Inside the Mediascape

When I first downloaded TikTok I thought “what is the point of this? It’s just a bunch of people recreating dances over and over again.” I thought back to grade 9 when my friends and I would spend our recesses watching Vine, laughing and showing each other our favourite videos. Someone had told me that TikTok was the same as Vine, and I told them no. That Vine had original content on it. That people weren’t just mimicking each other to create the same style of video – but were they? And how were we contributing to the building and ongoing participatory culture?

Well, as Michael Wesch points out in his video “An anthropological introduction to YouTube”, The Crank Dat (Soulja Boy) dance that my friend taught me when I was 10 years old at a community function was an example of how we have taken part in the online participatory culture.

So how does all of this translate into our classrooms? As we have commented in class, there are many great possibilities – some positive and some negative – for our future students based on the participatory culture we have online. Let’s use TikTok for our example. This app can be used in the classroom by allowing students to create videos displaying what they have learned. On the other hand, using platforms such as TikTok in the classroom does expose students to a place where bullying and discrimination does occur.

For myself, as I mentioned in my post all about Twitter, for students to use a social networking platform they would first need a lesson on appropriate use of the app and a lesson on online identities. This is an important lesson for students to receive in general, but especially if they will be using these online platforms in the classroom.

If you are interested in other thoughts on TikTok in the classroom, check out this article from Education Week.

Overall, I see value in using the web to link students to professionals who can further their learning experience. Wesch explains how the “mediascape” connects us all across all platforms. The participatory culture we live in leads us to interact with one another by providing our own take on trends, connecting us in a way that may surprise some. While the increasing use of technology and media may seem like we are disconnecting from others, the use of the Web allows us to be more connected than ever before.

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