Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century

Retro-tv According to a study from the Pew Internet & American Life project (Lenhardt & Madden, 2005), more than one-half of all teens have created media content, and roughly one-third of teens who use the Internet have shared content they produced.

In many cases, these teens are actively involved in what we are calling participatory cultures.

A participatory culture is a culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations, and some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices.

A participatory culture is also one in which members believe their contributions matter, and feel some degree of social connection with one another (at the least they care what other people think about what they have created). Henry Jenkins: Participatory Culture & Media Education

A growing body of scholarship suggests potential benefits of these forms of participatory culture, including opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, a changed attitude toward intellectual property, the diversification of cultural expression, the development of skills valued in the modern workplace, and a more empowered conception of citizenship.

Access to this participatory culture functions as a new form of the hidden curriculum, shaping which youth will succeed and which will be left behind as they enter school and the workplace.

Infographic: Professors’ Use of Technology in Teaching

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The Faculty Survey of Student Engagement surveyed approximately 4,600 faculty members at 50 U.S. colleges and universities in the spring of 2009 to see how they are using new media and social technology in their classroom.

Based on these findings, it doesn't seem like too many professors' are integrating technology into their classroom. What do you think? Do these results surprise you?

Thanks to Dale for the heads up!

Related: In Google We Trust: Young Adults' Evaluation of Web Content

The Myth of the Digital Native

“If we over-estimate their skills we underestimate the support they need and misunderstand their practices.”Dr. Sonia Livingstone

Over the last decade there has been lots of talk, in both the press and educational circles, about the technological prowess of "digital natives." We've heard a lot about what's exciting in educational technology, but the reality is that teachers still see a lot of kids struggling to use technology.

Sonia Livingstone 2010 Digital Media and Learning Conference Keynote

During her keynote at DML 2010, Dr. Sonia Livingstone (London School of Economics) shared the following examples from her research and interviews with both parents and kids on the difficulties "digital natives" face using technology:

  • Example: Going to a Web site–can take a half hour, involve parents & most give up.
  • Example: Parents thought their child was very savvy, but something about the style of her use didn't reveal her struggles. "Megan" is confident, but one can observe her many struggles while she uses technology.
  • Example: 17-year-old, quoted: "With books it's a lot easier to research. I can't really use the internet for studying." Another, "Every time I try to look for something, I can never find it. It keeps coming up with things that are completely irrelevant."
  • Example: Teens often didn't know how to change their privacy settings, unsure about what to click to manage this task. (Nervousness about unintended consequences: stranger danger, parental anxiety, viruses, crashed computers, unwanted advertising, etc.)

When it comes to youth and digital media we tend to be conservative in the type of content we give young people and far more aggressive when approaching them with digital media tools.

It’s important to remember that just because we include digital media doesn’t mean youth know how to make meaning or engage with these technologies.

One iPad Per Child: Seton Hill to Give All Students iPads

Ipad Remember textbooks? Yeah. Forget about textbooks. Students at Seton Hill University are all getting iPads and access to all their textbooks on the iBook store. I’d say it’s one of the biggest changes in pedagogy since the move from the one-room schoolhouse.

Check out Seton Hill’s website. It states, in no uncertain terms, that “Beginning in the fall of 2010, all first year undergraduate students at Seton Hill will receive a 13″ MacBook laptop and an iPad.”

Can you imagine? I remember I was about to go to Clarkson University in New York back in 1993 because they were giving out laptops. But a MacBook and an iPad? That’s like getting a pony and a unicorn.


Related: Announcing The 2010 Totally Wired Teacher Award Sponsored By Dell

Call for Nominations: 2010 Ypulse Mashup Totally Wired Teacher Award

Ypulse is teaming up once again with Dell's Edu4U community The 2010 Totally Wired Teacher Award to be presented at this year's Mashup event. The application is now LIVE so help us spread the word to teachers you think should apply. 

The Totally Wired Teacher Award is inspired by founder Anastasia Goodstein’s book, Totally Wired: What Teens & Tweens Are Really Doing Online, and the challenges she observed when teachers tried to integrate technology into their public school classrooms.

The goal of the award is to recognize a teacher who has overcome these challenges and is inspiring to both students and other educators. This year Ypulse is asking applicants to upload a 60-second video tip or advice they would like to share with other educators related to integrating technology into the classroom.

Learn more about The Totally Wired Teacher Award and get all the details over on the Ypulse Mashup site!

DML 2010: Four Things Youth Marketers Can Learn About Youth & Digital Media

Logo_events Today I've published a guest post over on Ypulse and shared some of my thoughts on the 2010 Digital Media & Learning Conference (DML) which was held last week at the University of California at San Diego.

The post, Four Insights for Youth Marketers from DML 2010, highlights some of the key things I think marketers can learn from the academic community when working with youth and digital media. The post also highlights some of the most current youth media research going on around the world.

Thanks to Meredith and the rest of Team Ypulse for the opportunity to share my insights from DML with the rest of the Ypulse youth marketing community.

A Kindle in Every Backpack: A Proposal for eTextbooks in American Schools

A concept paper published in July by former members of the Obama-Biden transition team, titled A Kindle in Every Backpack: A Proposal for eTextbooks in American Schools, suggests we consider an innovative plan to spread eTextbooks around the country, rapidly scaling up employment of the technology so that we can learn, adapt, and perfect its use quickly. It describes the case for an eTextbook system in three parts.

In Part One, the report discusses the multiple reasons why eTextbooks like Amazon's Kindle are a much better approach for our nation’s students. The reasons they are superior include the ability to update eBooks relatively cheaply and easily, environmental and health benefits (such as reducing loads on young backs and shoulders), and the enormous opportunity to make texts more exciting and interactive—like the other tools children use today and that compete for their attention.

In Part Two, this paper discusses the economics of this approach. Cost estimates in the education world are notoriously sketchy and often self-serving, but it seems clear that over time an investment in these tools would produce big savings.

Finally, in Part Three, this paper outlines how we could implement such a plan, and why there could be broad-based support for it.

Also of interest is an article in the September/October 2009 issue of Scholastic Administrator Magazine titled, "Will the Kindle Change Education?" The article does a really good job of weighing in on both the pros and cons of using the Kindle in the classroom.

A lot of education folks have focused on using the mobile phone as the primary device to usher in the age of mlearning (mobile learning).

But perhaps we should be paying more attention to e-book devices like the Kindle, Sony Reader, Nook or the (rumoured) Apple tablet as the more viable mlearning option to delivering media rich and digital content to kids at school.

A lot the current research shows that when kids go to school they are disconnected from how they live outside the classroom. Either way, what's important is that we take a look at and try using any resource or tool--including e-books--that gets kids' more engaged and invested in their education.

Related: Amazon's Jeff Bezos Gives Away Kindles To His Alma Mater, Asks For Feedback

Weekly Wrap: Coca-Cola's Teen Mobile Marketing Strategy, Social Media Statute of Limitations, Facebook Privacy, Youth in Revolt & More!!

Coca-Cola Targeting Teens with Mobile Marketing StrategyMillennial's are using their handsets to communicate, consume media and befriend brands more than at any point in the past and as a result Coca-Cola is increasingly turning towards mobile marketing to reach the teenage and young-adult generations. [mViews]

At-Risk Students Make Multimedia: A team of college professors and K-12 teachers discovers how building video games can elevate student performance. [Edutopia]

Games lessons: Since the beginning of mass education, schools have relied on what is known in educational circles as “chalk and talk”. Abandoning it, though, is what Katie Salen hopes to do. It sounds like a cop-out, but the future of schooling may lie with video games. [Economist]

Blog, poke, twitter and be damned: We need a 'statute of limitations on stupidity' for our youthful online indiscretions – otherwise only the drones will thrive. (AMEN!) [Guardian]

(List) What the Internet is Killing: The article is hardly surprising given the massive shifts the Internet brings to society, but it does raise a debate about what will be missed from a bygone era and what will be rightly forgotten. [PSFK]

U.S. Universities Plan Course to Navigate the Mobile Learning Curve: It is imperative that colleges and universities around the country include mobile as part of their marketing communications strategy if they want to continue to attract, retain and satisfy students and school supporters.

Platogo: user-generated content comes to browser gaming: It's a fascinating endeavour, and there seems to be a real emphasis on quality rather than quantity - the UGC stuff is also nicely implemented in the games I've played. [Guardian]

Tweet O' the Week: "I really have become addicted to Klondike bars for breakfast... they're like square frozen bowls of cereal --- they're practically vitamins." (via @DougCoupland)

Youth in Revolt: The plot of this teen film feels episodic, but not in a bad way, with Arteta squeezing an impressive number of set pieces into 90 minutes. Well-placed animated sequences -- a mix of stop-motion and CGI -- keep things moving along at a perky clip. [Variety]

10 Tips to Safeguard Your Privacy on Facebook: Facebook statistics show that it has 250 million active users each with an average 120 friends. More than 1 billion photos are uploaded every month by its users, over 70% of whom use applications like games and quizzes in Facebook. This guide will show what you can (and cannot) do to safeguard your Facebook privacy. []

Speed Round: Ypulse posted this hillarious list of 'Random Thoughts of People Our Age', TechFlash wonders if New Google is the Old Microsoft, Mike Schmid--one of the talented musician's who backs up  Miley Cyrus on her tour has a List of Rules for all you tweens and the UK Boy Scouts have been forbidden to Carry Pen Knives! [] [TechFlash] [It's All True] [Free Range Kids]

Weekly Wrap: Twitter & Social Media in Education, Television 2.0, Social Gaming, Boomers & Social Media, Virtual Worlds Growth Spurt, BackTweets & TwitterCal

Higher Education is Stuck in the Middle Ages: In this article Don Tapscott, youth guru and author of Growing Up Digital, outlines the clash between the model of learning offered by big universities and the natural way that young people who have grown up digital learn. The entire U.S. education system is woefully behind when it comes to using social media (and mobile devices) in the classroom. [AlterNet]

The Hidden Problem with Twitter: Speaking of the Middle Ages, this article stirs the pot by asking if the texting and Twitter habits are "hurting" the English language. Perhaps we need to take a cue from our Aussie friends and look for a way to use social and mobile media to help educate the Net Generation.  [] [University of Melbourne]

More on Television 2.0: Is the TV business dying or does it have a second act? Television networks are actively looking for ways to hold onto Gen Y by interjecting more social media and even 3D television features into their programming.

In an attempt to hold on to younger viewers, MTV is launching It's On with Alexa Chung, while the BBC is placing its bets on a new interactive TV studio. Or will 'traditional' TV networks be replaced by young upstarts like Halogen TV which is featuring both webisodes and traditional distribution outlets for its content?

Virtual Worlds Booming: Market research firm Strategy Analytics released its forecast for growth within the virtual worlds sector and said it sees the global population of virtual world users growing from 186 million today to almost 640 million by 2015 -- that's almost one hundred million new players a year, a nearly 25 percent compounded annual growth rate. [Virtual Worlds News]

Boomers Crashing the Social Media Party
: According to iStrategy Labs, Facebook's seen its 35-54 demo membership blow up by 276.4 percent between June 2008 and January 2009. The 55-and over contingent grew 194.3 percent in the same amount of time. In comparison, that ever-so-sought 18-24 group bounced just 20.6 percent.

The total number of Facebook users aged 35-plus in October 2007 totaled just fewer than 845,000, while as of this past January, their combined might totals just less than 8 million - 18.9 percent of the total Facebook pie. [MediaPost]

Young Obama Official Helped Keep Twitter on in Iran:
According to The New York Times, there's a steady flow of information on Twitter largely thanks to the efforts of a 27-year-old State Department official named Jared Cohen, whose job is to advise the department on how to use social media to promote U.S. interests in the Middle East. [MTV News]

One More Thing: According to experts social gaming is the next big thing, use Backtweets to see which tweets link to your site, mobileYouth has a list of youth marketing & trend Twits on Twitter (thanks Graham!), get a sneak peak of Josh Shipp's new tv show--"Jump Shipp", tweet to add appointments to your Google Calendar, more on Millennials and Twitter and an Iranian Gen Y writes about Revolution 2.0!

Also, thanks to all of you who took part in Operation 55 Zebra! Go David Go!

Student Filmmakers & the Recession: Telling the "We Story"

Storytelling is a collaborative, social learning practice that strengthens family and cultural ties while also providing a context for information to be carried forward to future generations.

These family stories and shared experiences (folklore, food traditions, and oral histories) are a mirror of where we have been and shape where we are going as families, society, and individuals.

In his book, The Art of Possibility, Benjamin Zander calls the invisible threads that hold us together "the WE story." As Zander explains:

"The WE story defines a human being in a specific way: It says we are central selves seeking to contribute, naturally engaged, forever in a dance with each other. It points to relationship rather than to individuals, to communication patterns, gestures, and movement...Like the particle-and-wave nature of light, the WE is both a living entity and a long line of development unfolding.

By telling the WE story, an individual becomes a conduit for this new inclusive entity, wearing its eyes and ears, feeling its heart, thinking its thoughts..."

In New York City five students participating in the youth programs at the Tribeca Film Institute have created short films showing how the recession has impacted their parents, friends and sharing how the recession has affected their own lives.

The recession has has affected all of these students in different ways. For some of these kids it means forgoing camp this summer and instead getting a job to help support the family. For others it means reconsider attending the prom and thinking hard about whether the experience is worth the expense.

And when it comes to college, the cost of application fees alone are forcing many students to cut colleges from their list and looking at working for a year or attending community college.

One of the students talks about the shift of attitudes when it comes to discussing money. Last year her friends would never admit that they couldn't afford to participate in an activity.

Now that more kids are opening up and sharing their own stories about the recession, they feel more comfortable opting out of activities and just stating up front that they can't afford to participate. Most importantly the conversations about money that were once avoided between parent and child are now open for discussion.

Filmmaking is a valuable learning technology and storytelling vehicle that allows students to combine their love of technology with storytelling to explore difficult subjects as well as provide avenues for them to share their own points of view.

Moreover, through the process of telling the "we story" they are able to amplify their voice within their respective communities and become "a conduit for this new inclusive entity, wearing its eyes and ears, feeling its heart, thinking its thoughts (Zander).

Related Resources

Weekly Wrap: Education Embracing Twitter, Student Wikipedia Hoax, Advice for Tweens, Social Media Squatters, Social Music & Youth Marketing Tips

Economic Slump Slows Down Summer School: "The economic downturn has prompted many school districts to reduce funds for summer school. That's bad news for students who need remedial work and for those who are taking summer classes to advance a grade." [NPR]

Embracing the Twitter Classroom: Huffington Post blogger Jessica Gross takes a look at the battle over the use of social media going on in our schools between kids, parents and teachers. Jessica has a brilliant observation: "This argument is akin to that for abstinence-only education. Kids with access to the Internet are going to use it whether or not their parents decide they're "ready."" Amen. Also, check out my previous posts on using Twitter in education. [Huffington Post]

Student Uses Wikipedia to Punk World Media: Looks like the mainstream media (MSM) need to take a course on digital literacy and basic research techniques. I think this also points out that youth have a better understanding of web credibility that adults give them credit.  [Irish Times]

Stars Dish out Advice for Tweens: A new tween survival guide, 113 Things to Do By 13 written by 14-year-old blogger Brittany MacLeod features advice and tips from young Hollywood stars. Wonder if Brittany will be at the 2009 National Tween Summit in DC?  [Yahoo! OMG]

Noika to Launch 3G Phone for Emerging Markets: Nokia has announced the Nokia 2730 classic, a phone that includes 3G data connectivity and tools for emerging phone markets. This should be a boon to educators to deliver content and instruction via mobile learning platforms. [MobileBurn]

How to Handle Social Networking Name Squatting: Julia Angwin lays out some steps that may, or may not work when someone is social squatting on your name. [WSJ]

5 Messaging Tips When Talking to Youth: Great youth marketing tips from the folks over at Campus Media Group. [Campus Media Group]

The Rise of Social Music: Mashable has a great post tracing the history of audio on the web and the rise of social music services like, and MySpace. It also takes a peek into the future and looks at the rise of mobile music. [Mashable]

The Latino Initiative: Between 2005 and 2006 the teen birth rate increased 3% - the first increase in 15 years. This increase occurred among most ethnic groups - among Hispanic teens, the increase was 2%. The National Campaign’s Latino Initiative focus on helping the Latino community in its efforts to reduce continued high rates of adolescent pregnancy and childbearing. Plus, Bristol Palin talks to People Magazine about teen sex and life as a teen mother. [People Magazine]

Ypulse 2009 Totally Wired Teacher Award

The Ypulse 2009 Totally Wired Teacher Award (sponsored by Dell) will honor a trailblazing teacher who has successfully pioneered the innovative and educational use of technology, mobile technology, social media (blogs, wikis, social networking, photo/video sharing) in the classroom.

The award is inspired by Ypulse founder Anastasia Goodstein’s book, Totally Wired: What Teens & Tweens Are Really Doing Online, and the challenges she observed around integrating technology into public school classrooms. We will recognize a teacher who has overcome these challenges and is inspiring both students and other educators.

The award-winner likely had to overcome challenges from parents and administrators in order to use the technology, but because they understand how students use social media outside of school, they persevered with their initiative and worked collaboratively with students, ultimately sharing their insight and knowledge with the larger teaching community.

Representatives from Ypulse and Dell will choose three finalists to interview by phone. The selected teacher will be honored in person at the Ypulse Youth Marketing Mashup June 1-2 in San Francisco.

All three finalists will receive a IT solution from Dell to use in their respective schools. Teachers can nominate themselves. You can get all of the details about how to nominate a teacher (or if you're a teacher, how to nominate yourself!) over on Ypulse.

Related Links

NCSS Position Statement: Media Literacy is an Imperative

In February the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) released a position statement on media literacy, social technology and learning in the digital age. Their conclusion?

"These changes in society and the experiences the students bring into the classroom challenge social studies teachers to change both how and what we teach. One reaction is to fear these changes and try to protect our students from things we don’t understand or appreciate. Such an approach is neither helpful nor pedagogically sound.

Another response is to take advantage instructionally of the wealth of experiences that young people have making media choices by respecting those choices when consistent with democratic principles. Whether we like it or not, this media culture is our students’ culture.

Today's Students Are Experiencing a Different Childhood

  • The digital age requires new skills for accessing, analyzing, evaluating, creating, and distributing messages within a digital, global, and democratic society.
  • The ubiquitous and mobile nature of information and communication technologies has resulted in a world far different from that of those of us whose childhood was once surrounded by large box televisions, rotary dial telephones, and transistor radios.

Media Literacy

  • These changes in society and the experiences the students bring into the classroom challenge social studies teachers to change both how and what we teach.
  • Teaching students to think critically about the content and the form of mediated messages is an essential requirement for social studies education in this millennium.
  • Media literacy integrates the process of critical inquiry with the creation of media as students examine, create, and disseminate their own alternative images, sounds, and thoughts.
  • Media literacy includes the skills of accessing, analyzing, evaluating, creating, and distributing messages as well as the cultural competencies and social skills associated with a growing participatory culture.
  • In the 21st century, media literacy is an imperative for participatory democracy because new information/communication technologies and a market-based media culture have significantly reshaped the world.

Media Literacy & the Social Studies Classroom

  • Teachers need to expand their notion of “legitimate texts” and realize that it includes popular culture, advertising, photographs, maps, text (SMS) messages, Twitter, movies, video games, Internet, all sorts of hand-held devices and information communication technologies (ICTs) as well as print.
  • The ability to differentiate between primary and secondary sources or distinguish fact from fiction is now intimately connected to the ability to analyze and create media.
  • Social studies educators should provide young people with the awareness and abilities to critically question and create new media and technology, and the digital, democratic experiences, necessary to become active participants in the shaping of democracy.

Related Resources

Teacher Encourages Students to Twitter in Class "Cole W. Camplese, director of education-technology services at Pennsylvania State University at University Park, prefers to teach in classrooms with two screens — one to project his slides, and another to project a Twitter stream of notes from students.

He knows he is inviting distraction — after all, he’s essentially asking students to pass notes during class. But he argues that the additional layer of communication will make for richer class discussions.

2009 Game Based Learning: Kids, Gaming, Virtual Worlds, Social Networking & Learning

The Game Based Learning Conference, held March 19-20 in London, is one of the largest events in the world that delves into all aspects of utilizing video games as a learning tool.

The main theme of Game Based Learning '09, a conference primarily focused on game based learning research and development in the U.K. and Europe, was on the impact that video games, virtual worlds and social networking are having on learning and teaching practice both in and out of formal education environments.

The other thing worth noting about this conference is the remarkable degree of cross-discipline collaboration between members of the digital media, parents, education, consumer electronics, virtual worlds and video game communities.

Maja Pivec | Games in Schools | 2009 Game Based Learning Conference

At the conference, Dr. Maja Pivec, one of the co-founders of ENGAGE (European Network for Growing Activity in Game-based learning in Education), shared an in-depth look at the latest research and trends in Game-based learning. Dr. Pivec has put together a really good presentation and I encourage you to take a look at all the terrific research she shared at the conference.

Given that American companies like Disney, Nickelodeon, and Microsoft/Xbox are among the leading producers of kids gaming and virtual worlds, it seems only natural that there should be a similar US-based effort to connect the dots between games and learning.

So here's my question: why aren't we holding a similar conference where we can collaborate, share research and explore game based learning?

This is not to say that US-based companies involved in the kid new media space aren't doing research. In fact, Microsoft recently announced that they would invest $1.5 million dollars in educational video game research. The investment is part of a larger, NYU led initiative to "to find scientific evidence that supports the use of games as a learning tool."

All of this comes on the heels of a report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project that found that, when it comes to video games, "playing is universal, with almost all teens playing games and at least half playing games on a given day."

It's vital that all of us involved intersection of kids, new media and education work together to develop pedagocially sound opportunities to incorporate gaming, social networking, and virtual worlds--tools and spaces that students are already using--into their formal and informal learning practice.

Related Resources