The Use of Social Media and Popular Culture to Advance Cross-Cultural Understanding

Tuzel, Sait and Hobbs, Renee The Use of Social Media and Popular Culture to Advance Cross-Cultural Understanding. Comunicar, 2017, vol. 25, n. 51, pp. 63-72. [Journal article (Paginated)]

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English abstract

Although we live in a global society, educators face many challenges in finding meaningful ways to connect students to people of other cultures. This paper offers a case study of a collaboration between teachers in the US and Turkey, where 7th grade students interacted with each other via online social media as a means to promote cultural understanding. In a close analysis of a single learning activity, we found that children had opportunities to share ideas informally through social media, using their digital voices to share meaning using online writing, posting of images and hyperlinks. This study found that students valued the opportunity to develop relationships with each other and generally engaged in sharing their common interests in Hollywood movies, actors, celebrities, videogames and television shows. However, not all teachers valued the use of popular culture as a means to find common ground. Indeed, teachers had widely differing perspectives of the value of this activity. Through informal communication about popular culture in a «Getting to Know You» activity, students themselves discovered that their common ground knowledge tended to be US-centric, as American students lacked access to Turkish popular culture. However, the learning activity enabled students themselves to recognize asymmetrical power dynamics that exist in global media culture.

Spanish abstract

Si bien vivimos en una sociedad global, los educadores se enfrentan a numerosos desafíos a la hora de hallar formas significativas de conectar a los alumnos con gente de otras culturas. Este artículo muestra un caso práctico de colaboración entre profesores de los Estados Unidos y Turquía, en el que alumnos de séptimo grado interactuaron entre sí a través de las redes sociales con el fin de promover la comprensión cultural. Al analizar una única actividad de aprendizaje hallamos que los alumnos tenían la oportunidad de compartir ideas informalmente a través de las redes sociales, usando su voz digital para compartir significados mediante la escritura online, publicación de imágenes e hipervínculos. Este estudio halló que los alumnos valoraban la oportunidad de relacionarse entre sí y tendían a compartir su interés común en películas de Hollywood, actores, famosos, videojuegos y programas de televisión. Sin embargo, no todos los profesores valoraban el uso de la cultura popular como medio para la búsqueda de puntos en común. En efecto, los profesores tenían perspectivas muy distintas sobre el valor de esta actividad. Mediante la comunicación informal en torno a la cultura popular en una actividad de conocimiento mutuo, los propios alumnos descubrieron que sus conocimientos en común tendían a estar centrados en los Estados Unidos, en tanto en cuanto los alumnos americanos no tenían acceso a la cultura popular turca. Sin embargo, la actividad de aprendizaje permitió a los propios alumnos reconocer las dinámicas de poder asimétrico que existen en la cultura mediática global.

Item type: Journal article (Paginated)
Keywords: Media; digital; social; global; literacy; middle school; popular culture; cross-cultural; Medios; digital; social; global; alfabetización; educación secundaria; cultura popula; intecultura
Subjects: B. Information use and sociology of information > BJ. Communication
G. Industry, profession and education.
G. Industry, profession and education. > GH. Education.
Depositing user: Alex Ruiz
Date deposited: 11 Apr 2017 06:37
Last modified: 11 Apr 2017 06:37


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