Despite much controversy, I have taken up Facebook as a digital tool in my large lecture halls for a variety of reasons using a number of pedagogical approaches. I challenge myself to consider the social media world from the point of view of today’s students. The aims of this short essay are to identify my motivations for using Facebook, describe methods and practices of this classroom use as a functional tool and critical resource, then to discuss current pedagogical challenges.
As a faculty of media, it is important to teach both about and through digital tools. Teaching about Facebook includes contextual information about its social, cultural, and historical dimensions; teaching through Facebook includes the praxis of using this tool (along with or in conjunction with others) to both process and distribute information. Kirsten Drotner (2008) reframes this discourse about digital media pedagogy by asking whether digital or multimodal literacy should be “defined as a functional tool or as a critical resource?” (182). Simply put, my answer is both.
On October 23, 2010 the Association for Media Literacy hosted a conference at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
Invited Speaker Mark Lipton (University of Guelph and the Media Education Project) explains how teachers can use social media as functional tools and critical resources to support their professional learning networks. Teaching ‘about’ media and ‘through’ media, teachers can negotiate the barriers and benefits of media literacy in the classroom, as well as develop student’s 21st Century learning skills, such as collaboration and connectivity.
Check out his interview with the Association for Media Literacy:
Video also available from the Association for Media Literacy’s YouTube Channel. Thanks to Paul Baines for conducting this interview and his work for the Association.
Who’s in Boston for ACME & NCMR? ACME begins Thursday April 7th, 2011. The National Conference for Media Reform begins the following day.
The Action Coalition for Media Education is a national media education organization working to promote independent media education. ACME is the only national media education organization that does not take money from corporate media. This is ACME’s sixth national conference. Others have been held in New Mexico, California, Vermont, Tennessee and Minnesota. ACME conferences are exceedingly involved in activism for media reform; thus, Mark Lipton will also participate in the National Conference for Media Reform.
Mark Lipton is presenting as part of the Technology Track; Session four, (Thursday April 7th 2011) 2:15–3:30, in the Winthrop Room of the Boston Park Plaza Hotel.
Twitter, Facebook and Social Media Literacy: Equity, Pedagogy and the Use of Twitter to Build Professional Learning Networks
21st Century Skills can be defined as the capacity to engage in lifelong learning (i.e., self-directed and collaborative inquiry) and connectedness (i.e., communication and collaboration with experts and peers around the world). As teachers begin to adopt the latest technologies as part of their teaching practice, social media becomes both a critical resource and a functional tool. For example, Facebook can be a classroom management tool as well as a way to provide lessons about online privacy and behavior; Twitter can provide a backchannel for class participation while functioning as a resource for professional sharing and collaboration. To these ends, this presentation first reviews approaches to media education that weigh the differences between media access and digital equity, then outlines current research describing teachers’ barriers to media integration and finally considers such examples by addressing pedagogical models and examples. Ongoing research suggests that nearly half of freshly minted teachers leave the profession within five years; the goal of this session is to add value to any teacher’s learning networks.