Blog Report 7: Emerging Technologies

Blog Report #7

Reflection Blog: Report on your community’s use of emerging technologies.  

Based on at least one interview with a community member, report on your community’s use of emerging technologies.

How do they use technology to advance the community or share information?

My information community Twitch.tv is one that functions and operates online. Technology is a large part of the foundation to the site Twitch.tv and for the individuals who use the site. One could argue that an online video gaming community could not exist with out the technological advances we have today from the Internet. In past blog reports I have relayed information I have collected from my sister and her boyfriend about the site. This time I wanted to talk to other members of the site for this week’s blog report. I had planned to ask my sister to help connect me with her online friends who use the site. However, one day I stumbled upon a group of students at my job who use Twitch.tv. It was a few weeks back I was talking about what classes I was currently taking with a group of eighth grade students. During this conversation I told them I was writing about Twitch.tv and learning about the site’s community members. The students became overly excited and started sharing with me their experiences on the site.

I went back to those students this week to talk to them about their experiences with the information community Twitch.tv and how important technology is to the community. It was universal amongst the seven eighth graders that Twitch.tv could not exist with out technology. They explained that you access the site through your computer, tablets, phones, and any electronic device that can access the Internet. One of the eighth graders explained to me that the site requires large upload speeds or a high Internet connection to stream live video game play. He went on to talk about how older computers and devices don’t have the right platforms to access the different streaming channels on Twitch.tv. Another student talked about her phone and said that she uses the Twitch.tv application on her smart phone. She said that on an older phone she wouldn’t be able to access the site. A few of the students talked about using their phones to connect to other forums related to Twitch.tv to find information. The students mentioned using Skype as a way to talk to other members on the site when Twitch.tv was freezing up. The students in one way or another used new and emerging technologies to find information and to connect with other members of the Twitch.tv community.

It was interesting hearing them talk about the importance of technology as a way to connect with others in this information community. Twitch.tv requires members of the site to be up to date on emerging technologies and to have a current understanding of today’s technology. After talking with the students I saw many of the points about participatory culture from authors Henry Jenkins, Katie Clinton, Ravi Purushotma, Alice J. Robison, and Margaret Weigel. In Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century, the authors describe participatory culture as “A culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations, and some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices” (n.d., p. 3). This is on point with how Twitch.tv operates as an information community. The members of the site are expected to share and create with one another. Members can take on roles that show they are veterans of the site. Positions, such as Moderator, allow for veteran users to help mentor new site members. Technology plays a huge role in the participatory culture that Twitch.tv has created amongst the site’s community members. This participatory culture seems to be extremely strong amongst the most current generation of individuals. The students I talked with about Twitch.tv also hit many of the points found in the study done by Sam Houston State University in the article Higher Education and Emerging Technologies: Shifting Trends in Student Usage, by authors Erin Dorris Cassidy, Angela Colmenares, Glenda Jones, Tyler Manolovitz, Lisa Shen, and Scott Vieira. The authors discuss the role of modern technology in the lives of today’s students. The article talks about many of the first things I noticed in conversation with the eighth grade students about Twitch.tv. I asked why they use the site and many of them said the same things my sister and her boyfriend did in my first blog reports. The site is a way for them to find answers immediately. Technology allows for these middle school students to access online video game related information at any time and anywhere. Every thought or question they have can be answered online with in seconds on Twitch.tv. This information community as I have mentioned before provides and seeks information amongst its community members. Technology is a driving force in connecting Twitch.tv community members.

 

References

  • Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A. J., & Weigel, M. (n.d.) Confronting the challenge of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st [PDF File]. Building the Field of Digital Media and Learning: An Occasional Paper on Digital Media and Learning. Retrieved from http://www.macfound.org/media/article_pdfs/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF
  • Kruse, S. (2015). Telephone interview.
  • Seven Eighth Grade Students. (2015). Interview.
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