Using new media in the classroom presents new challenges for educators and students alike. Educators must:
1. Contend with the availability of the new media to their student demographic (do the students have access to computers and the internet, or other forms of new media they intend to implement into the classroom?).
2. Consider and assess student literacy in the new media format
(Are students able to blog, web-cast, or navigate a social networking site, etc.)
3. Educators must motivate students to the modern necessities of new media. (New media literacy is a demand of modern communication; but do students realize this? Are they digital immigrants or natives?)
These concerns must be addressed prior to implementing new media into classroom activities in order to ensure that the new media are utilized for student learning and advancement.
1. Develop literacy, or have prior possession of literacy in the new media format designated by the instructor.
2. Have access to the new media on a regular basis.
3. Be able to assess the relevancy of new media to their educational goals, as well as to the instructional goals of their educational environment. (University goals, instructor goals, etc.)
On top of all of this, both students and educators alike must find ways to make the new media, which is often undefined in terms of importance and staying power (how long will particular technologies be relevant and useful?) relevant to the educational process. Instructors have to find new ways to motivate their students to access and use the technology. After all, what good is incorporating a blog or website into a classroom, if the students are not motivated properly to use it? What good is new media in the classroom, if the instructor doesn’t have a grasp on how to use it properly within the context of the learning environment?
We have both had first-hand experience with these issues in our TOEFL prep course here at CSU Stanislaus. In our classroom, one of our biggest challenges, regarding the use of new media, has been simply getting our students to use it in the first place. Many of our students come from places where such technology is still fairly uncommon. Their literacy, in both new media and the English language, may present unforeseeable problems for both them and us, with regards to the application of new media in the classroom.
Our final paper will focus on these issues of implementing new media in the classroom, with an emphasis on new media and ESL learners.
-Ryan Toth, Mariana Abuan