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31 MAY 2010

Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century

"Most public policy discussion of new media have centred on technologies–tools and their affordances. The computer is discussed as a magic black box with the potential to create a learning revolution (in the positive version) or a black hole that consumes resources that might better be devoted to traditional classroom activities (in the more critical version).Yet, as the quote above suggests, media operate in specific cultural and institutional contexts that determine how and why they are used. We may never know whether a tree makes a sound when it falls in a forest with no one around. But clearly, a computer does nothing in the absence of a user. The computer does not operate in a vacuum. Injecting digital technologies into the classroom necessarily affects our relationship with every other communications technology, changing how we feel about what can or should be done with pencils and paper, chalk and blackboard, books, films, and recordings.

Rather than dealing with each technology in isolation, we would do better to take an ecological approach, thinking about the interrelationship among all of these different communication technologies, the cultural communities that grow up around them, and the activities they support. Media systems consist of communication technologies and the social, cultural, legal, political, and economic institutions, practices, and protocols that shape and surround them (Gitelman, 1999).The same task can be performed with a range of different technologies, and the same technology can be deployed toward a variety of different ends. Some tasks may be easier with some technologies than with others, and thus the introduction of a new technology may inspire certain uses. Yet, these activities become widespread only if the culture also supports them, if they fill recurring needs at a particular historical juncture. It matters what tools are available to a culture, but it matters more what that culture chooses to do with those tools."

(Henry Jenkins, Katie Clinton, Ravi Purushotma, Alice J. Robison, Margaret Weigel, MacArthur Foundation)

[2] Jenkins, H., K. Clinton, et al. 'Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century', MacArthur Foundation.

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TAGS

affordancesblack box systemblackboardchalkclassroomcommunityconvergence • cultural communities • cultural contextcultural formsdigital media and learningdigital technologieseducationengagementFacebookFriendster • game clans • Henry Jenkins • institutional context • learning revolution • MacArthur Foundation • message boards • metagaming • MITMySpace • new media literacies • participationparticipatory cultureparticipatory learningpedagogypencilpracticessharingsocial constructionismtechnologytransformationuser

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
02 NOVEMBER 2008

Danah Boyd on MyFriends, MySpace

"On June 19 [2008], danah boyd participated in the Berkman Luncheon Series to discuss her work and research in the area of social networks. She provided a great historical context to the various sites that have come and gone from the center of Internet activity, as well as some insight into what brought about their successes and failures.

Prior to her presentation she explained, 'Publics offer youth a space to engage in cultural identity development. By engaging in public life, youth learn to interpret the cultural signals that surround them and incorporate these cultural elements into their life. For a diverse array of reasons, contemporary youth have limited access to the types of publics with which most adults grew up. As a substitute for these inaccessible publics, networked publics like MySpace and Facebook are emerging to provide contemporary American youth with a necessary site for peer engagement.'"

(Berkman Center, 2007)

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
12 MAY 2005

Dodgeball: Location Broadcasting To Friends Via SMS

Matt Hicks
Members create a profile and invite other friends to join their network, similar to Friendster and other consumer social–networking services. When members are out on the town or want others to know their location, they can send a text message to the service through their mobile phones about their geographic location[...].The service matches the location in its database of geo–coded information, triggering the sending of a text message to friends and acquaintances in a member's network who are located within 10 blocks of the member, Crowley said. The service limits connections to two degrees of separation.

This technology only works in selected American states.

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TAGS

acquaintance • Crowley • Dodgeball • friendFriendster • geo-coded • geographic locationGoogle IncHickslocationlocation-basedmobilephoneSMSsocial networktext message
15 MARCH 2005

Friendster: Real-life Social Groups Become Virtual Networks

wired.com
When signing up [to Friendster], users post a picture of themselves and a list of their interests. Crucially, they are also asked to provide a list of their friends and their e–mail addresses. If their friends also sign up, they are asked to confirm their relationship to the inviter. Once these social links are established, users can traverse the entire web of contacts, finding people they'd like to meet and sending them a message.

Friendster is a popular social–networking service opened to the public in March 2003.

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TAGS

community • contacts • Friendsternetworksocial groupsocial networksocial software • web of contacts
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