Reflections on Henry Jenkins GLLS 2007 Keynote: Participatory Culture

Edit: Sorry if a shortened version of this post hit your RSS reader... my error in mixing Blogger shortcut keys

The concept of Participatory Culture that Jenkins describes helps strengthen critical media consumption and creation:

  • Low barriers to expression and engagement: not having a penalty (whether real or imagined) for expressing answers – both the right & wrong answers; these barriers in our classrooms need to be implicit and explicit, our students need to feel comfortable and welcome to engage but we need to be clear that those expressions will not only be welcomed, but encouraged; as librarians and educators we inherently know this, but do our students?
  • Kind of informal mentorship: Can we create these between librarians, tutors, and peers? In a class by class setup, these informal mentorships can be constructed. But maintaining them over the length of a semester is more of a challenge. This is where the application of social software strengthens the mentoring roles. Students do not need to physically interact with their mentor in order to gain the benefits of the relationship. The challenge I see here is finding ways for students to want to engage in these relationships. Do not limit the potential mentors to those only on your campuses. I want to try this mentorship with an upper division class, by having my students email the author/faculty member from one of their research articles. This could provide them with an opportunity to expand their understanding of the material and also feel that…
  • Members feel that contributions matter: I hope we are already making our students feel this way in our classrooms. But this concept is larger than the classroom. The concept means that our students’ contributions are applied to a larger whole, the campus, discipline, or the general internet. Is anyone having their students edit Wikipedia pages? At LOEX this May, one librarian was discussing making editing & improving or creating a Wikipedia page as an assignment.
  • Degree of social connection between members: How often do we take a social connection for granted because of the natural dynamics of schools and colleges? Many of the recent web 2.0 applications libraries are using attempt to maintain this interaction and connection outside of the classroom.
Tomorrow, I'll finish my reflections on Jenkins' keynote looking at the 11 ways that Jenkins suggested that we can help close the various literacy skills our students need.