Business Week writes about the MacArthur Foundation’s “five-year initiative to study online culture and media literacy, and its impact on modern youth” and our role within it.
The participation gap. In 2005, Henry Jenkins, the director of the Comparative Media Studies program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received $500,000 for research that was published to coincide with the launch of the new initiative. His paper, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century, examines what Jenkins calls the “participation gap.”
While educators used to worry about the “digital divide”–whether all students had equal access to computers and technology–they should now consider the “participation gap”, or whether students who can only use computers in the school library have enough time to develop the same media literacy and skills as peers who spend hours designing, communicating, editing, networking, and learning on their home computers.
Based on the results of his research, Jenkins’ Comparative Media Studies Program at MIT will receive a further $1,800,000 to develop a media-literacy curriculum in conjunction with the Center for Urban School Improvement in Chicago.
Curriculum products will include a library of day-in-the-life videos of people who have excelled in digital media and a Remixing Melville project, in collaboration with the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Students will use video, sound, and other multimedia tools and techniques to re-imagine Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick in the context of their own lives–an innovative way to introduce classic literature.