Thinkers Welcome: New Resources on Participatory Culture and Learning

Today, I want to flag for you some exciting online resources which emerged from two conferences on new media and education which I attended and participated in earlier this semester. The first is the TEDxNYED conference, which brought together some of the top thinkers about new technology, learning, and civic media, for an intensive one day session. Speakers included Amy Bruckman, Andy Carvin, Jeff Jarvis, Neeru Khosla, Lawrence Lessig, Jay Rosen, George Siemens, Mike Wesch, David Wiley, and others. There was something about speaking as part of an “A-Team” of speakers — you bring your best work to the game — and so each talk was surprising, engaging, informative, and mind-blowing. The TED podcasts are all gems and you can see this set of talks here. They just went up over the weekend.

Since this is my blog, I am claiming the right to post my own video here. This talk emerged from some of the work I’ve launched since coming to USC on participatory culture and the public sphere. I’ve assembled a team of wickedly smart PhD candidates from Annenberg and the Cinema School who meet with me every week to try to identify and interprete case studies where our involvements as fans and gamers spill over into forms of public advocacy and activism. I’ve already showcased some of this work on the blog in the past and you will be seeing more in the months ahead.

As for the other podcasts, I wanted to flag two in particular which were of special interest to me because they represent the voices of classroom teachers who are trying to translate the abstract insights about new media and learning into day to day interactions with students on the ground. Chris Lehmann is the founding principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia and Dan Meyer teaches high school math outside of Santa Cruz, California. Whenever academics gather to talk about education, there’s some tendency to knock teachers. Or at least teachers become “collateral damage” in our critiques of educational institutions and practices, as if they were simply agents of the structures in which they serve. Yet, in fact, there are many greater teachers, librarians, and other educators out there who “get it,” who have a grasp of the significance of the cultural and technological changes we are describing, and why they matter to young people. It was great to see their voices represented at the TEDx conference and I am happy to share those talks here.

I was honored to be asked to be the Conference Chair for the first MacArthur Digital Media and Learning Conference and to be able to propose “Diversifying Participation” as the main theme for the event. Diversifying Participation brought together several hundred educators, scholars, activists, community leaders, and journalists to share their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities participatory culture represents in the lives of young people. Our goal was in part to push the entire DML community to grapple more directly with the importance of enabling and promoting diversity within participatory culture. The plenary sessions of the conference have also recently been posted on line and may give you some sense of the event if you were unable to attend.

Digital Media and Learning Conference 2010 Introduction and Opening Keynote from Shane Depner on Vimeo.

Introduction: David Theo Goldberg, Connie Yowell and Henry Jenkins (Conference Chair)

Opening Keynote: “Living on the Digital Margins: How Black and Latino Youth are Remaking the Participation Gap” S. Craig Watkins

Digital Media and Learning Conference 2010 Plenary Panel from Shane Depner on Vimeo.

Digital Media and Learning: The State of the Field

Session Chair: Heather A Horst

Presenters: Amanda Lenhart, Brigid Barron, Eszter Hargittai, Joe Kahne, Kevin Leander and Lynn Schofield Clark

Discussion Moderator: Mimi Ito

Digital Media and Learning Conference 2010 Closing Keynote and Closing Remarks from Shane Depner on Vimeo.

Closing Keynote: “Youthful Participation – what have we learned, what shall we ask next?” Sonia Livingstone

Closing Remarks: Henry Jenkins

By the way, I’ve gotten some questions about my discussion of 19th century zine publishing. My key source is: Paula Petrik. “The Youngest Fourth Estate: The Novelty Toy Printing Press and Adolescence, 1870-1886,” in Elliot West and Paula Petrik (eds.) Small Worlds: Children and Adolescents in America, 1850-1950. (Kansas City: U of Kansas P, 1992)

Finally, for those of you who heard about the great webinar which Project New Media Literacies ran last week on Collective Intelligence and Education, you can listen to a recording here. We will be running monthly events through the summer centered on the different skills identified in my MacArthur white paper. You should join us for some of the future sessions. It’s a great way for us to engage with educators — both classroom teachers and teachers in training — who want to integrate the new media literacies into their pedagogical practice.

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