When thinking about all of the information I have recently consumed listening to Alec Couros and watching An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube, there are many thoughts that I now have in my head to share.
So in my title I ask: What does this culture of participation mean? The first point I want to share is from the An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube video. In the video Michael Wesch begins by sharing how the internet has grown. In particular, he talks about YouTube and that in 2008 when he uploaded the video , there were 9232 hours uploaded onto YouTube everyday. Then he goes on to share some of the trends that have taken off on there as well. This whole idea of people not just enjoying, but also participating is something that Alec Couros also touches on. People are not just going on the internet today to take in knowledge, they are also sharing their own ideas and information to society. We see people constantly uploading information on a variety of sites daily. Not only are adults sharing their information, but children are as well. Alec Couros showed us 5 year old Jordan, a young boy who created a hip hop song and shared it with the world.
So… What does this idea of participation in online spaces mean for everyone?
We have to think about the following questions: Who is my audience? What message am I portraying? How are people going to view what I am doing? What benefits am I going to get from sharing this? These questions are important because there are millions of people around the world that may possibly analyze our work and the things we share. What if we share something that many people will disagree with, will this jeopardize our future? As a person hearing stories of people getting in trouble for sharing things online, I think we always need to be conscious of what we are doing and what we are sharing. We need to critically analyze the things we share! This way we can try to avoid discriminating against others or saying the wrong things. I am not saying I am against this new idea of participation in online spaces and getting our ideas out there, I just think we need think before we hit the post or share button.
The next question is: What does this new culture of participation mean for my future classroom and schools in general?
Students today are born in a digital age. Alec Couros shared that most children have 1000 images of them online, and 59% of children under the age of 10 have a social networking account. What does this mean for them? And how do we teach them to have a positive presence online? This means that our students coming to school have been online already and most likely have created a digital identity. We do not know what type of digital identity they have created, but we can inform them on the pros and cons of having this online presence. In addition, we can help them build a positive online identity. We have the power to enable students to do great things in this world, including while they are online.
The first step, that Alec shared in his presentation, is to embrace new information literacies. What does this mean? This means we should embrace technology, learn about it, and find the best resources to use in the classroom and share with students. If we don’t first familiarize ourselves with the technology, how are we to teach students about it and then help them understand the pros and cons. The next step, as Alec shared, is to develop student digital voice and identity. We need to teach students about what is appropriate to say/share and what isn’t. We need to share with students the idea of creating a positive online identity instead of a negative one, having positive things on all of the sites we engage with so other see the good things we are doing. The last couple of steps that Alec shared are to embrace open learning and develop caring digital citizens. We need to be open to learning new ideas and also allowing students to engage in these ideas. In addition, we need to develop caring citizens, not just online, but everywhere. We need to show students how to have empathy for others, as well as how to treat others with respect. In today’s society this is ever important, as we see hate online and in reality.
The last little point I want to touch on is what does this culture of participation mean for schools? I think schools could take advantage of this to share resources with each other, show the fabulous things their students are learning with others, and build relationships throughout the whole world. Technology is ever changing. Although we need to be careful about how we use it, it is a great tool for people to connect and share positive things around the world.
Sorry for such a long post. This topic is very intriguing to me!