Media Connections: My final reflection

What I learned from the course

I have learned through this course that the meaning of literacy has been influenced by technology both of present and the past. Digital technology has enabled us to view literacy not simply as understanding what we read and write and accepting it, but analyzing various representations of information, and drawing connections with other related information to create our own knowledge network. Bolter (2000) emphasizes that although cultures have previously promoted a unified, homogenous, traditional community through print, radio, television, and now computer technologies, the preference now is to use the emerging technologies to “…promote multiplicity, heterogeneity, and immediate, if temporary, connections” (p. 204). Therefore, Bolter claims that the ideal of a unified high culture has been replaced by a network of several interest groups, which are free to create and share information without permission or even awareness of a central authority.

Connections made with the work of others

Although the information shared within the course was heavily text-based, there was a good variety of sources provided such as ebooks, journal articles, podcasts, videos, webpages, etc. However, much has been learned through working collaboratively with peers (both in person and online) to complete the final project, and through reading and responding to the work of others.

Lisa’s video in the introduction section of our Flipped Learning presentation provided a great overview for me to understand exactly what it means to flip a classroom and how technology can be used effectively in various ways to create this environment. By researching literacy within the context of flipped learning, I was able to find specific information in literature both within and outside class that supported the (proper) implementation of this teaching methodology in schools to help students develop 21st century literacy skills. Heidi’s feedback section further supports flipped learning by effectively summarizing why teachers, students, and parents are in favour of it. Her overview of the tools provides those with an interest in creating, presenting, and/or sharing videos some insight as to the benefits and drawbacks of a few options.

Stacey and Jose’s final project included great videos and graphic organizers to present information about the technology behind cameras and photography. I particularly found the video on the 14 Principles of Multimedia Learning to be particularly helpful when thinking about how to use images effectively in a presentation.

Ashley, Ben, and Dan invited us to experience first-hand the excitement of learning via a Choose Your Own Adventure presentation. Although the creation of such a project can be very time-consuming experience when working with new technological tools, as they mentioned in their artist statement, the result is that students can be highly engaged when they can choose their own learning path, each with its own fantastic mix of multimedia combining meaningful words and images. It was even more special that they created this unique CYOA experience using a Weebly site that many of us are already familiar with, and by sharing their presentation map on the blog, we could see the required planning behind such an endeavour.

These are just a few of the many great collaborative projects that I enjoyed exploring and learning from in this course. Michael Wesch (2008), whose video lecture was one of my favourite resources among the course material we covered, discussed what students need to be literate in this digital world:
• A storyline which provides the meaning and context for education
• A learning environment in which the students are valued and given control over their learning
• Both of these things must be done such that recognizes and empowers the existing media environment as an effective tool for learning

Thanks to the efforts of my instructors and peers in this ETEC 540, I have a better understanding of how to design my future curriculum to meet these literacy needs, and what media tools can be used to achieve them. I hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

References
Bolter, J.D. (2000). Writing space: Computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Wesch, M. (2008, July 10). A Portal to Media Literacy [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4yApagnr0s

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