Participatory Media for Education: Next Generation Teaching and Learning
With the advent of Web 2.0 technologies, participation and collaboration have become predominant experiences on the Web. In the education domain, these tools can provide a framework for student-centered, flexible learning environments that adapt to students' needs and interests. Yet participatory media for education is an emerging space - research is in its infancy and people are only starting to explore how these tools support instructor goals, student engagement and learning outcomes.
Howard Rheingold, a professor and edtech evangelist is at the forefront of this exploration. In 2008, after winning the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media for Learning Competition, Rheingold commissioned the Social Media Classroom, an open source coursesite built around embedded social media tools, such as wikis, blogs, forums and social bookmarking. Early adoption of this site has provided us with a unique opportunity to observe and compare usage and perceptions across courses.
Through interviews, surveys and observations of SMC usage, we analyze patterns of use, expectations, motivations, perspectives and readiness of both students and instructors to deepen the understanding of participatory media for education, as well as inform future research questions.
In addition, because this is such an emerging space, our project has spearheaded more formal discussions in iSchools and beyond. We recently held a Symposium on Next Generation Teaching and Learning (NGTL) to bring students, faculty, educators and industry leaders together around this subject. We will also continue our research and efforts through the Center for NGTL next year.