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Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century (The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media and Learning) [Kindle Edition]

Henry Jenkins , Ravi Purushotma , Margaret Weigel , Katie Clinton , Alice J. Robison
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Many teens today who use the Internet are actively involved in participatory cultures -- joining online communities (Facebook, message boards, game clans), producing creative work in new forms (digital sampling, modding, fan videomaking, fan fiction), working in teams to complete tasks and develop new knowledge (as in Wikipedia), and shaping the flow of media (as in blogging or podcasting). A growing body of scholarship suggests potential benefits of these activities, including opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, development of skills useful in the modern workplace, and a more empowered conception of citizenship. Some argue that young people pick up these key skills and competencies on their own by interacting with popular culture; but the problems of unequal access, lack of media transparency, and the breakdown of traditional forms of socialization and professional training suggest a role for policy and pedagogical intervention.This report aims to shift the conversation about the "digital divide" from questions about access to technology to questions about access to opportunities for involvement in participatory culture and how to provide all young people with the chance to develop the cultural competencies and social skills needed. Fostering these skills, the authors argue, requires a systemic approach to media education; schools, afterschool programs, and parents all have distinctive roles to play.The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media and Learning

Product Description

About the Author

Henry Jenkins is Provost's Professor of Communication, Journalism and Cinematic Arts at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California. He is the coeditor of From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games (MIT Press, 1998).

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 853 KB
  • Print Length: 145 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (5 Jun. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0030DFWZM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #17,533 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book 12 Dec. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's a good book and has some useful quotes in it however I thought it would've had more about convergence but it was free so I can't really complain.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The importance of technology and media in the classroom. 24 July 2010
By DWD's Reviews - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Henry Jenkins has written several books dealing with technology, media, bloggers, gamers and the like. Now with Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century he has added education to the mix.

Jenkins notes several important things about the future of education (which interested me as a teacher). Formal education must address technology. It cannot be just paper and pencil. Technology is part of the modern world's media - it is not just newspapers, books, magazines, TV and movies. There are blogs, social media and a new one I hadn't really considered: video games.

Jenkins encourages the use of video games to teach. There are already several games such as Sims and the various history-based empire building games that teach rules and strategies for life. Jenkins cites the example of a young man who learned a lot about Rome (and through Rome, the structures of all societies) by playing an online game, Caesar 3. The lessons learned were interesting, but the costs was too prohibitive for any school to use. It was not monetary costs (more on that down below) but the time costs. This young man invested hundreds of hours into this game. That cannot be done in a classroom, clearly, nor can I, as a teacher, guarantee that I can find anything like this that all, or even most, of my students can find a similar interest in.

But, the point is made and it is true - modern American students must be familiar with technology of all sorts.

Jenkins makes three other important points:

1) Students must be able to interpret and verify the value of all sorts of media. It is hard for students to distinguish advertising from more objective media. Students also fall for the age old problem of judging a book by its cover. They tend to think that the more polished the website, the more accurate its information. Let's admit it, it is easy to make that mistake and requires judgment based on knowledge and experience to overcome that bias.

2) There is a technological divide. Poorer students have less access. Students who have other interests chose to access less (a topic Jenkins only brushes). How do schools attempt to bridge this divide? I don't know that they truly can. Schools have computers and programs but, as any experienced computer user knows, it is quite expensive to keep up with technology.

If a school buys a desk, it is usable for a decade, maybe longer. It is current and does not need upgrading and minimal maintenance. Any computer a school buys is nearly out of date by the time it is installed. The programs are not current and buying the newest and latest cna cost hundreds of dollars for each copy for each computer in which it is installed, or thousands upon thousands for site licenses. Throw in to that the personnel to maintain the computers, the infrastructure to make them more usable and you're talking millions of dollars for a modern American high school. Millions of dollars that has to be re-invested every few years for upgrades and replacements.

To go back to the desks, it is very possible that the first school I taught in (1990-1993) is using the same student desks that were there when I taught. That school had 3 Apple Macintosh computers in the whole building. That's it. No classroom computers. Schedules were done by hand. Attendance was taken on paper. Since then, they've made a massive investment in servers, labs, printers, wires, projectors and it all has to be upgraded all of the time.

In a time of massive budget cuts, some of this becomes mere theory rather than practical discussion.

3) To his credit, Jenkins does not recommend that the computer/media literacy he espouses become a separate class. Rather, he encourages its integration into all classes. While this sounds like a way to get around the time issue (how can you fit a computer/media literacy class into a schedule that is so full as to prohibit many students from making any true choices in their schedule as it is?) this still takes time out of every class and practically guarantees the education he seeks will stay at the very basic level throughout the student's time in school.

So, to sum up, Jenkins makes plenty of observations on the value of technology to education - all of which I have no doubt are quite true. But, in our present educational climate I am not seeing many of these proposals moving from theory into genuine action.

Parents, it always has been and always will be up to you to fill in the blanks that a general education leaves and encourage your child. Technology is no different. Reading this book will give a parent an idea of where to go and how to proceed.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Timely and Informative 17 Sept. 2010
By Dr. Bojan Tunguz - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There are many salient features of the new media that has arisen over the past couple of decades, but perhaps the most important of these is the way that it has changed the way information is being consumed. None of us watch news passively any more, nor do we just use technology only in the ways that it was originally intended. We comment on the news article stories, either on the news sites themselves or even more prevalently today by sharing them with our social circles of friends. We also modify products or combine them with others in order to suit our own intentions and purposes. All of these actions are characteristics of the new "participatory culture," and this report illustrates how this culture is increasingly changing and shaping our lives.

One of the more interesting aspects of this book is a positive attitude towards video games. The author argues, against a lot of skepticism that is still present in society at large, that video games can be an interesting and useful educational vehicle and that educators need to help kids with getting the most benefit from playing. There has been a lot of research done on this topic, and the overwhelming consensus is that video games are overall mostly beneficial for the young people, even when it comes to socialization and civic engagement. With that in view it is not a radical or even controversial premise that using video games in an educational setting is wrongheaded.

This report also takes an issue with the whole notion that creative endeavors necessarily ought to be completely original, independent of all previous cultural influences. The author emphasizes the fact that most great creative individuals in the past (Homer, Shakespeare, Michelangelo) have freely borrowed others themes and ideas, and in the process created invaluable original works of art. The author advocates a much more unrestrained approach to fostering the creativity of the young people and gives several examples of how this could be achieved.

The report concludes with many good suggestions for parents, teachers and other who have a stake in promoting the technological literacy amount the young. This is a very well presented case for a more active educational engagement with the new and emerging technologies.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Creative Spur 12 Aug. 2010
By Kevin L. Nenstiel - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Like many teachers who grew up before the current media-saturated generation, I feel inordinately intimidated by the push to integrate new media technology into my classroom. Henry Jenkins says this fear is not unreasonable, but if I hope to do my students justice in this volatile world, I must see my way past this limitation. His intensive scholarly study makes many suggestions, but at the end, I feel more informed than empowered.

Jenkins asserts that the majority of students with access to new media already create their own content. This opens doors because, as active participants rather than passive recipients, these youth take a proactive role in their own education. Students active in media creation, from video production and cosplay to fan fiction, sampling and remixing, and online book reviewing (!) already have a leg up on the challenges of our participatory media landscape. Though Jenkins elides my concerns about how to channel those hundreds of hours of "The Sims Online" to academically productive ends, he makes a convincing case.

I can't help but note that some of Jenkins' new-media suggestions seem remarkably familiar. For instance, he speaks glowingly of one teacher's experiment in "beta-reading," in which students use online tools to read and comment on other students' drafts, helping peers (and, hopefully, themselves) improve core writing skills. When I was an undergraduate, we did that in the classroom, with hard-copy manuscripts, and we called it "workshopping." Similarly, Jenkins extols teachers who use web tools to simulate real-world politics and social movements. But when I was fourteen, back in those pre-Web days, my Social Studies teacher had us conduct opinion polls and mock debates to grasp the issues in play during the 1988 Presidential election. No tech required.

I could go on, but my point is, Jenkins' suggestions will be most influential to teachers (and I supect Jenkins would agree) when they serve education's established, traditional goals. New media technology can make education more intense, more ambitious, and paradoxically, more decentralized. Tech doesn't supplant conventional classroom teaching; rather, the new supplements the old.

But we run aground on a simple yet penetrating concern. Toward the end, Jenkins laments, "There are few, if any, books that offer parents advice on how to make these choices or provide information about the media landscape." Parents, yes, though I could say the same about teachers, too. Even Jenkins himself, for all his good suggestions, is more wide-ranging than in-depth. Tech advances so fast that, were I to invest in keeping up with the newest advances, I couldn't stay abreast of developments in my own field. In the choice between the two, who can blame me for preferring the area where I have a higher degree over the area where even paid experts strain to keep up?

Jenkins and his research team leave me and other teachers with a lot to think about. I hope to apply new tech concepts in my own classroom in coming semesters. And I thank Jenkins for his clarity, writing with a minimum of jargon and keeping a diverse audience in mind. But this study is more of a spur to thinking than a guide to action. I will need to do more research if I hope to apply Jenkins' principles in my classroom.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overemphasis on Potential of "Game Theory" in terms of Pedagogy 24 Jan. 2011
By David Williams - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The author's, Jenkins, intent is laudable, looking at media and media technology is a most relevant topic and especially relevant when focused on academic institutions. Supported by several other books (cross referenced and cited by other pubs available at Amazon), Jenkins being the archetype regarding the subject, the primary thesis is based on an analysis of media and institutional biases in an anecdotal and empirical manner.

Though accurate in the assessment, Jenkins' anecdotal and empirical methods of measurement fall short of flushing out the core or systemic issues, my reading of the book left me wanting to see more elaborate proposals specifying more rigorous analytical methodologies. More disappointing though, Jenkins makes "gaming" a nearly unquestionable means of enhancing multi-media approaches in pedagogy for use in academic "like" environments. The content and the emphasis stressed in the overt narrative, one that considers gaming and simulation as a pedagogical panacea thus undermines, what I believe to be a sound a reasonable argument to "traditional academic institutions", the tenant and call to action made by Jenkins. Additionally, the assertion that rethinking pedagogy in a new media culture is "right on", but, Jenkins does little to provide specific courses of action (examples and anecdotal cases are used but aren't very useful for the layperson).

Topic/Subject ratings: subject 5, topics 4, analysis 2, emphasis 2, bias 1 (so a sound 2.75) though amazon doesn't allow me to score it that way.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a new era of cybercy 10 Jan. 2011
By Stephen Pellerine - Published on
I think that this book is a fabulous composite of ideas and trends that are, and have been, encroaching on society. From the days of oral communications we have moved on to a litarate one, and now enter a new era of cybercy (I first heard this fro Catalina Laserna).

What I like most about this short easy read, is how it looks literacy education directly in the eye and I feel brings the philosophy of what literacy instruction can indeed do. Not only is literacy education a matter of reading and writing, but a tool to promote collective thinking and a way to develop the collective intellect of groups, societies, and nations.

The 21st century has brought some changes that are altering what we do and how we do things. Pedagogy will need to follow this. If this area of education is your cup of tea I feel this is an essential read, and while you are at it why not look at Warschauer (see link).

Technology and Social Inclusion: Rethinking the Digital Divide
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