Friday, March 17, 2017

Research Methodology and New Media

First: I want to start off with saying that my wasn't working so unfortunately I wasn't able to comment on the articles!

Second: I chose to start with "The Needed Skills in the New Media Culture" after being frustrated with downloading the one about Grounded Theory. Foreshadowing that article perhaps? Either way, I was immediately hooked. Starting off with minor anecdotes about teenagers who did incredibly things, being motivated by games are fan bases was impressive and powerful.

The article defines "participatory culture" at the start. In essence, it is a strong presence of collaboration and mutual respect with in the realm of sharing and trusting each others contributions. The purpose of this culture is for everyone to feel as if they CAN participate, even if they chose not to. I like this idea of community and this is exactly the kind of culture I hope to foster in my classroom. I was not the student who always had their hand up. I was the silent thinker in the back of the room digesting and processing the information, then forming my own ideas. I will not give participation grades, but I will develop a classroom where everyone's voice is equally heard, if they want it to be.

Later on in the article, they also discuss the positive and critical views of technology in the classroom. The article discusses that the technology exists, that the computer is nothing without it's "user" but what cost is this to the user? I see the benefits of technology and see the benefits of the "old school" methods. I think marrying the two ideas is where we should live as teachers. However, while 57% of teens "could be considered media creators", the other group are abusing their power, or can't hold a conversation face to face because they are glued to the screen.

Affinity Spaces. Informal learning communities where students learn better, are more engaged, and participate more accurately. Bullshit.  Do we live in a Utopian classroom? Unfortunately or fortunately, I am reading this article through the lens of a teacher. I wish more than anything that I could have a classroom that looks like this and is focused around student driven learning based on their desire and connections with others in the technological world. But I am personally offended by this article, feeling as if they are attacking the traditional system. I can't speak for everyone, and I can't speak for all the incoming youth, but I can speak from my experience, and from those of coworkers and friends: that we are raising and cultivating the laziest, most apathetic generation of individuals. Now maybe that is the "systems" fault and the system has failed them ya-da ya-da ya-da, but it infuriates me at the lack of respect that is given to teachers who WANT to teach and make change, but are also employees of this same "system". Okay end rant.

I actually enjoyed the next section of this article, discussing young peoples disinterest in the news and politics because it is conducted over their heads. I completely agree. Current Events class is not longer interesting, because talking about what is happening is no longer satisfying to these youths because they feel they can't do anything about it. And the three core concerns address the problems that arose as I was thinking about students in this culture. Providing computers and free wifi addressed one of the concerns, but brought up another wonderful point: that merely giving people access to technology is not enough. One must be educated in the value of the technology and how it can be used, not abused.  I also found it fascinating when the article discussed transparency. I completely agree that students need to learn how to question the information presented to them, especially in today's world of fake news.

"We may, in the short run, have to accept that cyberspaces ethical norms are in a flux: we are taking part in a prolonged experiment in what happens when one lowers the barriers of entry into a communication landscape." Wow. Powerful. I love the idea that we can conduct all the research we want; we can discuss the pros and cons of this type of technology and media till we are blue in the face but the reality is no one really knows. This is a prolonged experiment and until these youth are reaching their age of retirement, may we never really know the lasting effects this transition has on them.

Grounded Theory a Critical Research Methodology
by Joyce Magnotto Neff

I admit, I looked up the definition of grounded theory. I had some difficulty scrolling through the pdf and was afraid I missed the definition. Turns out I did. What I deduced is that grounded theory is the methodology used to constructed theory that is grounded in the analysis of data.  When I finally was able to zoom out just enough to read it and squint at the same time, I was able to read the article's definition.

One thing that stood out to me was this idea that when practicing grounded theory, you must learn to live without closure. I found this really interesting because individuals today love closure. You see it in every romantic comedy where the girl needs "closure" to something the ex did. Students like a sense of "closure" where they're told what to do or they know what you "want" from them in terms of an assignment. So I was thinking that this type of thinking might prove very difficult for some, but that through exploring this open-endedness would lead to great possibilities.

The article also discussed that grounded theory is rooted in composition studies. There is no separation between research and writing, but they are both important parts of grounded theory. The article details the analytical research involved.

I felt that I understood this article at the start, but then felt like it got either repetitive, or too confusing that I thought it was saying the same thing over and over. I feel like I need clarification between including this method in freshman composition studies.

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