Yet another great TED presentation, this one by Clay Shirky:
While not being argumentative, just pitching a counterpoint...
"Wait, isn't it a function of K-12 schools to help students be effective communicators in the media of their time?"
Why would one assume this? Schools have not assumed this role since... what, the dawn of radio? On any grand scale, schools have never engaged and used the media of their time in any systematic way(unless you count the printed page - but it hasn't been the printed pages "time" for about a century). Radio, television, the internet 1.0, the web 1.0, the web 2.0 tools, ... We've done little more than dabble.
While I see a place for engaging in the media of the time, it takes tremendous effort to simply focus on the components of writing well (and much of this work can be uncoupled from the media - walk before running to some extent). Certainly students should study media forms and develop some skills in evaluating the hows and whys of various media selection; and there is a time and a place for immersing the writing process into the media, but I do think our focus is correctly placed on the writing process. The media will change, and when we emphasize the media too much, it helps foster an inability to generalize from one media to another.
After all, most of your posters, you included, had no formal K-12 education in any of this (and some leverage it well, some do not - but it isn't K-12 media preparation which is making a difference).
Joel VerDuin |
June 17, 2009 at 09:55 PM
Great counterpoint, Joel. I guess I'm not ready to concede this, however. Just because schools haven't typically kept up doesn't mean that they shouldn't. If our expressive capabilities are changing, school instruction should reflect that. The difference between now and earlier is that these tools are available to all (precisely the point Shirky's making in this video), not just the elite few or big organizations. Should we continue to try to focus on effective speaking and writing? Absolutely. Should we also help students think critically about and master social media, be able to craft an emotionally-resonant multimedia message, etc.? Absolutely.
Scott McLeod |
June 18, 2009 at 08:49 AM
I think we agree on quite an area of overlap. My concern is with mixing the idea of vehicle and destination. My idea of "the destination" is some sort of statement about the enduring need of students to be able to write/communicate/persuade (etc...) I consider social media as a method (vehicle) by which we hope to try and get to the destination.
Where we probably still differ is to what extent the vehicle ought to be emphasized. In my mind, the need to be effective communicators will endure over a person's lifetime, the particular vehicle will probably change. To me it makes sense to de-emphasize the vehicle as the goal.
I do agree with you that students need study and understand choices and influences on society around social media, but in a larger context, to have some higher level of media literacy as there is a lot more going on in today's world around media.
I don't think we are too far apart.
Joel VerDuin |
June 18, 2009 at 08:17 PM
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Associate Professor & Director, CASTLE, Iowa State University.