For loving participatory culture so much, I’m not very good at contributing myself. I love watching parodies and spending (too much) time on YouTube. I enjoy reading other people’s perspectives on my favorite video games series on FanFiction. There is so much to talk about when it comes to this Read/Write culture with new technology. I would have serious problems with ADD trying to mention everything so I’ll try and focus on academia.

Once students know how to read and write, they have the tools they’ll need for participation; they are only limited by their imagination. And perhaps their knowledge of technology. I love that Jenkins ties new media literacies and social skills together. I wouldn’t be at such a disadvantage if I had previously worked on my own new literacy skills.

Jenkins’ statement regarding play is brilliant; it seems like students and people in general who are motivated by something other than an obligation can come up with better ideas faster. For students, having something that is not academic where they are given complete control can result in some astonishing results.

But even Jenkins mentions that some have expressed skepticism that schools should or could teach young people how to play. I can’t remember where I read it, but there was a claim (with substantial evidence) that students don’t actually learn these New Literacy skills in school. It was an article I read for class but I can’t remember which one. They’ve started to blur together. Anyway, it also states that most, if not all of it, takes place outside the classroom. So it would be a waste of time and resources to try and teach such skills in class. Instead, teachers should act as mentors that act as guides.

I believe the good approach would be to ask questions that would promote students to question and think about their logic. Of course, me being me, I have no idea what kind of questions these would be or even where to start. But I’m hoping that I’m on the right track here. The teacher would serve as a kind of moderator instead of the traditional instructor’s role. I think it perfectly correlates with the idea of drawing students into participate and less of a “read/watch/listen only” mentality.

I felt like scholars might be going a bit overboard on the whole idea. I’m not sure if all the factors have been considered. Maybe too many teachers are jumping on the bandwagon at once. I don’t know. The main issue I see with a participatory approach in classrooms is that it only works if the students already have a solid foundation. It would be like having an honors English class and a remedial class. Students in honors English are typically there because they have a vested interest. They are willing to actively engage in conversation about the reading material. Students in remedial English often have problems with reading and writing and some have behavioral problems that would prohibit student led activities. I suppose making smaller classes would make it more manageable for teachers but that would demand for funding which we currently don’t have.

Not to sound boring and repetitive, but I think the best approach would be a balance between teacher and student input. As a student, I can honestly say that I enjoy the occasional PowerPoint or professor driven lecture. It may be boring, but a skilled professor can take a ridiculously dreary subject and turn it into something interesting. I feel like student driven classes can be overbearing at times. With multiple online class blogs and group discussions, it feels as if class never ends. A PowerPoint presentation where all I have to do is sit back and pay attention is a welcome relief. Maybe it’s just my laziness. If so, I’ve got a lot of work to do.


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