Reading Response Week #5

Reading Response Week #5

Students Needing and Making Change


  1. Jenkins (2008) Afterword: Communities of Readers, Clusters of Practices
  2. Jeremy Dean: Letters to the Next President 2.0
  3. Jeremy Dean: Social Reading in the Writing Classroom: A Webinar and 5 Ways to Use for Rhet/Comp
  4. Mia Zamora: Dear Future President
  5. Remi Holden: Playful Annotation in the Open: Part 3
  6. The Effects of Over-Scheduled Children: Perspectives of Childcare Workers


This week’s required reading, Jenkins (2008) Afterword: Communities of Readers, Clusters of Practices, revealed to me that participatory online tools in the classroom are not a distraction or entertainment but a way to construct identity and navigate social environments. I do think it will take the generations of people who have not grown up with online participatory culture or even the internet itself time to understand and accept this concept, though. It is still revolutionary enough to be divisive. On another topic, having taught in many low-income schools I have been well aware of the digital divide and the struggles to get equitable hardware and software to the disadvantaged. Though I have felt this was a tremendous hurdle, I don’t feel it even compares to “the participation gap” mentioned in this chapter. The participation gap not only requires the digital divide to close but needs a completely new pedagogy to emerge and be accepted from the top of the system to the bottom of the schools. This is an enormous undertaking, and will take work considering the generation gap mentioned above. I am sure these changes with eventually take place, though, because of the need for advancement in education.

For these changes to take place teachers are asked to become participants themselves in the participatory culture. This seems to be a reoccurring them in this course, I am guessing not by accident. Once again I am reminded that you can’t understand from looking from the outside in but need to be immersed in order for true comprehension. Plus belonging in this way allows a person to set their own goals, have a sense of responsibility, and care about being a part of something larger.

Before this chapter, I was unaware there could be a distinction between participatory culture and web 2.0. According to this work, web 2.0 is a business model where participants can be exploited as consumers that contribute to the free labor of attention. Participatory culture, on the other hand, has a long history of people coming together to create and connect without a systematic organization. This is important to know so that the 2.0 business model does not inadvertently wind up in the education system. The last thing we need is for amazing online tools to become systemized, bureaucratic and used in a traditional education style.

What students need is a participatory culture with real world consequences like what can be found in Letters to the Next President 2.0 and Dear Future President., the online annotation tool, has created a project to involve youth in annotating activities for the 2016 election. Students can fact-check candidate statements, comment on speeches, annotate campaign websites, etc. This is exactly the type of authentic learning students should be doing in school. It’s interesting, applicable, community oriented, participatory and real. Students will be invested in their own learning and the events in the world around them.

The Letters to the Next President project got me thinking about how young people today were going to navigate their own work-life balance (my focal theme) in the future. Were they going to have the same situations we have today or would life become even more complex as it has for us compared to the olden days of past? Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find many studies about how the youth of today felt about work-life balance in the future. But I did think about what life is like for children today in terms of time and schedules. I found many reviewed studies like The Effects of Over-Scheduled Children: Perspectives of Childcare Workers , about the ways kids today are overscheduled and stressed out. This study claims that being over scheduled as a child may lead to being overscheduled as an adult, which can lead to poor work-life balance. Also, many overscheduled children are tired and emotionally exhausted, which can lead to illness. Sick children make the work-life balance of their parents even harder as schedules become disrupted, childcare becomes an issue and work does not get done. Maybe all of us, not just kids, are overscheduled and need to reevaluate the hectic nature of our lives. Maybe as technology advances and education improves the children of the future will teach us how to live balanced lives.



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