Culture: Media Convergence and Networked Participation

Culture: Media Convergence and Networked Participation

Salie Davis

I have a particular interest in open source and creative commons licensing. The book, Culture: Media Convergence and Networked Participation talks about the term “Publics” as being a shared culture. This culture operates outside of economics. The current capitalistic culture, once based on rewards and economic gain through contribution and hard work, has disintegrated from a three class step society, two a two class have and have nots of varying degrees.  With the increased technology making participation more accessible, the lower classes struggle against economic barriers by attempting to educate and assist the common culture through these technologies.  “Publics can be reactors, (re)makers and (re)distributors, engaging in shared culture and knowledge through discourse and social exchange as well as through acts of media reception” (Varnelis, 2012, Pg. 3) This works in today’s culture due to the ability to pool from a larger geography of participants.

With technology advancement, much like the evolution of the printing press and eventual media industry, Governments and top level economic status, work to create structural barriers to limit the commons exchange of thoughts and ideas in order to maintain control over the populations. One example of this is the limit on cross border internet communications. This is not only through country barriers but even region barriers within countries. For example the United States has the New England region and the South Eastern, etc.  This means when shopping online the individual is limited to options by region which essentially limits the individuals’ choices.

According to the text however, “Yochai Benkler sees these decentralized networks of communication and exchange as major catalysts of the shift to a networked information economy that is displacing the industrial information economy” (Varnelis, 2012, Pg. 8) This proposal suggests that nonmarket devices will increase through the advancement of media convergence and networked participation. Michael Bauwens also theorizes that human network- based organization may result in individuals “…engaged in the production of common resources, without recourse to monetary compensation as key motivating factor, and not organized according to hierarchical methods of command and control” (Varnelis, 2012, Pg. 8). This is explained as the networked information economy of which the costs for producing creative applications can be shared over the public space between like-minded participants who can forgo the price system in order to creatively combine their interests to create projects. This results in “…nonmarket sector of information, knowledge, and cultural production…” (Varnelis, 2012, Pg. 8).

This book does well to incorporate several different possible theories of future change based on the increase of networked participation such as the theories of Bauwens who describes this network as a person to person (P2P) interaction increasing significant social, economic and political exchanges between individuals that would not normally take place. In the same text it is also pointed out that human nature seeks like minds, therefor there is a debate that exists as to whether this P2P interaction truly initiates change or whether it just reinforces currently held beliefs through the increased access to assemble with like minds.

Varnelis keeps the discussion well rounded through the analysis of several different opinions such as Garret Hardin’s “The Tragedy of the Commons,” that considers the norm of the public realm to be individualistic and self-serving, therefor the commons is an unrealistic ideal that cannot come to full fruition or the opinions of Jane Jacobs who states her theories that the public sphere is only minimally social in nature. (Varnelis, 2012, Pg. 45). The conclusion that I am able to most relate to is … ” persistent predictions of imminent doom for established content industries, together with fears of corporate litigation and monopolistic forces squelching the emerging common culture, indicate that the future of public culture is still very much up for grabs” (Varnelis, 2012, Pg. 49). Therefore, the uncertainty and various possible future outcomes that exist as institutional and professional authorities are challenged by networked participation in the social, cultural and political realms. One example of this is the fact that P2P and creative commons sharing “…is new legislation by existing media conglomerates aiming to extend the scope of their copyright and prevent the creation of derivative work” (Varnelis, 2012, Pg. 158). It seems only through active participation can we take an active role in determining the final outcome.

Varnelis, K. (2012). Networked Publics. Cambridge, US: The MIT Press. Retrieved from

Educating Youth Via Video

At the Empire State College All College Conference I was fortunate to take the seminar, “Getting to Project Completion”. I was inspired by these concepts and how they aligned with my educational goals to teach project based or goal orientated learning. For adults the concepts and steps that must be learned can be more easily processed when presented via text or lecture than if presented in the same means to a young child.

I also took the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test in preparation for the seminar “Understanding your personality and how to work with others” Personality types is beneficial to understand when trying to reach a specific learner. Extroversion, introversion, sensing, intuition, thinking, feeling, judging, or perception concerning learning styles can easily be misinterpreted or seen as one being less desirable than the other. In the seminar we were inspired to see the knowledge of personality, or in this application, learning styles, as a tool in development and improvement.

I can imagine my daughter attending the seminar, distracted and unimpressed. Even with encouragement she would not have been able to absorb or retain the information presented. For young children this concept is much more complex and they do not have the prior learning or experience to help reinforce their understanding of these concepts. Finding visual ways to assist in elementary learning has been a studied and proven technique that improves the success rate in the retention of the knowledge presented. Finding ways to connect this knowledge to a child’s experiences and reinforce the learning through repetition to establish long term memory and retention of learning.

Understanding how short term memory evolves into long term memory is beneficial in designing repeated concepts that reinforce effective learning. To transition a new concept into learning the learning module can attach the new knowledge to what is already known creating associations. Through the process of repeat associations and stimulus through sensory registers long term memory is accessed and expanded on

In designing learning modules for youth, in addition to declarative knowledge, which can be accomplished through basic patterns and concepts such as math, procedural knowledge will help the student learn how to apply knowledge to specific tasks. Creating a teaching module that focuses on how to create a goal, for example and how to achieve that goal is project based learning.

Visual learning is considered the most effective means of learning and creating video presentations helps connect the visual with the verbal sensory inputs. Studies have been done with elementary level learners and can be used to help even young learners self-regulate. The video can go through several basic examples using everyday activities as the goal example.  The example video, rather than simply creating a lecture video is a proven successful tool in fostering an open learning environment. Incorporating incentives was also seen as a productive means to reinforce open education.

The learning module can be most effective when it takes the new concepts and connects them to concepts already learned. Creating a goal for a project involves many steps; thinking about why the project is important, helping the learner consider why they should care about the project, what steps are needed to complete the project, and what the project will accomplish.

For younger students to get them used to the new cognitive process of the steps needed for project planning and completion we can engage sensory registers and reinforce the new concept. This new concept begins as a short term memory item. By connecting the abstract concepts of setting a goal to concrete examples we connect the new concept to long term memory associations.








Fößl, T. t., Ebner, M. m., Schön, S. s., & Holzinger, A. a. (2016). A Field Study of a Video Supported Seamless-Learning-Setting with Elementary Learners. Journal Of Educational Technology & Society, 19(1), 321-336.


Sultana, N., Kubra, B., & Khan, U. A. (2015). EFFECT OF VISUAL STYLE-BASED INSTRUCTION ON LEARNERS’ ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AT ELEMENTARY LEVEL. Gomal University Journal Of Research, 31(2), 146-155.

Achieving Your Goal – for children

Here is a relevant blog post concerning Goal driven learning

Identifying the Goal

These are the steps you would first repeat to the child, then as the child becomes familiar with them you would prompt, “What is the next step?” We will use a cooking example here. Remember to have the child state, “what is my goal.” instead of simply “bake a cake.”

Ask Questions

When identifying a goal it will be important to ask you student questions to challenge the motivation behind their desire to accomplish the goal.


Why is the project based goal being done? In our cooking example it may be. ”

“So I can bake a cake.”

Why is it important?

“It will be my sisters birthday tomorrow.”

Why should people care?

“Everyone will share in the joy and reward of eating a cake made by me for my sister.”


What is the Goal? (what you want to achieve)

“to learn to cook a cake.”

Remember to delve deeper in the thought process, I.E. “What are the objectives to the goal?

“To complete the cake in time for my sisters birthday party.”

“what are the challenges or resistance that might be faced?

I have never cooked a cake before.”

What needs to happen and when?

“Read the recipe, gather the ingredients, mix the ingredients, follow the steps, bake the cake, decorate the cake, and eat the cake.”


Who is involved?

“Me My Mom, My Dad, and My sister.”


When does this need to be accomplished?

“This afternoon, before tomorrow.”


Identify where the task will take place. “in the kitchen”


Make a list of the steps that will be needed to accomplish the goal.

Dream or Goal

step one: Identify the Goal

What is the goal specifically?  An example would be Bake a Cake. Naming the goal helps solidify the commitment to accomplishing the goal.

Step two: Establish a Goal Time Frame.

Is this a long term goal or a short term goal? Create a set time frame for completion, while allowing for some flexibility for learning. In our example the time frame would be 3 hours of instruction time and preparation/ cooking time. This gives ample time for novice students.

Step three. Identify participants in the goal and roles

Who will participate in the accomplishment of this goal?

“Myself, my parents, and my sister”

What will the roles be for those involved?

Mom is the leader. She will instruct and Guide. I will complete the tasks. Dad will evaluate the success of the outcome. My sister will experience a birthday surprise.”

Step Four. List tools and resources needed for the goal.

In the cooking example a list can be created and gathered.

All cooking utensils and equipment needed.

Stove, pots, pot holders, spatulas, bowls, etc.

All food items needed according to the recipe.

Eggs, Milk, flour, coco powder, etc.

Step five. Complete the goal through an activity based lesson.

Help the student achieve their goal through solid goal setting, preparation and guidance through the activity.

Lesson plan preparation

Prior to beginning the task discuss all the steps.

Demonstrate the task either  in person, or via video. Allow the student to ask questions and address concerns before beginning the project.

Prepare the student

Before each goal is decided review goal setting steps through video, charts,, discussions, or other venues.

Before each activity

Review goal setting steps through videos, charts, discussions or other venue.

ChartSMART Smart Goal Setting

ChecklistSMART Smart Goal Setting

Lesson Plan Objectives

When teaching goal setting to children the objective is not simply to teach them how to accomplish the named task. The objective is to teach them the steps for goal setting and goal accomplishment through activity based learning. Hence by naming the steps each time and having the children learn the steps, they are learning how to accomplish any goal.

Methods of evaluation

Self evaluation

Self evaluation: Ask the student to self evaluate.

Did you start on time?

Did you end on time?

Was the project to big, to hard??

Was it to small, to easy?

What did you enjoy?

What steps were you challenged by?

What would you do again?

What would you do differently?

Observational evaluation

Mentor, parent or teacher led observation based on the outcome criteria.

Badging will be awarded by the instructor for learning goal setting.

Peer Evaluation

Peer evaluation based on the goals outcome and/or set feedback guidelines. Peer badges can be awarded for specific goals if done with a larger group of peers through the voting process.

Adolescent Interviews concerning social networking

Note: I interviewed a few different teens and one was particularly sarcastic. So take that into account when reading.

What do you use social networking for?

Teen 1: I like seeing what my friends are up to and finding interesting things to watch/share. Sometimes I play games on Facebook for fun. (instead of shooting it up in the bathroom) Interviewer note: This was the sarcasm, this teen never “shot it up” but instead feels “adults” see youth and social media in a negative light. This response does show that teens take the “friend me” on facebook very personal. If you are on their page you are a “friend” and that comes with expectations and it’s own set of social and cultural rules.
Teen 2: For advertising art, posting prices, etc. Art pages and personal pages are separate. One page for personal account, one for art, one for cars talk. Interviewer note: This teen expressed online as multi level, one for her desire to promote and make money from her art, and other layers for different “groups” of friends. Her personal page, able to be viewed by adults was more guarded, Other pages, like the one about cars was more opinionated and vulgar. This showed that youth understands the need to separate according to social networked audiences.

On social networking sites, what posts are you most likely to pay attention to, from most to least?

Teen 1: idk, posts from my close friends, posts from bands, pages or stores I like, posts from family, posts from other classmates
Teen 2: Memes, Short videos, short posts and longer video or posts  I don’t have time for. Interviewer note: This was good information. Keep it short, to the point and make sure it is interesting. In other words if they don’t really “know you” the content you post has to make a personal connection to them or they won’t give it a glance.

Do you think online time should be limited?

Teen 1: Hell no.
Teen 2:  No

Interviewer note: Digital media is part of their culture. It is like requiring students not to talk in class and then saying, don’t talk on the bus either, or at lunch, or in the halls…..

Do you ever use social networking for educational pursuits?

Teen 1: I once saw my teacher post boob pics….Not really. Some of my clubs/activities at school have Facebook groups so we can keep in touch. Sometimes classmates and I will message each other if we have questions on assignments. A few of my upper level classes have used Facebook groups as well. Interviewer note: Again this was sarcasm and a way to point out that most adults think “worse case scenario” when it comes to social networking.
Teen 2: Once for working on classes with a friend. Interviewer note: I can safely gather that if education and social networking is used in the same sentence, peer involvement is essential.

At what age do you think social networking should be used?

Teen 1: I guess whenever you can be smart about it.
Teen 2: anytime. Interviewer note: Again this speaks to the culture of social networking as part of the language, it is no longer an effect of the digital age, it is a cause.

What are the benefits, and  what are the risks as a teenager?

Teen 1. There are a lot of people on social networks and it can be difficult to keep your information private. But it’s easy to talk to friends and find things to kill time looking at.
Teen 2: online bullying, you can’t take what people say seriously. Interviewer note: These comments show that youth are aware of the dangers, the need for separation and are also aware that social networking is a surface activity, hence what is seen online is not always the same as offline.

Do your friends use social networking sites.?

Teen 1: Everyone I know uses some type of social network.
Teen 2: Yes

Do you feel they have the same habits and beliefs as you concerning social networking?

Teen 1: Some of them don’t like them so they barely use them or have deleted their accounts. The other extreme can’t stop updating their statuses and tend to overshare about everything. So there is a lot of difference in how people use them.
Teen 2: if not I unfriend them. Interviewer note: This shows two basic ways to handle the differences online, one accepts them without any further thought and the other uses social networking tools to isolate themselves from those who do not align with their interests.

New Guidelines for Screen time for Children from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Learning in the “third world” hidden within the developed culture of the United States with a focus on Piaget’s theories of learning.

In the studies of psychologist, Jean Piaget concerning how children learn, one focus is on adaptation. To discuss this I will use the” third world” as an example; and please keep in mind that this “third world” in concept and culture does exist within the United States, it is merely hidden from view to avoid social stigma. I call it plainly living third world in the first world, as I have done so myself for a good portion of my youth. Living in the “third world” without basic comforts of food, clean drinking water and toilet facilitates, the adequate access to technology is not a priority in thought. This environment tends to impact a child’s ability to adapt. The lack of the ability to adapt stunts the process of learning. As the developed world changes and becomes immersed in technology while poverty within the United States still includes undernourishment, inadequate housing, lack of heat or cooling devices, basic communication devices, and other “necessities” of productive existence, it becomes even direr the barriers facing these individuals. This is one reason why using emerging technologies to help people assimilate into a technologically developed world will allow them the opportunity to overcome poverty and other characteristics associated with this “third world” analogy.

Beyond providing the opportunities for technology is the application of emerging technologies in education. This involves several motivational theories. The Presentational view uses “emerging” technologies to make a significant change to how educational information is presented. Instead of reading a book and learning through text or watching a video and being taught another component of the knowledge through visual and audio, multimedia presentation combines these multiple forms into a more engaging and interactive learning option. I consider this particularly beneficial when face to face student to teacher and student to student opportunities do not exist due to distance barriers, This does not entail that such presentations do not benefit more traditional learning environments, instead my intention is that these types of presentations benefit distance learners more so due to the lack of other tactile and sensory educational stimuli that traditional students have.

Performance tutoring, in contrast , has less applications in overcoming barriers due to the restrictions it places on individuals who must then coordinate with partners and other participants.  Although the educational value may be present its actual application can be limiting based on the learners ability or inability to participate. The Connectivism theory is basically a networked application. Learning and developing through peer and mentor connections. It is a cultural and social application of education. This is beneficial in some environments however much like performance tutoring can be inhibited to barriers that the individual learner may face.

The Epistemic-Engagement theory can be applied to either traditional or distance learning with equal success and benefit as it is a motivational focused theory. Being project based and based on the interests and needs of the learner themselves. Where the initial Presentational theory seems one sided where the learner is merely an observer and an absorber, the Performance Tutoring theory adds to that the level of duel participation, the epistemic-engagement theory adds a third layer of significant and personal learner commitment. I would be comfortable using the Presentational aspect with an Epistemic-Engagement focus as primary theoretical applications. The interdisciplinary approach to learning is the most logical when developing applications for education to reach the broadest number of learners facing the widest range of challenges. The Performance Tutoring approach, again is beneficial when and if it does not interfere with the learners ability to participate due to barriers of time, distance, resources, or other outliers.

This is similar to the Heutagogy theory which is based on self-directed learning. By encouraging learning that supports individual learner’s goals you have effectively motivated them to learn through the process of problem solving and planning to achieve said goals. The learner is kept engaged because they have a personal interest and are self-driven to learn. Heutagogy, Epistemic-Engagement, and Presentation, are the theories I can most relate to that would benefit from networked learning. Examples of learning environments and applications that I might incorporate these theories in would be open source learning and exploratory learning for independent non-traditional students of various ages and levels.

This form of networked learning however is less applicable in a learning environment that may be utilized by a corporation. Because the business world often seeks to educate employees in teacher dependent ways, to present information that is business specific and guarded, familiar groups and closed classrooms, even when distance based, are the most likely options.

Because I work in a virtual environment that is required to train its employees using e-learning, distance learning and the most effective technology available, effective is defined as  cost effectiveness in regards to short term and long term applications, it makes career sense to focus on the corporate employee as my learning audience. Overcoming poverty and helping to reduce the subculture of the third world in America is a personal and motivation goal,  I have. This can be achieved in part by promoting the virtual workforce as a career option and helping to create the virtual culture through networked learning.

Facebook as a learning tool

Using social media tools can be beneficial in making a positive social change. I equate it to walking through the park and having a conversation that others might overhear and hoping that the snippet of information they catch will spark their interests or better yet have them pass it along. If you spark their interest enough maybe they might come back the next day and listen a little longer, or maybe invite a friend, then they might go to another park and start their own conversations….. Does this really work? Sometimes. It isn’t the easiest way to spread information but it is possible and can be useful as a complimentary tool.

For example, if you establish yourself on FaceBook as an individual, you have friends and family. You can create a group and invite friends, you can create a page and invite friends, you can post about your website or blog… This is where FaceBook is really handy. Notice blogs do not come up in search engines, but FaceBook pages do? So in essence FaceBook is free marketing. Along these lines FaceBook has the potential of being a primary tool for promoting open source educational packets, information and support for homeschooling parents through the social network.

FaceBook is like a free website that you just can’t edit. You can post text, images, video, polls, and yes everything you post becomes public so you need to be careful, however if that is what you want, that is what you get. Unlike a website, social networking allows people to like and share what you post. Again with open-source this is great. If you do not want what you post to be shared with the world and likely taken out of your control, then don’t put it on FaceBook.

To keep people interested and involved basically means not overwhelming their feed with things they are not interested in. I am pretty tolerant of feeds even with advertisements, unless they cause red flags, for me that is vulgarity, nudity, and if from pages, stupidity. I have more tolerance for individual people but not if they are representing themselves as business entity. Also daily posts “selling” something, whether a person or a page, that bothers me if I didn’t expect those types of post. So interpreted this means, set expectations and remain consistent.

It is a good idea to be aware of your presence on Face book and separate personal and family activities form group pages. This requires a very private setting. I do not do this, however everything I put on my face book page I do so with others judgement in mind. I allow my public self to impact any page i may have by allowing others to see my personal profile and posts. When this becomes an issue is if you present yourself on a personal level differently than you present yourself on a professional level. If you like to cut loose, curse, and post embarrassing pictures, then you can easily lose clients or group members if you do not privatize this activity in your settings.

I have seen this recently from an artist I befriended, simply because I wanted to help her network her art. This artist posted in very large letters a vulgar political statement asking everyone who voted for the current president to unfriend her. Even customers who had not voted accordingly, and made it known to the artist, posted shock at her statements and an unwillingness to purchase her art due to her intolerance. I have been posting and liking political posts that support freedom and tolerance in keeping our country together, even when we disagree, and some humor. In doing so I have to accept the fact that I may alienate some. It is a personal choice and the more open you are and connected the more personal risk you accept.