Re-Thinking Competency through Media

Here’s the PowerPoint file for a presentation I just gave in Umea, Sweden.

As new mediatic forms –from Blogs through mashups to YouTube– penetrate everyday life and reshape youth culture, it is imperative to re-think the status and significance of media in education. Media are no longer simply mass phenomena to which the competencies of an earlier mediatic age –the “literacy” of print—can be figuratively or retroactively applied.
In this presentation, Dr. Norm Friesen, Canada Research Chair in E-Learning Practices at Thompson Rivers University, argues that there is good cause to re-think the relationship of media and competences. Media—whether new digital technologies or older broadcast and print
forms—do not so much require discrete sets of competencies as they are the means through which competencies, especially social competencies, are framed and understood. And while media can serve as the basis for identifying and enumerating formal competencies (e.g. critical competencies for broadcast media), some of these same media can also undermine the separation of formal competencies from more informal kinds: Programmers can develop expert skills in open source work, while gamers can develop the eye-hand coordination of surgeons in first-person shooters. In this presentation, Dr. Friesen will explore some of these contradictions and sketch out the possibility of an expanded understanding of the relationship between media and competency.

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