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


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.

Lesson Plan video presentation for children for animal science-plan created by Amberosity Gott

Stage One:

Established Goals:

  • Knows that animals live in different habitats on earth (State of Maine Early Childhood Learning Guidelines)
  • Knows that plants and animals need food, sun, air and water to survive (State of Maine Early Childhood Learning Guidelines)
  • Develops growing abilities to collect, describe, and record information through a variety of means including observation, discussion, drawings, maps, and charts (State of Maine Early Childhood Learning Guidelines)

Understandings (from Bloom’s Taxonomy):

*  (Knowledge Level) list 3 animal species that make their homes in the forest

*  (Knowledge Level) describe what type of home these animals live in.

*  (Comprehension Level) identify 3 animal species that live in the forest from video, pictures or personal sightings

*  (Comprehension Level) explain what animals need to make a home in the forest; food, water, cover, and materials

*  (Comprehension Level) describe through discussion, writing, or drawing 2-3 characteristics of a chosen species from the forest.

*  (Application Level) demonstrate the behavior of one species of forest animal through roleplay.

Students will know…

  • 2-3 species of animals that live in Maine forests and how to identify these species.
  • Animals use resources from forests to make their homes.
  • Animals have specific adaptations that allow them to live in different habitats.

Essential Questions:

  • What types of animals live in a forest?
  • What do animals need to live in a forest?
  • What characteristics do animals that live in forests have? How do these characteristics help them survive in forests?
  • What does a forest habitat look like? Where do animals live in this habitat?

Students will be able to…

  • Identify 2-3 species of animals that live in Maine forests.

Stage 2: Assessment Evidence

Performance Tasks:

  • Students in the classroom or in the forest setting will be asked to list and/or identify animal species that are native to the Maine forest. This may take the form of on-site identification of animal species in the forest setting. This could also be incorporated in the classroom or forest through a scavenger hunt game where they must find and identify pictures in cases of lack of access to forest areas or bad weather.
  • Short report identifying 2-3 characteristics, including at least 1 specific adaptation for forest dwelling, of a chosen species (report either written or oral)

Other Evidence:

  • Forest journaling including notes, drawings and photos of their observations and ideas on forest species and their habitat.
  • Contributions to class discussions about animal species, habitat and forest ecosystems/communities
  • Ability to roleplay at least 1 animal species during class activities based on their knowledge of animal behavior, characteristics and adaptations

Stage 3: Learning Plan

Field Trip: Forest Exploration for Journaling and Observations

  • Students should understand basic forest safety rules such as staying with the group, not disturbing plants or wildlife, not approaching or feeding wildlife, and leave no trace principles.
  • Students should have some introductory knowledge of forest animals, characteristics and adaptations before taking the field trip.
  • Teachers should choose a list of species for students to focus on before the field trip. Students should also be encouraged to identify or study any other species of animals or plants they wish beyond this list.

Species suggestions:

  • Eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
  • Eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus)
  • White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
  • Black bear (Ursus americanus)
  • Northern raccoon (Procyon lotor)
  • Red fox (Vulpes vulpes)
  • Snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus)
  • American deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus)
  • Yellow bellied sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)
  • Downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
  • Hairy woodpecker (Picoides villosus)
  • Blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata)
  • Black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)
  • American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

Materials and Preparation:

  • Teachers will need to identify a local forest setting suitable for children to walk through. The setting should be a good representation of a Maine forest with areas suitable for children to spend time journaling. The forest should also ideally have prominent signs of animal inhabitants.
  • Journaling materials (Notebook with white or lined paper, pencils, crayons, markers etc)
  • Laminated photos of animal species (in case they are not sighted)
  • Appropiate outdoor wear for each child (jackets, sneakers)
  • Field guides


  • Once at the site have children pair into groups of 2-3.
  • Have students explore the site within preset boundaries with their groups
    • Students should be looking for animals or signs of animals
    • Questions to answer:
      • What do animals need to survive in the forest?
      • What signs do animals leave behind?
      • Where would you live if you were a forest animal?
      • What does a forest habitat look like? Where do animals live in this habitat?
    • Have students regroup and share their observations. Discuss answers to the questions above.
    • Lead a class exploration of the site. Use combination of laminated photos, signs of animals (scat, food remains, tracks, holes or burrows) and student observations to discuss each animal species, their homes and adaptations.
      • Questions to answer:
        • What types of adaptations does this animal need to live in this type of home?
        • What signs does this animal leave behind?
      • Ideally while still at the site assign each student an area to sit within the forest and give students 10-30 minutes (depending on age and time available) to journal their observations. Journals can include written or drawn observations, poems, drawing of species or signs of species they saw etc…
        • If time is not available at the site have students complete their journals as soon as possible within the classroom.
        • For very young students it may be best to have them sit as a group within the forest to journal.

Activity: Animal Charades

  • Students should have a basic knowledge of the animal species being studied by the class, their behavior, and their characteristics.
  • This activity can be used as a fun way to review material learned about animal species or as an avenue to retain/encourage further interest partway through the unit.

Materials and Preparation:

  • If assigning animals, individual papers with animal names and pictures or a list of animals to choose from for students to reference.
  • Ideally every student should be able to act out a different animal. For larger classes teachers may choose to have two students work together to act out an animal.
  • A method of choosing the order that students will play (popsicle sticks, pieces of paper in a hat)
  • Clear space in the classroom or gym for the game


  • Have students sit in a circle with enough space in the center for the “animal” to act out clues.
  • Choose which student will go first. Teachers may either assign an animal to each student or ask students to pick an animal from a preapproved list.
  • Student that is the “animal” does not talk or make animal sounds. They act out their animal and give clues on its characteristics (E.G. A student who chooses a mouse may pretend to scamper and chew on seeds.)
  • Other students take turns guessing what type of animal the student is pretending to be.
  • When a student guesses correctly teachers may choose to have that student be the “animal” next or to continue by choosing the next “animal” at random/in a predetermined order.
  • Continue until all animals have been used and/or all students have had a turn.
    • Questions to answer:
      • What characteristics do animals that live in forests have? How do these characteristics help them survive in forests?

How do these animals behave? Why might they behave this