Participatory Culture

While searching for videos about media literacy for my final project I came across the video Participatory Culture by Henry Jenkins. According to Wikipedia participatory culture is when individuals are not only consumers but also contributors and producers. Henry Jenkins described participatory culture by using 5 key ideas: relatively low barriers for engagement; strong support for sharing creations with others; informal mentorship; members believe their contributions matter; and care about others’ opinions of self and work. Not everyone has to contribute but everyone must believe that they are able to contribute if they choose and that their contributions will be valued. Today more than ever participatory culture is expanding becoming such an important part of our lives due to the internet and new technologies. These technologies allow us to collaborate; share information, news, ideas, creativity; and  create personal learning networks with people who have similar interests. I find it fascinating that we are able to throw out ideas to anyone around the world and have their collaboration and input. We are able to create meaning  in a way that we never would have been able to on our own.

I began thinking how this is going to affect me as an educator? According to Henry Jenkins 65% of teen have created media. I believe this number is only going to keep increasing. As students continue engaging in this participatory culture we live in they are going to need skills in order to participate to their full ability. According to Jenkins  textual  literacy still remains a central skill to engaging in participatory culture. Individuals first must be able to read and write in order to engage in participatory culture.  The skills needed include: the ability to understand the power of images and sounds; recognize and use that power, to manipulate and  transform digital media; to distribute them; and to easily adapt them to new forms.  As an educator in the 21st century I feel I not only need to teach myself these skills but I need to create projects that allow my students to gain these skills.  This participatory culture in which we live allows people to share their ideas and creative works  with a global audience. It creates this community where everyone feels like they are being heard.  I feel that this participatory culture in which we live is so powerful.

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