To Converge or Not to Converge…

Jonathan Alexander raises important questions in his article about media and convergence and the impact those have on the academic world.  He poses the question “What kinds of literacy practices are students developing through their use and composition of multimodal and new media texts?” and I wished he had an answer but instead goes into questioning and defining convergence itself, implying perhaps that new media and digital literacy in the academic world are too new to have concrete answers.  Perhaps the answers are already out there and we just can’t recognize them because we haven’t entered/accepted this “New Paradigm for Understanding Media Change” and its place in the academic world.  (Jenkins) We keep looking and waiting for data, studies, articles and academic proof that literacy is promoted through the use of new media in the classroom, running the risk of participating in a new wave of learning, thinking and creating that could be happening right in our own classrooms.  Alexander puts it as trying to ” ‘keep up’ ” with the evolving world of literacy and its relationship to media.  As an undergrad I took a Philosophy class entitled “Literature and Film” where we did not watch movies made from novels, but instead looked at how literary conventions such as narrative, dialogue, scenery and auteur theory also have academic weight in the world of film.  I would have never had this class if I was not an English, Film or Philosophy major and would have missed out on enriching my understanding of English Literature and its relevance in a new media, film.  Composition classes are perfect arenas for all students to experiment with multimodal learning and forms of  new media to enrich their reading and writing skills not only for personal exploration but to keep up with what is happening in the world.  Students who might not have time, money or intuition to take a class like Film and Literature to expand and enrich their studies might need composition classes to introduce them to the different types of media and why/how accessing, consuming, producing, thinking critically about and writing about these new forms of media are academically and socially relevant.  There are more opportunities and potentials for new success with the convergence of new media in society and the academic world.


One comment on “To Converge or Not to Converge…

  1. Nicole, you bring up an interesting point about English Composition being the gateway class into the university. I always saw the freshmen English composition class as a place where we introduce students to the many disciplines in the university: history, political science, science, anthropology, sociology, etc. But I never thought of it as a place where we may introduce the kinds of new media that they might encounter later as juniors and seniors. At first, I was kind of opposed to focusing so much on new media in a composition class for fear that this is something they can learn later in more depth in their major classes. But you bring up the interesting point that they might not even be exposed enough to develop an interest in it unless compositionists decide to incorporate it in their classes. I see the issue a little differently now.

    I agree too that new media might be to new to conclusively define how it shapes literacy practices in college.

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