Participatory media literacy: it does matter

This post is one small link in a chain started for me by A J Cann in a post on his Emerge blog, The P word, fed from Science of the Invisible that linked to Michael Wesch’s post, Participatory Media Literacy: why it matters, referring to “… Howard Rheingold’s great little article, Participative Pedagogy for a Literacy of Literacies,” I am reminded of my colleagues at Brookes, who regularly observe that students show a highly uncritical approach to the media with which they saturate their world (and by which it is saturated). Undergraduate use of the Web for learning was studied in a large multi-method research project aimed to evaluate learner experience of e-learning at Oxford Brookes University, Exploring patterns of student learning technology use, reported at Networked Learning 2008.

Among some of the key findings were that, “Most students used the Web extensively to find resources to support their University studies. Fewer students used some of the most popular Web 2.0 services such as social bookmarking and contributing to wikis and blogs.” This supports Wesch’s observation that students avoid participation in favour of consumption and, as Cann put it, regurgitation. Further, “…there was little or no relationship between student use of online media and their views on choice in their studies and perceptions of learning community.”

As Wesch has said, we do not want to use new media technology in teaching because our students want us to, but precisely because they don’t! Counter intuitive? Maybe. But, a much stronger case than trying to get down with the kids.

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