Digital media is more expansive than we might think. Just because it takes shape online does not mean it is limited; if anything, the platform offers more opportunities for growth, expansion, and connections. Leander and Mckim (2003) discuss the need to disrupt binaries that are present in the digital world, binaries such as online/offline and real/virtual (p. 224). If we continue to think in such simplified ways, we are missing out on the complex interactions that produce meaning. Nothing is black and white, and this sentiment goes for online spaces as well. Rachael discussed the struggle her Persian instructor had with Facebook, as it served as a popular yet restricted site in Iran.There is also the “apparent disconnect between her professional and personal opinions regarding the Facebook platform.” While it is easy to think of these binaries as separate and independent entities, Leander and Mckim challenge us to consider how they might overlap and influence each other. As we think about complementing forces, consider Adina’s Upworthy post about the First Lady providing free e-books, devices, and internet access to kids and families around the country. With access to greater libraries and the infinitely powerful tools of the internet, ConnectEd is leveling the literacy playing field for the youngest generation. #thanksobama
Brian referenced Sherry Turkle’s point in Katie Davis’s article about the “always on” nature of digital media that makes stillness and reflection so difficult. This is a danger we must be aware of as we dive further into the digital world. However, there are some online practices that we should adapt for real-life situations, like Gee’s affinity spaces. Since so many young people have experience with online affinity spaces, such as Age of Mythology, students can compare their shared experiences in those spaces (portals) to those they have in the classroom. Teachers and students can work together to create an environment that promotes meaningful interactions, the exchange of intensive and extensive knowledge, differentiation, and opportunities for growth.
Another way to incorporate youth media practices in the classroom is through countermobilities as addressed in Ehret and Hollett’s (2013) article. Countermobilities are “mobilities that conflict with those their school culture typically espouses” (p. 111). Since adolescents seem to always be on the move, it is important to explore how they keep up with digital practices through this physical movement. The authors encourage teachers to choose “real” apps that have import outside the formal learning environment, such as Viddy and Instagram. Speaking of Instagram, can we take a second to check out the exuberance of #rkoi as presented by Joyce?