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Media Literacy And Education

leamirella's picture

Writing my first paper (actually writing a traditional"academic paper": printed, double-spaced, 12 pt font) made me remember a whole bunch of questions that came out of a Serendip class that I took last semester. (Literary Kinds) In this post, I lamented about my "lack of media literacy" and how I was so frustrated with not being able to present information multimodally. But then I wrote this paper as my final for that same class where I really interrogated what it meant to be multimodal, and how this affected the genre of the academic paper. What I never did (and what I hope to really question and push throughout the course of this semester) is to link back my assertions in that final paper to my assumptions that I wrote about in that post.

I started to really think about this because I'd like to use this to illuminate some of the concepts that we've touched upon in class. I've noticed that we seem to be hung up on how all students may have access to iPads in the future (and all the fear and anxiety about technology taking over) but I feel as though we're skirting around how those iPads (or really any type of technology) will be used, and for what purpose. From what I'm getting from the discussions, there seems to be a lot of resistance to the inclusion of this technology in the classroom -- despite Clark's notion that they are merely "extensions" of our minds -- but I don't think that this is productive in the sense that we haven't even touched on the possibilities of what that technology could bring to educartion. For example, I assert in my final paper from Literary Kinds that the "truth" (or what it is a student might actually be thinking when writing) lies in a "half-way between gesture and thought" (as adapted from Antonin Artaud's "The Theatre and its Double"). Perhaps the inclusion of iPads could bring out this "half-way" and with it, present multiple ways for students to engage with material and enhance their own learning. As we don't even know the where the boundary lies in terms of integrating new technology into our classrooms, how can we slam down those ideas?

To be frank, I'm rather frustrated with where some of our conversations have been going as the anxiety surrounding the inclusion of new technology just strikes me as being too pessimistic. While I understand where this anxiety comes from, I can't help but wonder if we can really consider positive posibilities without being too caught up in fear. After all, this fear is nothing new. Whenever a new piece of technology comes along (I'm thinking way back to the technology of written word and Socrates' critique of it in Plato's "The Phaedrus"), we are terrified. But look at where we are now -- we're still okay.