I was blown away by the article Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture. There is a lot I am unfamiliar with. Like the terms “skinning”, “modding” and “machima.” And I have never been on I Love Bees, Sim City, The Sims (or the Sims 2), Neopets, Friendster, Alphaville, My Space, Live Journal, or played the games Supercharged, My Pop Studio or Civilization. The amount I do not know is staggering. But it is clear that I am not alone and I, lot many parents, am mystified by what lies beyond the box.
My main fear initially on the web was encountering porn sites or worms that would wipe out my system and I was taught to be suspicious of all of these cites I did not know — like a stranger who held out candy. It would be helpful to be walked through these new sites with my hand held, because I am a little scared to cross the street!
These concerns aside, I felt that the authors were correct in their characterization of the world. It is a “hyper mediated environment” and kids and adults need to know how to navigate it. The authors did a nice job of breaking down 11 categories of learning that can be accessed through or enhanced by this media. The authors were also correct that media literacy should not be an add on but integrated into the process of learning core subjects. There were a lot of helpful examples of how to experientially teach such things as the development of critical thinking (judgment, or “truthiness” as Jon Stewart characterizes it) and the power of collective intelligence.
One of the more powerful things they talked about was that the digital media world should be discussed in the real world, with parents and teachers in order to make the learning transparent, in order to assist in the development of ethics and the ability to assess the accuracy of what is on the internet.