New Media and Digital Learners: An Examination of Teaching and Learning

New Media and Digital Learners: An Examination of Teaching and Learning

William J. Gibbs (Duquesne University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-347-8.ch016

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Foundations Of Learning: Student Background

Today’s students have become highly sophisticated digital media consumers, and in some cases, producers. They are exceedingly adept at navigating digital interfaces. Nowadays, interfaces represent a dominant means through which students interact with others, shop, take educational courses, play games, and otherwise conduct their lives. While many interfaces are complex, their fundamental purpose is to minimize technical burdens and allow people to access information and/or complete tasks. With them, people perform complex tasks with relative ease. For example, many students effortlessly produce media content by capturing and editing images, words, video and audio with portable recording devices and publishing the content on the web. With minimal mental concentration or physical exertion, they instantly communicate with peers by texting, sending Tweets, or using social networking sites like Facebook. In many ways, interfaces conceal the technical complexities that make these interactions possible. Because interfaces allow students to perform many complex tasks almost effortlessly and because students use technology extensively, they bring unique competencies and expectations to the college classroom. Some enter college with much technical and digital media expertise. Others, despite their extensive use of technology, possess high expectations about developing media content but lack a full appreciation of the underlying technologies, processes, or procedures required to do so professionally. This has profound implications for the communication media educators.

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