Prof. (Dr.) K.V. Nagaraj
Pro Vice Chancellor
Information Communication technology programmes revolutionized almost all walks of human life including the education sector. To address the political and cultural challenges, a new strategy is needed. The fifth estate provides a platform for innovative style of learning. The Mediavist approach will help to tackle the cultural impacts. This approach is an intervention of media in education sector with a critical outlook. To assure learner autonomy in learning in a highly sophisticated mobile application environment, Learner Responsive Pedagogy is needed. This pedagogy is a practical implication of mediavism. The Mediavist approach and Learner Responsive Pedagogy enhances to meet the challenges of edupolises, the public private partnership model promoted by capitalists.
Key words: Mediavism, Learner Responsive Pedagogy, Mobile learning applications, Edupolis
MEDIAVISM IN FIFTH ESTATE PLATFORM
Prof. (Dr.) K.V. Nagaraj
Pro Vice Chancellor
Information Communication Technology (ICT) scrawled on the ground of education in its first phase with a purely negative potential for teaching-learning. The curriculum has been limited to basic computer literacy that focusing on operating system and office suite which have little pedagogical relevance and transacted by 'computer teachers'. Thus the first generation of Information Communication Technology bypassed the regular teaching staff in the school. The second generation has a wide acceptance in almost all sectors including education.
Educationists have been involved in designing second generation Information Communication Technology programmes. Now Information Communication Technology programmes serve to achieve larger educational goals, rather than being an end in them, curriculum pertains to regular mainstream subjects, transacted by regular school teachers and teacher educators. During the first generation operations, there was a fog of fear that this technology may expel the teachers from class rooms and appoint some technical operators. The fear vaporized in the second generation developments which exposed its strength in class room interventions. The Information Communication Technology trainers did not undermine the chalk-talk method used in classrooms, but rather encouraged the use of Information Communication Technology programmes as an additional tool for teaching-learning. Politically the popularization of Information Communication Technology developments has its own agendas. Critical media and adult education scholars have argued that the media, through the ways they portray characters and issues, both reproduce and challenge hegemonic relationships of race, class, gender, sexual orientation and ableness (Tisdell and Thompson 2007).
Towards the Fifth Estate
The second generation developments in Information Communication Technology opened up a new avenue of linkages. Network is the major characteristics of this generation. The networked individuals play crucial role in the invisible net. It gave way for the ‘fifth estate’ as William H. Dutton named. ‘Networked individuals’ can move across, undermine and go beyond the boundaries of existing institutions. This provides the basis for the pro-social networks that compose what I am calling the ‘Fifth Estate’. These self-selected, Internet-enabled, networked individuals often break from existing organizational and institutional networks that are themselves being transformed in Internet space( William H. Dutton, 2007).
Transformation in all sectors is the major contribution of the fifth estate. It challenged the autocratic and authentic boasts of the fourth estate. Citizen journalists, bloggers, researchers, politicians, government agencies, Non Government Organisations, Right To Information activists and more are putting information online. This information provides a novel source of news as a competing alternative to the Fourth Estate. There are several examples as of Salam Pax, the now famous ‘Baghdad Blogger’ that challenged the authenticity of mainstream media. The blog reports helped to change the media agenda in Iraq war by casting net of a local Iraqi perspective. These kinds of interventions are relevant in education which I may call as mediavism.
Mediavism on the Road
Mass media content is not an innocent revelation. It is a consciously manufactured cultural product. This product plays a key role in creating public opinion and power substitutes. To educators it is a means to equip learners to read their surroundings and cultural notions. Henry A Giroux (2004) observes cultural studies becomes available as a resource to educators Cultural studies, pedagogy, and responsibility who can then teach students how to look at the media (industry and texts), analyze audience reception, challenge rigid disciplinary boundaries, critically engage popular culture, produce critical knowledge, or use cultural studies to reform the curricula and challenge disciplinary formations within public schools and higher education.
The third party reading or observation will not help learners properly to address the issues. The learners should be equipped to be part and parcel of the media interventions by using the same tools. Here a critical approach is necessary in finding subjects, choosing information, stating the problem and present it in a platform. This ‘news making’ process will not be an impartial attempt. Instead it is a conscious immersion in media world through education. It is an alternate way for expression. In an interview, Henry A Giroux claimed that “The educational force of the wider culture is now the primary site where education takes place, what I have called public pedagogy—modes of education largely produced, mediated, and circulated through a range of educational spheres extending from the new media and old broadcast media to films, newspapers, television programs, cable TV, cell phones, the Internet, and other commercial sites. Ideologically, the knowledge, values, identities, and social relations produced and legitimated in these sites are driven by the imperatives of commodification, privatization, consuming, and deregulation. At stake here is the creation of a human being that views him or herself as a commodity, shopper, autonomous, and largely free from any social obligations. This is a human being without ethics, a concern for others, and indifferent to human suffering. And the pedagogy that promotes these values and produces this subject is authoritarian and ruthless in its production of savage economic relations, a culture of cruelty, and its deformation of democratic social bonds. One could say that capitalist culture has produced a predatory culture of control and cruelty that promotes vast forms of suffering and repression and it does this increasingly through cultural apparatuses that promote widespread symbolic violence”.
I hereby coin the term Mediavism to explain the educational interventions in media scene by combining two words viz. media and activism. The activist mode and mood of content generation is the prime probability of this approach. The Mediavist approach enables students to post logical queries and familiarise them with private debates as precursors to public engagement as critical questioning skills are mastered. More so, this user-friendly ambience renders informing possible through presentation of queries, which would not otherwise be raised in educators due to perceived psycho-social, cognitive, and semiotic fragilities like feelings of alienation, limited self-confidence, and constrained linguistic competence.
The politics of education become active here. “Politicizing education cannot decipher the distinction between critical teaching and pedagogical terrorism because its advocates have no sense of the difference between encouraging human agency and social responsibility and molding students according to the imperatives of an unquestioned ideological position. Politicizing education is more religious than secular and more about training than educating; it harbors a great dislike for complicating issues, promoting critical dialogue, and generating a culture of questioning” (Henry a Giroux).
The Fifth Estate paves a platform for such an intervention for educators to create and share critical thoughts. John Dewey, one of the founders of The New School,emphasized that education does not only take place in schools and that it ought to prepare learners for democratic citizenship. Institutional learning should not foster individualism but rather emphasize community development, which is the basis for the improvement of society. Ivan illich also observed that we have all learned most of what we know outside school. For Freire, pedagogy was deeply connected to social change. Informal social networks are crucial in that process, connecting students with their peers and with teachers.
Mediavism is the way for sharing the critical perspectives in a mediated environment. Mediavism never neglect or undermine the traditional strategies like chalk and board, lectures, hand written assignments, group discussions or group works. All these attempts are complementary to this approach. The advent of the World Wide Web brought about an information revolution (Web 1.0). The Web 2.0 is characterized by social collaboration and user-customization with the social networking sites. The canvas of collaborative and cooperative learning is expanded from a small group inside the class to a global network. Even a highly introvert student get a chance to express feelings and share views through the fifth estate platforms. The mediavism style will shift from desk tops to mobile applications very fast. Jackson (2012) argues that there will never be a Web 3.0 because the next paradigm shift of the Internet is mobile rather than desktop browser-based.
Learner Responsive Pedagogy
To practice the mediavist approach in class rooms through mobile applications, a pedagogical stand is a necessity. Assurance of learner autonomy and freedom is the heart of this approach. Learners are responsible for all sharing where they get an authenticity. It also enhances every learner to make responses. “Pedagogy is not simply about the social construction of knowledge, values, and experiences; it is also a performative practice embodied in the lived interactions among educators, audiences, texts, and institutional formations. Pedagogy, at its best, implies that learning takes place across a spectrum of social practices and settings” (Henry A Giroux).
Learner Response Pedagogy is the strategy to safe guard the learner autonomy in a more personalized educational environment. Mobile applications enhance the learner to gather information and share them constantly with an intimate feeling. Just as the post-modern society emerged out of modernism, we are experiencing a transformation of Web 2.0 into post Web 2.0 mobile social media. This “brings the potential to appropriate new pedagogies that harness the potential of mobile social media to create powerful situated, authentic, and informal learning experiences and bridge these into formal learning” (Vavoula, 2007).
Jessica Irish in the essay, Learning on Mobile Platforms argue:While I do ask my students to turn off their phones in class, many of my favorite ways to use technology in teaching embrace the ubiquity of the contemporary cell phone. Learning happens equally, if not more, outside the classroom, and finding a way to have students begin to use their phones towards their broader learning seems a worthwhile effort.
Smart phones through mobile applications have relevance in education sector. This tool could be utilized fruitfully in media education and in other disciplines. The Learning and Teaching Development Fellows (LTDF) Journalism Communities of Practice (COP) led to reinventing the case study approach to modeling the use of mobile social media in class. The intention was to get students to collate, curate, and critique actual source content around a mobile social media incident in Journalism.
Students chose a breaking incident of mobile social media and used Storify.com either on their iPads or laptops to collate and comment upon Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Flickr and other mobile social media, creating an annotated rich media story of the event or incident. The assignment question became: “How if at all have social media altered the way journalists and public relations practitioners interact? Use real examples from at least three social media platforms as well as academic sources to back up your arguments” (Assessment schedule 2012). This was then either published to their own blog, or their own Storify.com site for their lecturer to mark.
Students interacted directly with rich mobile social media, developing creative rich-media stories that required metacognitive critiques. There was a considerably higher level of critique and creativity evidenced in the Storify.com project in comparison to that evidenced in previous essay versions of the assessment. Students used Storify to express and create very personalized critiques of the impact of social media on Journalism. The best essays made the most of the platform and the freedom to include multimedia examples.
These students also altered their style and the way they wrote into the examples to make their essays fit the medium. Further, by using a mixture of books, journal articles and discussions on social media, these students were able to explore the question far more deeply than most of those who stuck to the more traditional format. Initial feedback from students suggests they enjoyed the opportunity to explore social media in a way other that for social purposes. Most also realize the need to be confident using social media for their future role as professional communicators. (Cochrane, T., Antonczak, L., Gordon, A., Sissons, H. & Withell, A. 2012).
Learner Responsive Pedagogy has two tier implications. First, the learner can share feelings and findings through mobile applications as the above quoted experience narrates. Second, the educators can create a data bank to transfer specific information or curriculum needs. Teaching notes and texts could be transferred. Edusanchar designed by Dr. Mangesh Karandikar is an example for transferring media education content through mobile application. Redefining mobile learning is their motto. The mobile application provides the concepts, key terms for media and communication related studies.
Mediavism through Learner Responsive Pedagogy is a threat to edupolises which are the power house of capitalistic education in a public private partnership flagship. “As I have stressed repeatedly, academics, teachers, students, parents, community activists, and other socially concerned groups must provide the first line of defense in protecting public and higher education as a resource vital to the moral life of the nation, and open to people and communities whose resources, knowledge, and skills have often been viewed as marginal”
Implementing mobile technology tools into curricula is more difficult than desktop web-based tools because the industry enforces individual ownership of devices, complicating the purchase of devices and service plans. Educators need the community to donate labor to open-source tools. Governments could design public-interest profit incentives (e.g., tax breaks, community access funds, discount subsidies) so carriers and manufacturers donate plenty of bandwidth and devices to non-profit learning institutions (David Carroll). The next education will be focused upon mobile applications with the advent support of the users and designers
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