceptual agency: I am master of the universe.

Conceptual agency best equips individuals to appropriate technology to respond to need that isn't being met (ie, what happens when existing technology fails).

Even if the student has an idea of how to appropriate technology, his/her positional identity can cause them to give the power over to technology, to have a passive relationship with technology.

Positional identity provides a way to think about appropriation in relation to the participation gap.

What happens if empowering students with technology succeeds, and it doesn't look the way we want it to?


Questions and Comments

UA: You can't just give students technology and expect them to immediately be savvy. There is a cultural relationship/expectation that affects how students will use it.

JM: Difference between success and failure can be fragile. Social structures matter. Participatory culture doesn't completely change the fact that some people will never have a voice, will always be marginalized.

RS: Social and power structures impact how we are able to use participatory culture. What is the role of designers in making the tools transparent and useable?

Audience: We need to acknowledge the limitations and the dark side of technology.

RS: What's different now? If I wanted to change a hammer, I'd have to go to the guy who made it, convince him, and get him to do it. But with Web2.0, designers need to constantly be aware of users; constantly changing; obvious that it is designed space; architecture of Internet based on hackability

JM: privileged people are the ones who are best able to shape tools; need to think about who has access

Audience: Why conceptual agency over material agency? Conceptual agency seems to be rooted in material agency. What are the pedagogical effects?

UA: Even though somebody else designed the tool, the individual should always be in the driver's seat. That's where appropriation comes in. Our job as educators is to get students to take back the power. Useability actually discourages us from using technology like the iPad in different ways.

Audience: How do we make the computer culturally and historically relevant to students from communities who aren't a part of that historical development? The struggle makes it relevant to them. The tool then becomes meaningful to them in the context of their own struggle, their own needs.

RS: It's about exposing those places where the tool is relevant to the student.


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