New Media/New Literacies: What’s the big deal?

As my adventure of being a Spartan continues, I will continue to chronicle most of my assignments here.  This semester I am taking two classes, and this happens to be the first assignment that I have been tasked with doing.  Essentially, I am supposed to write a reflection about my view of the importance of the New Media (and the new literacies that come with it) revolution and its ability to impact learning in the 21st century.  For more information about new media, you can read up on it here.

My viewpoint on new media (and its accompanying literacies) is currently quite scattered.  I see its use as a potential gold mine for creating student engagement.  Conversely, I see certain students’ engagement in a variety of new media as regressing students’ ability to communicate in person.

New media has the opportunity to revolutionize how students show their understanding of different topics, as well as learn about them.  It also seems to be producing a generation of students that are satisfied with the first thing they see (Wikipedia) and impair their ability to search more deeply for answers to questions.

New media has opened a world of information for students to swim in.  However, it has increased the need for students to be able to analyze and critique what they read for its veracity and usability.

new literacy

In other words, new media has the power to create classrooms where students can truly explore the depths of what ever topics interest them and create masterpieces that show off their understanding to not just a teacher or classmates but to the world at large.  It can connect a student in North Carolina that is interested in computer architecture with an expert in California (or India).  It can knock down the doors of poverty by democratizing the access to information.  It can enable students to do what their parents could only dream of doing.

It also causes challenges.  In some instances language and communication are devolving.  Language is regressing to pictographs and random etchings in certain sectors.  Select students communicate with excellence in the confines of a Call of Duty game but cannot have a simple exchange in person.  This doesn’t even begin to mention that the skills required to engage in this new media is vastly different from simple paper and pen literacy. For instance, students have always needed to evaluate sources, but it is much more difficult now than it was in the past when you could rely on the library to provide reliable materials in the form of books.

I found the following in my research into New Media and what it is exactly.  It said that new media “is a way of organizing a cloud of technology, skills, and processes that change so quickly that it is impossible to fully define just what those tools and processes are” (Eber-Schmid and Socha).

I believe that when used well New Media has the opportunity to close the learning gap, increase engagement, and foster the love of lifelong learning.  I also believe that we are far from figuring out the best way to teach these new literacies.

Eber-Schmid, B., & Socha, B. (n.d.). WHAT IS NEW MEDIA? Retrieved September 03, 2016, from http://www.newmedia.org/what-is-new-media.html

Images:

[Untitled illustration of a New Media]. CC BY-SA 2.0. Retrieved September 3, 2016

 

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