Skills for the Web2.0 World


I’ve been participating in an online course over the past few weeks with a group of teachers who are sharing experiences and exploring ideas around the use of new technologies in education. This week we’re looking in particular at the impact of Web2.0, or social networking tools, and how they may be shaping the expectations and learning behaviours of students.

With that in mind I was very interested when Clarence pointed me to a paper by Henry Jenkins titled Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century which explores the notion of media literacy through a lens of identifying what skills and abilities (competencies) learners will require to participate in real spaces and with real ideas, allowing them to interact with others globally for authentic purposes.

Clarence points out that the majority of the paper is spent in exploring the 11 skills Jenkins says that are needed to fully take control of participating in this culture:

  1. “Play??? the capacity to experiment with one???s surroundings as a form of problem-solving
  2. Performance??? the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery
  3. Simulation??? the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes
  4. Appropriation??? the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content
  5. Multitasking??? the ability to scan one???s environment and shift focus as needed to salient details.
  6. Distributed Cognition??? the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities
  7. Collective Intelligence??? the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal
  8. Judgment??? the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources
  9. Transmedia Navigation??? the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities
  10. Networking??? the ability to search for,synthesize,and disseminate information
  11. Negotiation??? the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms.”

Seems tome that there’s a lot to consider here in relation to the Key Competencies contained in the draft NZ Curriculum that are currently out for discussion.

Clarence’s entry provides a more complete discussion around the intent of the paper – however, I was interested to read the first comment that had been made on this blog which contained the following statement:

As Jenkins tells us, we need to look beyond our kids having access to tools (blogs, wikis, etc.) and we need to learn how to use them effectively in our classrooms to support their learning.

While I may be taking the comment out of context, it reminded me that there’s still a lot of discussion to be had around whether or not it is appropriate for our priority to be on learning how to use [web2.0 technologies] effectively in the classroom.The idea of schools/systems appropriating these tools and environments doesn’t sit immedately well with me. The are fundamentaly designed for personal use, whose outworking is in social networks, not ‘managed’ learning situations, with formal structures and ‘rules’. I’m not saying that there’s no place for the useof these tools within formal education settings – I’ve blogged about examples that I consider good practice in the past – rather, I think we need to be thinking well beyond how they might be incorporated into classroom settings.

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