An Examination of the Benefits of Digital Media on Society

As time progresses, the use of technology is reaching an all-time high. The rise of digital media has become an accessible source that anyone can make use of. It seems like everyone nowadays knows how to work a tablet, smartphone, and a laptop device. Digital media is present throughout the rest of the world, and continues to change the world in various shapes and forms. With the exponential increase in digital media, the majority of society may believe that the digital media is detrimental to society.
Even famous, notable figures such as Albert Einstein believed that “technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” However, society fails to realize that digital media serves a countless amount of benefits. The use of digital media has a positive impact on the learning process, which stimulates life-long learning, builds collectives, introduces learning through play, and creates a digital network.
To begin with, digital media serves as a tool that encourages education and life-long learning. When using digital media to further one’s knowledge, one begins to use learning as a resource. Based on the book A New Culture of Learning by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown, the authors demonstrate the idea that “googling the error” gives people the opportunity to find solutions. The book describes a man named Allen who had trouble with computer coding.

Instead of giving up, he used his mistakes as an opportunity to learn. He would post his mistakes on a Google search engine and would discover results from people who were facing the same situation. This highlights the importance of searching for questions and finding solutions. The many search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, can provide unbelievable amounts of information that people can use to their advantage.
Also, technology supports education and life-long learning because it creates new learning environments. By creating this, people are able to gain knowledge in a particular field. This opens doors for people to learn more valuable skills and achieve new ideas. The work “Seven Keys to Unlocking School Transformation with Digital Media,” explains how schools “need to direct their efforts toward changing the school culture as it impacts the learning environment.”
This statement is very true. Schools have to make an effort to change the way the world thinks about learning. Introducing others to new learning environments enhances innovation and creativity. By creating this, students will become even more engaged with their classmates. Students will be able to solve problems and adapt to new situations.
Also, new learning environments build more interactive activities. This is very beneficial to a new outlook on learning because it will create many different learning experiences. Especially in a school setting, young students are able to express their ideas and share to their peers their recent discoveries. Students will be able to develop their learning style and also find other ways to obtain information. It is essential to realize that digital media creates a positive impact on the learning process by inspiring others find a passion for learning.
What makes digital media so fascinating in this day and age is the formation of collectives. With this new concept of learning process accompanied by digital media, we begin to see the rise of the collective. Due to digital media, forming collectives is a much easier, accessible, and faster process compared to the past. Digital media helps people learn and work more in the collective. The pace of forming this type of group as of now is rather quick compared to the past.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a collective is known as “involving all members of a group as distinct from its individuals.” This term is present all over digital media. What is very essential to the collective is that everyone has the chance to learn from each other. The emerging collective is demonstrated in author Timothy Ferris’ work, known as Seeing in the Dark. Ferris calls this work “revolution now sweeping through amateur astronomy.”
From this story, it is demonstrated that the power of the collective is very important. What drive a collective ultimately are two key things: desire and interest. What is great about the collective is the use of observation and collaboration in order to perform a particular assignment. This way, more useful information and data can be developed. This data can be easily spread with the formation of the collective. To sum up, the people involved in this real life event were driven by interaction and sending each other information. Through collaboration, great results can be achieved.
This concept is very similar to the use of social networking sites. Some prime examples are the use of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. These websites are very effective, and exceed our expectations in learning. With these websites, users are able to focus on peer-to-peer learning.
In the article “Ryerson student fighting cheating charges for Facebook Study Group,” freshman student Chris Avenir formed an online Facebook group known as “Dungeons/Mastering Chemistry Solutions.” He and one hundred forty five other students participated in this group, where each member would help one another solve homework problems. With this design, Avenir and the other students encountered a problem and used this type of peer learning to find innovative solutions. Creating a study group allows the students to learn so much more compared to what they would have learned independently.
Luckily in March 2008, there was “no proof the Facebook group led to cheating.” The use of collaboration, similar interests, and dedication towards a certain subject heightens this new form of learning. Students have the ability to address specific problems of the subject material. Others can either help the student or learn by observing how other students encounter the problem. Interacting with other peers to find more results and conclusions creates better problem solving skills. Collaboration leads to setting goals and sooner or later achieving them. Users address certain obstacles and make an effort to overcome them.
Another emergence of the collective is shown through blogs. The website blogbasics.com describes a blog as “a frequently updated online personal journal or diary. It is a place to express yourself to the world. A place to share your thoughts and your passions.” Blogs are websites that can be personal.
This website is created by an individual who records their own beliefs and ideas on certain topics. Each blog is different in its own way. The user who has a blog website can update their page with new ideas, thoughts, and opinions. The attitude of the blog can be different for every user. What makes this unique is that this content online may be very similar to other experiences and ideas of other users. The similarities between certain blogs can bring users together.
The one benefit that a blog provides is building a community, network, and like-minded group. A great example that demonstrates the positive impact from blogs is in the article “Why I Blog” (November, 2008) by Andrew Sullivan. Sullivan was known as a senior editor for the Atlantic. In his work, he explains how the creation of blogs is changing the way people use journalism. Sullivan states that the “blogger can get away with less and afford fewer pretensions of authority.”
The boundless ability of blogs creates unlimited amounts of resources in terms of learning. Because of blogs, it has changed the forms of communication. Blogs can constantly be edited by the user and the audience as well. This idea forms collectives that can help form the reader and author’s perspective on certain subjects. Sullivan also notes that “Jazz and blogging are intimate, improvisational, and individual- but also inherently collective. And the audience talks over both.”
Through blogs, people are able to learn a concept known as “process orientated learning”. This approach is referred to as utilizing information processing and communication skills. The importance of this idea is that the audience is more interested to become involved in the subject matter.
The audience and the author can bring up certain topics, pressing issues, and ideas that they both have a particular concern for. What makes this form of digital media great is that people have the choice to build on these ideas. These collectives play an important role in engaging others in the learning process. In summary, forming collectives from digital media is an important aspect in the new way of learning.
Lastly, digital media is essential in the fact that it gives the world an opportunity to learn through play. This type of learning is the most simple, yet one of the most effective ways of learning. In summary, utilizing digital media gives people a chance to learn through play. One way that represents this idea of learning through play is through video games. There is typically a negative stigma between the uses of video games. But what society fails to realize that people can learn so much from this type of digital media.
One piece of knowledge that is gained is digital literacy. Videos games genres, such as “Role Playing Games”, and “Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas” help facilitate a unique approaches to learning. The article “Literacy in the digital age: Learning from computer games” by author Christopher Walsh claims that “The richness and complexity of young people’s textual/literate experience in online worlds has increasingly challenged contemporary iterations of literacy in the school curriculum.”
Many of these games include concepts that deal with complex stories. There is a variety of use of vocabulary that is used in these games. These terms merge education and play in a very distinct way. This gives players a deeper understanding of language. Many of these kind of words can be formed and in many different ways. These words express certain ideas in a particular game. A great example is farming, which is a term that describes the “act of accumulating currency or items in role playing games” (mmoterms.com). These terms help express various strategies within the respective game.
One of the most important things to note is that video games increases learning through play in many other ways as well. Who would have thought that a video game can teach so many valuable lessons to the players? To many others’ surprise, video games actually provide a foundation that increases participation and engagement. This is a very unique way of learning through digital media, and is quite effective.
These games heavily rely on teamwork, and critical thinking skills, and because of digital media, the digital network helps the learning process grow. For example, the hit game World of Warcraft, serve to be a different way of learning by doing. To many people’s surprise, this video game and many others is an actual resource for learning in a shifting and changing environment.
The article “Blizzard’s success isn’t magic; just hard work and open minds” by Rob Fahey shows claims that this massive multiplayer online “game still has almost [ten] million people paying to play each month.” So many users learn essential skills along the way of this online journey. Team members in a group help analyze and critique each other’s performance, abilities, and skills. Every member is striving to search and share new information that will help them become better players.
Fahey’s article follows up by stating that “Blizzard probably has more data about what players actually do in their game than any other developer on earth.” Many massive-multiplayer online games show in-game statistics to the users. Players use this data to determine how well they are doing in the game. They use this as a track record to see what skills and strategies that they can improve on. Many players use this as a tool to test and discover even new findings.
What is important is that people are actively participating in this collective. Each user is finding different sources of information in order to complete a certain task. Because each member is constantly engaged, the levels of inspiration will be at an all-time high. This type of learning makes it enjoyable, appealing, and fun for these users.
Playing games is a process that involves everyone as a whole. It is solely not based on an individual who does the most work. It is rather about the journey that a team goes through to conquer a challenge. The levels of satisfaction that users may experience as they finally complete their goals is uplifting. Massive-multiplayer online games clearly show how learning can be achieved through play.
All in all, the findings of digital technology are ground breaking. The use of digital media has a positive impact on the learning process. Digital media in society has many benefits. It stimulates life-long learning, builds collectives, introduces learning through play, and creates a digital network.
If the world continues to become proactive and open minded towards this new approach to learning, we will soon prove Albert Einstein wrong. The world will have a generation of geniuses, prodigies, and masterminds. If society begins to make the most out of the resources around us, many benefits will soon take place. Another important idea to remember is that learning can be a fun and enjoyable experience.
The world is so used to believing that learning can be strenuous, boring, and tedious. Learning is typically associated with the words “school” and “teacher.” If society uses new, creative, and innovative methods, the perceived idea of learning will definitely change for the better. There is so much potential for growth. The great thing is that technology is only getting better, and more methods are being created. It is never too late to learn because we are always learning something new every day.

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