In the previous post I described briefly what some of the experience was like as a teacher of Media Studies at Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate School. I am aware that I have not provide a ‘critical analysis’ from a ‘number of perspectives’-such as my own, the learners involved, my colleagues and indeed, the literature.
My personal view was that the specification for Media Studies tended to be somewhat dated. For example there was no inclusion of Social Media, Twitter, Tumblr or anything like that (Facebook was actually banned by the school filtering system). So there was no chance for the students to engage critically with any of these technologies. Cyber bullying was an issue-incidents would flare up and then die down. There were also examples of inappropriate and unpleasant uses of mobile technology-sexting and the like (I think one student took a picture of his own genitals and this some how got into the public domain and went around the school much to his embarrassment). There was no strategy for dealing with this as far as I could tell. Mobile phones were ostensibly ‘banned’ but in practice all students carried them and would discreetly and sometimes not-so-discreetly use them in class. Generally in Media it was not an issue as I was keen to make positive use of camera phones and indeed when I personally had an iPhone would lend it to students to use for their work, still it could be problematic when certain draconian advocates of ‘behaviour management’ would come and visit the class.
The leaners loved to use their mobiles as a part of their learning and responded incredibly positively to this. To me the ideal was to integrate their interest in this technology with their understanding of media in general, in as broadly an inclusive a way as possible. I was aided and abetted by a very helpful IT support guy who pre-Iphone, helped me load Sony software on to the PC’s that the students sat at (in rows like something out of ye olden days) so that we could utilise mobile phone images. It is funny as prior to the school rebuild the computers were arranged in clusters and were Macs-it was all very ‘space age’ and then when the new classrooms came on stream the computers were in rows (PCs but with the same software) and it was so old-fashioned-definitely some of the light went out! Also I think simultaneously the school was ‘improving’ getting its act together in terms of certain management procedures and the whole thing became so much more draconian in terms of what the students could ‘get away with’ or indeed the teacher was allowed to preside over-rows of quiet children diligently doing their work at their desks was the order of the day by the time I left!
My colleagues seemed to lack interest in the phenomena of Social Media, which I found quite strange-the Head of our Faculty did not in fact have a Facebook profile as he was ‘too busy’. I thought it strange as he was a ‘Media Specialist’ and surely on some level an engagement and interest in Social Media was part of his job! Other problems would ensue when some teachers would take the opposite tack and ‘friend’ the students. I tried this but on a specially set up account away from my personal account. However I soon became aware that I was opening a can of worms as to the content that some of the young people would post and that it was not really appropriate so I disabled the account.
As for the literature-I will have to look at other’s blogs on the MOOC and also my Masters dissertation-’To what extent may social networking tools and associated digital technologies assist in the transformation of current consumer society to a more sustainable, equitable and creative model in particular through educational and cultural institutions?’