Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New Media and Gen X

Media has been in existence for a long time. Different forms of media have been used effectively over and over and have proved of a great assistance to mankind. New forms of media like televisions, mobile phones and magazines provide information, although at different magnitudes. As compared to older generation, “Generation X” has proved more aggressive in using the media both for educational and non-educational purposes (Donaldo, Pereira, & Shirley 2004).

 Masterman, in his article “The Media Education Revolution”, presents media education in three paradigms.  The first, called the Inoculative Paradigm, is described as a cultural disease that affected children and so media education was designed to counter it.  The second is called the Popular Arts Paradigm and taught that pop culture could be just as authentic as high culture.  Finally, the third is called Representational Paradigm and questioned politics and power.

Masterman’s article lays an effective foundation for media teaching in the 20th century and presents media education, as still essentially protectionist.  While that may have been true when Masterman wrote the article in 1997, media education today has changed and now encourages critical autonomy, increased student motivation and developing life abilities which encourage independent learning (Donaldo, Pereira, & Shirley 2004).
Douglas Keller& Jeff Share in their article “Critical Media Literacy, Democracy, and the Reconstruction of Education” analyses the different approaches of teaching media. They argue that media has a very distinct role in deepening the understanding between potentiality of literacy education and the importance of critically analysing relationships between media and different audiences.  In this article the author says that media expands the understanding to include different forms of mass communication and popular culture.  This article concurs with Masterman that media education helps discriminate and evaluate media content.  The development of media literacy important, as it can be used positively by teachers to teach a wide range of topics. Media literacy can also provide multicultural literacy as well. It can also equip learners with skills that help them promote democracy (Jeff, 2002).

New media has greatly impacted my generation, “Gen Xers” as we are called.  We were the first group to experience the Internet as a part of our daily lives.  We are avid consumers of online content and use social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter (eMarketer, 2013).  Media has greatly contributed to the career choices of Gen Xers, as online/tech jobs dominated the workplace market (Jeff, 2002).  Gen Xers use media for almost everything, from connecting with friends and family to finding jobs and improving their careers; from making purchases to finding our soul mate.  We are a sceptical generation to begin with (remember we are the generation that saw the cool commercial for a cereal with an amazing toy in the box and begged, pleaded and harassed our parents until they bought it for us, only to discover it was a puny, plastic, piece of crap).  So we use every media outlet we can to investigate research and study before making any purchase, decision or choice.  We remember our life and world without email, internet and mobile phones, so can appreciate the balance between waiting and getting “it” (whatever “it” is) instantaneously.  Gen Xers are the perfect in-between of the Millennial Generation who are used to having everything at their fingertips and therefore lack patience and the Baby Boomers who tend to struggle with the fast changing pace of technology.  We willing to try new media as it’s created, use it if there is benefit, discarding it if it’s rubbish and have enough patience to wait for (or just develop) what we need.      

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