The end is near… a statement such as that demands a bit of context. Not only does this blog post, mark the end of the Assignment 2 for CRN600: Youth, Popular Culture and texts, it is also the final assignment required for the completion of my Masters of Education. Thus, whilst the phrase “the end is near” is appropriate for my situation, I must say it has also been a long time coming. It seems somewhat fitting that the last assignment that I am required to complete in this phase of my studies has a built in personal reflection component, as it affords me the opportunity to not only reflect on my work, but actually articulate it… Something rarely required in higher studies. With this in mind I have intentionally left my final post on this blog until after I have written the before mentioned personal reflection; my hope is that some of my personal discoveries and findings from this journey into the world of blogging may have some wider application and relevance. To help focus this post I have elected to use headings…
The Brave NEW World
I called my first post ‘The Brave New World’ as when it came to the parameters of this task I was in relatively uncharted waters; I had never written comment in a blog post, let alone a post itself. I was even relative unfamiliar with the finer details of Facebook and alike as I don’t have a social media profile on any such site. This lack of familiarity with the genre combined with the relative freedom of topics that we could post on made the initial goings quite tough. The meme below quoting the immeasurable wisdom of Michael Scott (from The Office) best surmise how I found myself starting my first few posts.
However, I eventually overcame this perceived writer’s block, by reminding myself why I chose to study CRN600: Youth, Popular Culture and Texts in the first place; to continue finding ways to excite and engage my students. Studying this unit has allowed me to make new cognitive connections between my students and the ways in which they are interacting with the myriad of forms of new media. Thus, whenever I set out to plan, research and subsequently write a blog post I simply put the following words at the top of the page, ‘How can this help me engage my students?’. With a clear intention, the relevance of the world of blogging and its associated discourses became much easier to navigate.
The Affordances of Blogging
In researching for my blogs my eyes were open to a myriad of media and associated labels that I did not know existed. Terms like trans media and new media had all new relevance and associated scope. Of most help was the discovery of a range of new terms used to define students with regards to their use of technology and social media. The one that stuck with me the most was the term “new millennium learners” (Redecker, Ala-Mutka, Bacigalupo and Punie, 2009). It was only after discovering this term and the associated definition that identified the modern student as someone capable of, “display[ing] complex learning styles that are shaped by the ubiquity, accessibility and ease of use of digital resource” (Redecker et al. 2009 at p.23).
Whilst I was struggling with getting a handle on the voice and tone needing for a blog, let alone the technical aspects of posting; these were things that my students were completely fluent in and as such could perform at ease. It was an eye opening moment, as in that instance I could immediately assimilate with how my students must feel when I tell them that they must present their assignment as an ethnographic report. As such I have realised that as an educator I should be more mindful of the modes in which I require the students to express themselves; whilst there will be times where they need to learn new genres and modes, I should be open to setting assessments in which the students can write in their native tongues.
In continuation of this idea, it is also something that schools and the wider education field as a whole must become considerate of. The revised Australian Curriculum as outlined by the various ACARA documents identify literacy, as one of the key general capabilities that all subjects taught in Australia must integrate. In the overview, literacy is defined as capability that, “involves students listening to, reading, viewing, speaking, writing and creating oral, print, visual and digital texts, and using and modifying language for different purposes in a range of contexts” (Australiancurriculum. edu.au, 2015). In this definition, digital texts are only mentioned in the wider scheme of capability, and there is no explicit mention of any form of media literacy. Having completed this blogging task, as an individual who has been studying in some shape or form at a territory level for over 12 years, I have realised that my digital media literacy was lacking.
Moreover, I find that the suggestion of Bill Boyd (2012) that, “media IS literacy”, to be increasingly true. When I was looking through the sources that I was researching, the sources I presented, and the sources that I intend to use in my classroom going forward, they were all media-based. Nowhere in my reference lists were encyclopedias or textbooks; rather in their place were blogs, RSS feeds, YouTube links and video games. These are the sources that my students want to read and want to use in the classroom, as they are media that they are more familiar with and as such the reading and use of these are what I need to ensure that my students are capable of. However, this is an issue of address that goes beyond the four walls of my classroom; if I want this to be facilitated and for my students to be enabled in their media literacy education, as a whole must be reviewed. This is a view mirrored by the opinion of Boyd (2012) where he supports his view by suggesting that the 20th century goal of education has shifted from being one that ultimately, “was to prepare young people for a life in the factory or the office”, to one that prepares students for life in a world of rapidly developing technology.
Well that is all for now… At least until that newly found urge to explicitly express my thoughts and musings on a collaborative forum raises it head once again. So for the last time, I hope that I have left you, Excited – Engaged – Educated.
Australiancurriculum.edu.au. (2015). Literacy – Introduction – The Australian Curriculum v8.0. Retrieved 24 October 2015, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/generalcapabilities/literacy/introduction/introduction
Boyd, B. (2012). Literacy and the new media landscape. Bill Boyd – The Literacy Adviser. Retrieved from http://literacyadviser.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/literacy-and-the-new-media-landscape/
Kadle, A. (2011). 5 Myths About Digital Natives. [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.upsidelearning.com/blog/index.php/2011/04/07/5-myths-about-digital-natives/
Redecker, C., Ala-Mutka, K., Bacigalupo, M., Ferrari, A. and Punie, Y. (2009). Learning 2.0: The Impact of Web 2.0 Innovations on Education and Traning in Europe. [online] Luxenbourg: Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, 23-81, retrieved from http://europa.eu
Tumblr. (2011). Homer Simpson – The End is Near. [Image]. Retrieved from http://carloscaicedo.tumblr.com/post/5716421835/the-end-is-near
WordPress. (2015). Michael Scott Meme. [Image]. Retrieved from https://bhargavkesavan.wordpress.com/2015/03/14/the-blogger-memes-that-id-enjoyed-laughing/