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Transforming Education with New Media

Participatory Pedagogy, Interactive Learning, and Web 2.0


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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7. Backchannels and Multitasking




Educators ask and sometimes require students to go online for educational purposes: as a component of a learning module, the focus of a class exercise, a method of research, and/or a means to engage with other students. Human interaction with online platforms and digital devices is so prevalent in education today that it is common for students to assume that technology, not just devices but entire systems, will be a part of their studies. Moreover, educators and the institutions where they teach are building technology-based systems specifically to facilitate student interaction in the classroom. It seems that these systems can do positive things for education. These systems can engage students in virtual learning environments, enhance communication between students and teachers, and support peer-to-peer collaboration.

In the classroom, these systems can be in the foreground, the background, or both. When in the foreground, these systems constitute a main communication stream and support primary communication activities, such as surfing the web, answering e-mail, reading a magazine on a tablet computer, and engaging with a mobile application. A main communication stream involves human-to-human exchanges—people talking to and with one another. A main communication stream in the classroom is typically one of the following:

1)A teacher instructing a class of students.

2)A teacher posing questions and students answering them.

3)A debate among students on a particular topic.

4)Students offering commentary on...

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