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Transforming Education with New Media

Participatory Pedagogy, Interactive Learning, and Web 2.0

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Peter DePietro

The possibilities that online platforms and new media technologies provide, in terms of human connection and the dissemination of information, are seemingly endless. With Web 2.0 there is an exchange of messages, visions, facts, fictions, contemplations, and declarations buzzing around a network of computers that connects students to the world – fast. Theoretically this digital connectivity, and the availability of information that it provides, is beneficial to curriculum development in higher education. Education is easily available, democratic, and immersive. But is it worthwhile? Is the kind of education one can get from new media platforms and social media resources, with their click-on videos, rollover animations, and unfiltered content, of sufficient quality that educators should integrate these tools into teaching? This book examines the use of new media in pedagogy, as it presents case studies of the integration of technology, tools, and devices in an undergraduate curriculum taught by the author, at an urban research university in the United States.
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2. Technology, Purpose, and Meaning

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TECHNOLOGY, PURPOSE, AND MEANING

In his book, Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commandments for a Digital Age, Douglas Rushkoff tells us that we are part of a digital revolution in which we must “determine the value-creating capabilities of the technologies”1 we use, not simply use them. Rushkoff puts forth that “we have embraced the new technologies of our age without really learning how they work and work on us.”2 Similarly, some instructors of new media embrace tools without really learning how they work in education and on students—how these tools are meaningfully integrated into teaching and how they affect learning. All of this should be avoided. Tools should be used with purpose and serve learning outcomes.

When teaching new media, theory and practice are best when inextricably linked and balanced, as discussed in the previous chapter of this book. Students should know why they are pushing buttons, not just how to push them. Practical proficiency with new media—that is, using a tool or technology—should have at its core the knowledge of what a tool or technology is capable of producing, its potential, more than just what instructions say it will produce. Guided by instructors who balance theory and practice in pedagogy, who support the innovative application of new media, and who encourage students to think out of the box, students are more apt to use technology in new ways and produce meaningful digital works that work. ← 9 | 10...

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