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Combating the Participation Gap: Why New Media Literacy Matters

Distinguished Lecture, School of Information, UC Berkeley

Speaker(s): Henry Jenkins
Wednesday, February 6, 2008, 4:00pm-5: 30pm
South Hall

I. Digital natives vs. digital immigrants

A. The immigrant

-We don’t say the immigrant can’t do this or that.
-Jenkins wants a real conversation between adults and youth and fluidity of relationship between groups in the online world.

B. Participation gap is different than digital divide spoken about during Clinton era, this was more about access.
C. There’s a fundamental difference between a kid accessing stuff at the library and who can’t store his information and one who has unlimited access.
D. The unlimited access kid has different experiences with creating identity and information as social skills and competing to be a full participant in this society. It’s not just access, but it’s about defining cultural patterns.
E. It’s the hidden curriculum. There’s a different relationship to learning.
F. Transparency – kids don’t have a language of seeing themselves in a context
G. It’s not that kids are uncritical it’s that they don’t have ways to talk about it.
-PBS: “growing up online.”

II. Ethics challenge; how professional ethics emerged for journalists

1. Shows data on use of live journal.
2. You people need tools to process some of the stuff that’s going on.
3. It’s about how do young people treat each other in a community where they don’t physically “see” each other
4. Get the white paper

III. Skills and principles of learning
a. Multi-tasking
i. The ability to scan one’s environment and shifting focus to salient details. It’s about managing and shifting your attention and having a broader view of the world around you.

b. Play
i. The capacity to experiment with your surrounding as a form of problem-solving
1. Try, experiment, explore.
2. The core of a video game is experimenting.

C. appropriation
The ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content.

D. Networking
The ability to search for, synthesizes, and disseminates information.

E. Collective, intelligence, Pier Levi

1. the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others towards a common goal.
a. It starts with the assumption you have some expertise to contribute.
b. Teaches trust in others’ knowledge and social negotiations of knowledge sharing.
Ex. “Twin Peaks” and the divide between online fans’ understanding of the plot and characters and of the show critics who didn’t follow the blogs.

* Dumbing down is the clearest way out of the marketplace.

F. Ethics of learning
a. Gold farming in China and how kids are playing games for money. There is an anti-Chinese mania on gamers.
b. There is no stigma for gold farming in China, but there is here in the US.
c. Find kids who are gold farming in US.
G. Debates on ownership and authorship
a. Appropriate existing media content as the raw materials for their own cultural expression through a range of remix practices.
b. See Henry’s blog

H. Privacy
a. Today’s privacy involves careful management of disclosure –what is hared, how is it presented and who can access it.
i. Ex. Srong party girl who started her blog about sex workers

I. identity
a. Through exploration, youth are able to “play” with different identities in a low –stakes method and environment. Online this process is less encumbering social norms or physical limitations.
b. The web IS your permanent record
c. Need to empower children to allow you to deal with the basic benefits and risks to when they are online and what is at stake.
J. Resources to develop
a. Social skills
i. WIkipedia
1, 280,000 million articles in Spanish

Think about different models of expertise. Check out exercises on his blog.

b. performance
The ability to adopt alternate identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery.


C. Reaching your audience
Independent comments
Artists creating spaces where they can dialogue.

D. new media literacies
Ex. Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick”
1. in schools now media literacy is not integrated into the curriculum.
2. What makes Moby Dick a different book to read is that it’s a mash-up.
3. If we think of it as a mash-up we process it differently.
Reference: Ricardo Fitzwalley’s “Moby Dick”
Old vs. new version of Moby Dick

IV. Questions and answers

Kara question: You use the language of native and immigrants online and I wonder how that parallel/language/reality is going to shape your people’s sense of ethnic identify and also increasing or reducing immigrant gaps and access gaps.

Jenkins: We don’t deal with mixed cultures and realities online. Here hasn’t been a lot of research with diasporas identity.

How much of this media literacy skills building is relevant to adults? How do we teach them?

Jenkins: As a leader of the Center for Civic Media they starting to do media literacy for adults. Ellen Hume working with ethnic communities and ethnic negotiation at Center for Ethnic Media.

Other references and contacts:

Link TV
Civic Media Center, launched in Sept. 2007.
Education Arcade game
Media Lab at MIT
IQ game will take advantage of newspaper sites and create game as a social network,
Marin Levina
Mass comm. Berkeley
Lonnie Brooks
Cal State East Bay does work in convergence

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