Jenkins GLLS 2007, final reflections III

Due to the length of my final reflections, I've split them into 4 sections

At Games, Learning, and Libraries Symposium last week, Dr. Henry Jenkins identified four sets of skills that students today need. Jenkins stated that, we as librarians and educators, can address these literacy skills. We can help supply these needs and deal with these problems through the following 11 skills:

  • Performance: The idea of “simulation” ties nicely into Jenkins’ description of performance. We can create situations where our students are not simply just spitting back facts or grabbing quotes from sources as the extent of their application. Regardless if our sessions are one-shots or multiple times, we, as librarians, have the ability to create a learning environment that asks our students to step in and assume a different role (often a fictional one). This role-playing can create more engaging experience for the student and give us a chance to explain how the literacy skills we teach play out in the world outside our educational establishments.
  • Appropriation: Now if Jenkins’ describes this skill as the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content, do we see this as the perfect spot to drag out our plagiarism and copyright content and lesions? Don’t our students sample and remix content for almost every research based assignment? If so, the question is do they do it meaningfully? I would safely assume that every educator can think of examples on both sides of this argument. Part of the students ability to meaningfully mix content when trying to inform their peers comes from the need to show support for their argument. Many of our students’ are media literate enough to know that they should question material (whether or not they do is another discussion). I was talking with a student today that didn’t believe 9/11 happened as reported because he couldn’t see all the evidence to support it. The connection is easy – if they don’t trust someone else’s information without sources and support, why should someone trust them?
  • Multitasking: I’m guilty of not trusting this. We use software in our teaching lab to lock down the student computers. While our staff mainly use it to improve our pedagogy by involving the students more, we have all slipped into the idea of “locking” down their computers and pushing out our content. All in the hopes that they will not be distracted. What I realized last spring is that pushing it out is all the more distracting. Not allowing the students to multitask actually made them pay less attention. While multitasking the needed to stay cognitively engaged in both their own work and the content from the class in order to keep up. So while some students may seem distracted, their ability to scan the classroom and screen and focus onto salient details is an asset not a drawback. Our job is to play to this multitasking, encourage it, and have it meaningfully shape the session. The student multitasking while I’m speaking could be directed to seek out additional facts about the topic and then share those findings with the class.