Preparing students for the new media

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Clay Shirky’s latest Ted Talk has huge implications for education. Through the use of three modern day examples (a movement to prevent voter suppression, an earthquake, and a political discussion) he argues that the way people send and receive messages (news) has shifted from a model that has historically been largely crafted and controlled by the sender, to now one that is completely uncontrolled and reported (unedited) in real time.

Traditional audiences of media have now also become producers of media.

What that means is that through the use of media tools like Twitter, Facebook, and Blogs, citizens now routinely beat news and government agencies to the punch when it comes to announcing and spreading messages.

Shirky outlines the implications of a new media model that is:

  • Global
  • Social
  • Ubiquitous, and
  • Cheap

When it’s inevitable that the majority of your students are not going to simply sit back and listen to the media, but become active producers of media, wouldn’t it be wise to begin a discussion about what this means?  Since the production and distribution of media is no longer controlled, and amateurs are now as powerful as TV networks or newspaper conglomerates, how do we prepare our students to participate in ways that create value?

Watching Shirky will make you realize that shift really does happen. Now the question becomes, how do we, as educators, deal with this?

Using the comment section below, please share with us your thoughts.