This keynote session focused on the controversy surround wikipedia and how it can/cannot and ought/ought not be used.
Henry Jenkins discusses the project of New Media LIteracies at MIT. He begins by discussing some of the historical discussion and controversy around using Wikipedia as a new media source.
A focus from the Macarthur Foundation and NML is about to negotiate and evaluate information online.
He emphasizes participatory culture, which he defines as:
• low barriers to artistic expression
• strong support for creating and sahring your own creations
• informal mentorship
• members feel their contributions are relevant
• some degree of social connection between members
He challenges the notion of "digital natives" and "digital immigrants", because digital immigrants tend to absolve themselves from participation.
• Social skills and social competencies -- he makes a Vygotskian argument that New Media LIteracies that to write and to send a message is a central part of the New Media LIteracies.
• Requires participation
• Take into account youth's cultural lives, but also discusses the emerging cultures of the media themselves
• Skills and access are unevenly distributed for a variety of reasons
• Changes the discussion to media ethics
• Play off-line as well as online -- online activities are making their way into offline cultures and mores
• Build on existing research skills and curricular framework, and are integrated across the literacies
He identifies three core challenges:
• Participation gap: unequal access to opportunities, experiences, skills, and knowledge
•• Pew center: 55% of youth have produced media online -- what about the other 45%
• Students don't think about how the media (such as games) are really powerful and may give them information and misinformation
• The ethics challenge -- students aren't socialized about how to make important decisions about what types of materials and information about themselves they should put onlne
New Media LIteracies:
• Collective Intelligence (the ability to pool knowledge)
• Judgment (the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility)
Wikipedia is not a consumption point -- it is a process of participation. It is not set of articles, it is a set of people involved in a process.
Wikipedia, in qualitative terms, tends to be about as accurate as an Encyclopedia Britannica article on the same subject (Nature article). Wikipedia's ability to evolve makes it more temperally accurate.
A game of "how to get from topic a to topic b in as few clicks as possible".
He believes that Wikipedia is actualized collective intelligence -- we all know more together than what we each know individually.He takes the notion of "experts" and expertise, and seems to be coming down squarely on the size of collective intelligence. So new media literacies are really about learning how to focus knowledge about listening to and collecting knowledge from multiple types of experts.
While I like this idea in theory, it seems to me overly naive. Expertise is real -- a group of non-nuclear physicists will likely never produce a working system for nuclear fission. Doesn't that require expertise?
Alternative reality games -- where people engage in long-term, complex knowledge scavenger hunts. I would like to explore this further.
Systemic bias -- why does Isaac Asimov get so much airtime, more than Woodrow Wilson, in wikipedia? He frames the question as "What knowledge matters to whom in what context?" He suggests that diversity matters in a knowledge culture, which has access points.
Six questions to ask:
1. Who made it? And for what purpose?
2. Who is the target audience? How is the message tailored?
3. What is the different techniques?
4. What messages are communicated? Systemic bias?
5. How current, accurate, and credible in this message?
6. What is left out?