Nu Me(tal)dia, or Creed and System of a Down Meet Smartphones and the Classroom

I greatly appreciate Brooke’s take on new media pedagogy. It’s more mindful than many texts that I’ve encountered. That said, the it leaves me with the same question I’ve been struggling with in regards to new media since I started teaching (see question 1 below, which makes up a substantial portion of my post).

Something unique about Brooke’s viewpoint is that he suggests that our integration of new media should be “mindful and effective” (183). This might be implied in many scholars’ works pertaining to the subject, but it often seems that folks just want to use new media because they’re “new” (and that’s problematic; again, see Q1 down below).

The most insightful part of Brooke’s “mindfulness” means thinking about access–in other words, not everyone has the funds to get a laptop or a smartphone to bring into our classrooms. When I was at Iowa State, this was much more important in my own pedagogy. Any time I expected students to use some sort of technology, I would notify them at least a couple days in advance to ensure that everyone had a laptop, tablet, etc., in class. I continued this practice when I came back to NDSU, but found quickly that the majority of students had access on a daily basis to some sort of device that could access a web browser, word processor, or other application that we might be using in class. Given that only one in every three-four students needs access to such a device in my classroom, this works out nicely. However, I do know that in others’ classrooms, it is sometimes taken for granted that ALL students have access to these devices (not accurate) or that, perhaps just as importantly that those who do have such access WANT to use these devices in the classroom, which leads me to the question that constantly boggles my mind:

Q1: When it comes to social media and other applications, where do we draw the line between “new media” and the classroom. The fairly-new adage seems to go that “once the parents and grandparents move to some sort of (social) media, the ‘kids’ [read:students] move away.” This could easily apply to teachers, and I think we might be killing off some forms of social media. This is not necessarily good or bad, but that said, there seem to me times where we, as instructors, try to use new media to be the cool teacher–picture instructor suffering from arrested development sitting backwards in a chair with a leather jacket. Are there times where we should just let a student’s Twitter feed be theirs without trying to invade it? For many students, these digital spaces may be one of their few opportunities for escape, and by invading it, I feel like we may be doing a dis-service.

Q2: How is teaching in terms of “practices” (Brooke 180) different from teaching in terms of processes or conventions of a Discourse?


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