Tag Archives: youth

Blogging about blogging; and before you know it, I’m thinking about PLP

What do young people think about blogging? Let’s have a look; here’s what one 18 year old has to say. This one happens to be my son, but I don’t think that prevents him from representing his generation:

‘People no longer are just able to blog, but blogging is increasingly becoming accepted as a legitimate medium of information; albeit quite different to others. At the cost of the credibility associated with major news services and other more traditional ways of getting our information, a whole new world is opened up- of personal opinion, a perspective into the lives and experiences of others and original creativity. When subjective experience and opinion is sought over objective fact, blogging becomes a medium very difficult to beat.’

Here’s the recognition of the value of the input, not of academics or editors, but of people like any other people, all contributing to whatever kind of information is important to them. Here’s a preference for what people have to say about something, for collective advice by people who care about their interests.

Technical applications are seen as enabling more direct ways of communicating, showing, connecting.

‘Photographers can take photos of their home city or holidays and post them on Flickr, along with geotags (so that people may see exactly where the photos were taken); performing artists can upload audio or video recordings of themselves on services such as Youtube to increase their exposure; political commentators can by series of hyperlinks to other blogs and news services critically analyse current affairs and provide explanations, arguments and challenges to what is reported in traditional established media. All of these forms of expression can be directly embedded into blogs, providing an individual with a space in which to express themselves- in the case of writers, musicians, etc…, to publish their work for free (or close to it)!’

All in all, there’s a noticeable excitement about the possibilities and the connectedness; about the possibilities for the individual’s self-expression. But could you imagine a similar passion from a young person if asked to talk about the possibilities in school education? What do you think? Are students encouraged to become involved in socialnetworking for learning? Are they encouraged to use Web2.0 applications to present their ideas and opinions? What do you think?

With this in mind, I’m thinking ahead to my school’s involvement with the Powerful Learning Practice program, and looking forward to making a difference to the mindset and teaching habits of teachers (including my own). Jenny Luca posts about PLP from the Learning 2.008 Edubloggercon conference in Shanghai:

‘Why do I feel alright about where we are? Because we are at least being proactive and have ourselves involved in Powerful Learning Practice . We are going to be immersing our staff in a learning community, and community is going to be what drives change. It’s not a discussion about the latest Macbook Pro that is important. It is a discussion about the connective relationships our students can form and learn from that is going to be the tipping point for many of our schools.’

‘Connective relationships’ – this is what it’s about. Information becomes meaningful through our relationships with people. Learning becomes meaningful through connective relationships.

If you’d like to read more of the authentic, passionate literacy that springs from real interest and involvement, read the rest of this new blog.

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Filed under Education, flickr, Web 2.0

Brave new world: learning to connect in new ways

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/KB9vRYyOfz8" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

This video (3 in one) of the forum at Stanford University, "From MySpace to HipHop: new media in the everyday lives of youth", delves into a subject that I'm compulsively drawn to - social networking and the implications of these new ways of connecting. The questions that come out of these presentations are vital to our understanding of youth in order to evaluate and re-evaluate our teaching and learning programs. Some of these questions are:

  • Are we seeing an evolution to a new kind of engaged community?
  • Should we be enthused about the ubiquitous nature of digital media or should we be deeply concerned?
  • As educators, how can we spark the same engagement and motivation that we see on MySpace and Facebook?
  • Are young people changing through their participation with digital media?
  • How does this change their relationship to school and home life?
  • Why do they participate in digital communities rather than real life?

 Although the research study presented here doesn't tell us what to do, only what we need to know, I think that it's vital to realise what we need to know. Our familiarisation with Web 2.0 applications is only the beginning of a new direction in education. More importantly, we need to understand why we are doing this and what else we need to find out. One of the speakers points out that we may be at an inflection point where change is accelerating and old ways disappearing, where systems are no longer working, indescribable innovation is becoming possible. If this is true, then we need to understand it and we need to understand the good and the bad, and we need to harness it.

I've spoken about the significance of audience for young people. The first speaker makes an important point - Web 2.0 and what young people do within this environment is inextricably tied with who they make it for and with. MySpace and Facebook enable deeply social activity not driven by the technology itself. Network publics are an extension of youth's existing publics. How does this change young people's relationship to school and home life?

I'm going back to the question I was asked at my recent interview: how do we get to know adolescents?

This question is at the heart of the research presented here. The goal of the research is to understand these changes from the point of view of youth themselves. As the first speaker said, before we can design our own adult-centred agendas for education, we have to try to take young people's agendas and experiences seriously on their own terms.

Have a look at Heather Horst's submission to the website Digital youth research. I found this link on Hey Jude. Thanks.

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Filed under Education, Teacher librarians, Web 2.0