Convergence Culture and Schools: A Series on Participation, Community and Media

Four years ago, at the end of my Masters program, I read a book entitled Convergence Culture: Where old and new media collide by Dr. Henry Jenkins, a noted American media scholar, who is currently a Provost Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. I revisited the book during my doctoral program this semester and, though the book is painfully dated, began to consider some of the implications and applications of Jenkins’ concepts of convergence, or the merging of old and new media, and our current schools and classrooms.

We can see this shift between “old media” and “new media” by considering a few of the many examples espoused in the text:

Old Media New Media
Traditional News Sources Blogs, YouTube, Twitter
Consumption Collaboration
Corporate Marketing Grassroots Initiatives

At this point in the digital era, we are familiar with each of these topics separately, but consider the unique mashup of the two that is still on-going eight years after the publication of Jenkins’ book. The situation is cloudy, changing, and not entirely clear, somewhat similar to a halocline, where fresh water hits salt water and the rapid salinity creates a blurry effect. Think about how election coverage has morphed due to this convergence, how major events like the current Winter Olympics have shifted in delivery, or how basic communication has changed.

Now, consider how these shifts can change and are changing education.

To highlight the implications of media merging and education, Ctrl+Alt+Teach will be posting blog posts in a new series: “Convergence and Schools.” With these posts, you will read not only what these various aspects of convergence are, but also what they mean for schools and how you can utilize them now in your own classroom.


Convergence and Schools: A Ctrl+Alt+Teach Series
The articles will travel a variety of topics associated with Jenkins’ Convergence. As they are updated, the posts will be linked here as well as via the tagged category of “Convergence & Schools.”

  • Transmedia in Your Classroom [Sunday 16 February 2014]
  • Knowledge Communities
  • Participatory Culture
  • Fandom in the Curriculum

As a final note, consider a more in-depth definition: Convergence, according to Jenkins, is a communication and media paradigm shift changing the flow of information from traditional to participatory platforms and due to this shift, our methods of communication and participation using old media and new media are changing radically.

I hope you will find this series interesting and edifying and that it will encourage you to embrace the convergence in your own classrooms and schools.

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this post or have thoughts to contribute, please subscribe to Ctrl+Alt+Teach and connect with me on Twitter.

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