Posted by: rovingrebel | October 10, 2011

Learning, Living, Connecting, and Changing Ourselves & Our World Both On and Offline

I started this week’s work being struck by the facility I experience accessing Henry Jenkin’s work as a a Kindle E-book in my post on my blog Born to Communicate  Homework in the Digital Age. In this post, I simultaneously marvel at the ease of and e-book in allowing me to interact with content while extending my learning. I, also, wonder about the challenges around the ease at which I can be pulled out of my assigned tasks possibly running out of time to complete my work or assignment. My e-book allows me to continue and extend my learning by: accessing original sources on the fly; discussing what I am reading (i.e. consuming/ learning. After all, isn’t learning really the consumption and application of information and skills necessary for life?) ;making notes and reading others’ notes ,and getting a usable list of all my notes and highlights. However, all the features also represent trails taking me from my assigned task with the very real possibility of running out of time to complete it.  This week’s reading discusses the challenges and rewards underpinning a global culture wherein the lines blur between:

  • who is a producer and who is a consumer of media
  • Online community participant and the ” real” life of a person
  • Teacher/mentor and learner
  • Amateur and professional
  • Imitating and forgery/plagiarism/piracy
  • Educational activity and building a professional reputation (even as a child see NPR Fashion Blogger story as an example)

Since no one has clear answers between what is legal and what is just plain ethical is this world where even children who are just learning to read can participate in online communities offering trans media experiences, we are left in the online wilderness to learn by trial and error. Sadly, we often pay in the offline world with dear consequences for our online actions such as in:

Fired Over Facebook: 13 Posts That Got People CANNED

Student Charged in Facebook Cyber Bullying Case | NBC Washington

I could go on with examples forever, the point being most of us interact with converged media everyday without worry over how what we do or say will affect ourselves. This may have started all in good fun, but the consequences when one is unprepared are anything but. As Jenkins points out time and again in this week’s reading, it is not only about the fact that convergence is happening and we are increasingly living in a culture providing endless opportunities to participate, create,  and connect; we lack the learning and skills to protect ourselves in many cases from dangers as yet to be identified.

Questions:

  • How do we identify the skills needed by a person to contribute to the world online as a responsible citizen?
  • How do we educate and protect children while still allowing them to be the “digital natives” they are?
  • How do we meet our goals as communicators and respect that consumers know that we are trying to meet those goals?
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