Sunday, February 24, 2013
From Knowledgable to Knowledge-able: Learning in New media Environments
By Michael Wesch
This is a very good article on a timely issue. I like to cite some quotations from the article which underlie the arguments of the author.
“This new media environment can be enormously disruptive to our current teaching methods and philosophies. As we increasingly move toward an environment of instant and infinite information, it becomes less important for students to know, memorize, or recall information, and more important for them to be able to find, sort, analyze, share, discuss, critique, and crate information.”
As a college student I can easily relate these statements to my experiences. Almost everything is stored and available in the media, so that, there is no need to memorize anything. However, I am sometimes challenged to sort and analyze the information that is readily available in the media.
“To understand the true potentials of this ‘information revolution’ on higher education, we need to look at beyond the framework of information. For at the base of this ‘information revolution’ are new ways of relating to one another, new forms of discourse, new ways of interacting, new kinds of groups, and new ways of sharing, trading, and collaborating.”
It seems to me that the statement of “information revolution” is rightly used what is going on in the digital media today. It is a revolution changing almost everything in our life.
“This is a social revolution, not a technological one, and its most revolutionary aspect may be the ways in which it empowers us to rethink education and the teacher-student relationship in an almost limitless variety of ways.”
As Michael Wesch states, in the changes coming by the new media environment the most important thing is not its technological dimension, but its social impact. The new information technology is re-shaping out social relations including the teacher-student relations.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Introduction: Are Teenagers Necessary?
The Teenage Mystique
By Thomas Hine
I like to cite three quotes from readings “Introduction: Are Teenagers Necessary?” and “The Teenage Mystique.”
“Anne Freud theorized that the experience of adolescence is so filled with pain, trauma, and turmoil that our conscious minds suppress it. There is a serious problem with this theory, though. Survey after survey of young people show that they are not miserable at all. They have problems, of course, but they feel confident about coping with them” (p. 2).
I agree with Thomas Hine that Anne Freud’s theory is problematic. My personal experience and observations do not fit this theory. Adolescents or teenagers are not filled with pain, trauma and turmoil. They experience problems but adults experience problems, too. Teenagers should not be characterized with those words.
“Our beliefs about teenagers are deeply contradictory. They should be free to become themselves. They need many years of training and study. They know more about the future than adults do. They know hardly anything at all. They ought to know the value of a dollar. They should be protected from the world of work. They are frail, vulnerable creatures. They are children. They are sex fiends. They are the death of culture. They are the hope of us all” (p. 11).
I used to hear these kinds of statements about teenagers, but I am surprised when I see all of them together. If adults or society are so confused about who teenagers are how they can developed solutions for the problems of teenagers? I think one of the reasons of this confusion is that teenagers are not a homogeneous group. There are many kinds of teenagers. From thirteen to fifteen, there are big differences among them.
“On the night of June 6, 1997, an eighteen year old woman from Fork River, New Jersey, gave birth to a six pound-six ounce baby boy in the women’s rest room of the catering hall where her high school senior prom was taking place. Her son was found dead, tied in a plastic bag in a trash can in the lavatory where he was born. His mother meanwhile was dancing, smiling, and to all outward appearances, enjoying what’s supposed to be a magical night” (p. 12).
This is really an unacceptable crime. The mom was cruel. It is hard to understand what kind of a personality she had. Her behaviors must be condemned. However, it is also hard how this event can be used to characterize a very large group of people called teenagers. Obviously, a teenager did something very wrong. There are also many adults doing things worse that what she did. Should we use to characterize adults by using the crimes committed by some adults. I think this is unfair.
Saturday, February 16, 2013
Monday, February 11, 2013
A Tangle of Discourses: Girls Negotiating Adolescence
By Rebecca C. Raby
“Parents brace themselves for the challenges that are assumed to come when their
children enter their teenage years, and many parents turn to advice columns,
books, talk shows and therapists for guidance.
In an interesting shift from this standard discourse of adolescence, Laurence
Steinberg’s research suggests that the teen years are ‘stormier’ for parents than
for teenagers (p. 431).
The statements above make a lot of sense to me. I think that the metaphor “storm” explains a dimension of teenage hood. Yes teenage years are story years for youth. However, it seems to me that it is more stormy for parents than it is for adolescents. Many parents assume that their adolescent children will do something wrong. This assumption is in the culture of adults. Parents are mostly over concerned about their teenage children. This concern directs them to discipline and control the behaviors of their children. In turn, their over protective behaviors irritate teenagers and make them rebellious.
“Youth today are courted as a high-consumer group, and are modeled in the media as the ideal age, with teenage hood constituting the onset of ‘the best years of your life’. Social historians often connect the emergence of adolescence to processes of production and patterns of consumption (Kett, 1977; Adams, 1997). (…) Today, youth not only advise their families on how to spend money, but are identified as a group with both free time and disposable income (Palladino,1996)” (p. 437).
The discourse of adolescence as “Pleasurable Consumption” and considering the role of media in the construction of this discourse is also meaningful. Today teenagers as a group are seen as profitable consumers. It is very obvious. When we go to mall or similar shopping places we see that most of the shoppers are teenagers. It is also seen in all TV and magazines advertisements. Teenagers are shopping in all places. In addition they advise their parents what to buy. In this context, an important point is that they are heavily influenced by the fashion industry and media. Whatever is commonly advertised in media, it becomes trendy and it is bought by teenagers.
“The present paper has examined key dominant discourses that frame adolescence, the investments behind these discourses and some of the contradictions embedded within and between them. (…) Clearly this discussion is simply a beginning, as these discursive patterns intersect with, and are disrupted by, class, race, gender and sexuality.(…) Discourses are not monolithic and unchanging; quite the contrary. Their study allows us to de-naturalize taken-for-granted assumptions (p. 446).
The five discourses of adolescents identified by the author are not clear cut categories. Also they are not universal. They are affected by race, culture, social class, gender and other similar factors. They cannot be seen as unchanging. Specifically, social class and culture, like media, influence teenage behaviors.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us
This author Linda Clmstenscn argues that TV shows for children are bad to watch. They are sexist and racist movies and cartoons that children watch as well as adults. The article talks about how little girls see the fairy tales such as Cinderella, and cartoons like Mulan and Aladdin as nice stories. They are influenced by these kinds of productions and begin waiting for a charming prince to come and take them to happy places. Also it teaches young girls and teenagers that African American people are fat and lower class. They also teach children not to do anything with lower class and racially and culturally diverse people. The article also said that all these girls learn that being pretty, and having a nice and rich husband is what they need. These movies and cartoons teach children at an early age that this is what the world is. Also there are other movies like the three movies that the article talks which show in wrong ways how non-white and poor people live in their culture. Another issue is that these kinds of movies and cartoons teach that our step sisters and brothers are evil. If your mom or dad marries to someone and if they have children then they will be evil. It teaches our children that this really is what happens. Also they show how step mothers and fathers are horrible. How they make their husband’s daughter clean the house, and make dinner. It doesn't show that in real life step parents and families are not like this. I think there is need for movies showing the positive side s of blended families; movies showing that any parent can be loving and caring. Also there should be a fairy tale with gay parents. In all movies good parents are all strait people. It would show children that having a different family is great. Also being a different race such as African American or being from a different country such as Egypt or China should not be seen as a disadvantage. I know it is getting better but we have to still show how different cultures and races are also great to be with.