So here I sit, enjoying the quiet and a chocolate milk before my boys get up, hearing the first stirrings and mulling over the journey I have taken with this semesters unit of Youth, Popular Culture and Text. Grab a coffee or hot chocolate and come along with me in my musings…
Where I started:
This unit represents one of three in my first semester back at uni in a number of years, and is part of a course I am undertaking in Teacher-Librarianship. It sees me coming back into the school environment after a time away building my family.
What I have learned about:
The term Popular Culture covers a wide variety of aspects including music, movies, TV, sport, games, language, social networking, blogging, and books. Popular culture influences our everyday lives impacting our lives through areas such as identity and education.
Popular Culture and Identity
Popular Culture plays a major role in the formation of identity, this influence varies from country to country as the popular culture varies from country to country, however, in saying this, there are aspects of popular culture we share. As the world becomes an ever smaller place through travel, TV, movies, music, the internet and books young people of today are exposed to increasing amounts of information from other cultures which impact on the person they become.
Popular Culture in Education
With students becoming increasingly disengaged with traditional forms of teaching and learning as this often does not relate to the world they live in and the tools they have at their fingertips, there is an increasing call for the integration of their world into the classroom. This involves the idea of bringing online environments and tools into the classroom such as facebook, twitter, youtube, gaming (which may be offline) and blogging, all aspects of popular culture. With young peoples’ increased access and use of the online world comes the need for new literacies to be taught including those of media and digital literacy with skills such as critical literacy, citizenship, cyber safety and copyright all being part of the toolkit students need to be equipped with.
So how does Popular culture affect my future role as a teacher-librarian? Popular culture will affect:
- The resources I obtain for the library ie. books, ebooks, databases,
- The way in which I use social networking sites such as Twitter (I need to be modelling their use in the way I see/want to see students using them ie. as a personal learning network),
- Any implementation I am involved in of social networking, gaming, blogging – in terms of understanding and addressing the problems associated with Henry Jenkins’ Participation Gap (a short definition of this can be found here) and those associated with bringing something from students outside school culture into the school environment.
- What I teach – incorporating topics such as copyright, cyber-safety and c’ritical literacy into my lessons.
- The displays I put together for the library and
- The information I have available for students in brochures on the website, in newsletters.
Knowing the popular culture of your students can help me (and you) to engage with them where they are at, helping to build relationships with them, understand their needs and engage with them in a way they understand.
Okay so I got interupted by 2 beautiful boys 🙂 … so back to what I was saying and to finish off…
Using Social Networking Sites for Personal Learning Networks (PLNs)
This has probably been one of the most enlightening and exciting aspects of this unit for me. I have started a Twitter account which has opened up a whole new world of information and professional development opportunities for me and the information comes to me rather than me having to go look for it! I would recommend this if you are not already part of the Twitter community as a way to connect with other professionals and learn something new. Facebook is another fantastic way in which you can connect with professionals and organisations for learning and networking.
Well I hope you have gained something from my blogging over the last little while, I know I have learned a lot. I know that there are those out there from the US, Qatar and Hong Kong as well as Australia who have been following on my journey of learning, I would love to know:
- Have you learned something new?
- Have any of the resources I have linked to provided something new, interesting or something you are able to use in your classroom?
- Do you have anything you know about that we as teachers or teacher-librarians might be able to use?
- Is there something you would like to know more about?
Finally, I hope to keep this blog up over time and add to it. I have in the works a post on youth language and the new words floating about! Look out for Amazeballs… coming to this blog soon!
Thank you for joining me on this journey