I was excited to discover this article, because it describes exactly how one teacher successfully incorporated new media into her classroom. Further, this article has helped to pull me away from my facebook fixation. I am more open to the possibilities of media I've never heard of being the norm in India when I go, much like the minitel (pictured below) was in France. I've never used a minitel, even though 40 percent of the French population did in 1999.
The time of Tharp's article's publication, May 2010, is a critical time for her claim. Tharp was partially motivated to her project by observing her students "in both public and peer-to-peer networks such as MySpace, Facebook, online gaming, and blogs" (40). Today's students grew up with computers and feel comfortable using internet, but many of their teachers do not boast the same level of digital literacy. Hence, teachers often underestimate the potential of classroom technology. Tharp's project employs wikis to bridge the gap between generations. However, though her students may surpass her in general digital literacy, the wikis themselves were as new to her as they were to her students. Thus, she "felt unequipped to set a standard for when, where, and how often students should contribute to the wiki" (45). Young or old, each of us has trouble using a medium that is entirely new to us. Tharp's article not only introduces classroom wiki use but expounds the logistics thereof. Thus, teachers who would otherwise shy away from wikis can feel comfortable because she pairs her glowing success story with her methodology. Teachers working in the midst of a sweeping current of technological change are the best possible audience for Tharp's argument.
So what is this to me? Am I looking at classroom project that I can analyze and report, somewhat like Tharp? Am I going to conduct interviews to explore existing attitudes toward educational technology? Will I spend my time observing classrooms and quotidian technology use? A class project would likely be the hardest to pin down--and the most fun!
Tharp, Tara Leigh. "Wiki, Wiki, Wiki--WHAT?' Assessing Online Collaborative Writing." English Journal 99.5 (2010): 40-46. Web. 30 Aug 2010.