Developing Civic Agency in an International Videoconference: Reflecting on Audience and Public Voice in Participatory Media

April 19, 2013

This article presents findings from a multisite case study that focused on three international videoconferences, which involved secondary students discussing controversial social issues. As a learning experience, the videoconferences helped students better understand their use of participatory media, authentic discussion, and public voice. Findings suggested that the students’ engagement in dialogue with a diverse audience of peers resulted in students reflecting on the quality of their classroom discussions and their regular interactions with participatory media. By engaging in authentic discussion with peers outside of their typical school and social circles, students’ better understood the purpose of their public voice. After reflectively comparing the videoconference experience to other participatory media and learning experiences, the students made decisions to use participatory media in the future to construct similar media-based authentic learning experiences. Thus, participation in the videoconference helped students consider and develop their civic agency. Implications for social studies educators are discussed.

Journal of the Research Center for Educational Technology, Kent State University

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