23 - Participative Pedagogy for a Literacy of Literacies

Credit to johnknowles#1154 for contributing the link for this week's Dendron Reading Series!

This article focuses on the idea of social artifacts, dubbed "Participatory media". These include forms like "blogs, wikis, RSS, tagging and social bookmarking, music-photo-video sharing, mashups, podcasts, digital storytelling, virtual communities, social network services, virtual environments, and videoblogs." Rheingold describes how these social artifacts reflect our natural essence, in the sense that we are motivated to "do complicated things together".

Rheingold seeks to connect this new media to its predecessor—print media—and account for the comparable effects. If print culture fostered the conditions for the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution, what new movements might this new media bring about? Rheingold holds off speculating too intently, but is optimistic about this new culture of "creators as well as consumers". This optimism is not without conditions—rather, Rheingold points to the necessity of having a literate populace. This new media literacy "is what is required…to create a participatory culture." This new literacy "links technology and sociality", as well as enabling and encouraging "liberty and participation".

Thus, we cannot be satisfied with the invention of new technologies like participatory media, we also must seek to understand the new interactions these technologies afford in addition to understanding the "old" interactions of "cooperation and collective action". In "building systems that support human sociality", we center our designs around how humans work together. This brings into alignment our designs with our essences: to do complicated things together.