Engaging with the world: Reddit in the university classroom
This presentation introduces a pedagogical intervention designed to promote university-level students to participate in communities of English speakers from around the world using online affinity spaces such as those found on Reddit, Twitter, and online forums. Using successful and not-so-successful examples of student work collected through the project, the aim of the presentation is to provide practical advice for other educators who may are interested in using “the digital wilds” of the Internet in their own context.
In keeping with the theme of the conference, I will introduce three key elements for translating theory into practice: methodology, materials and mediation. The methodology for this project was inspired by progressive pedagogical approaches including the connected learning manifesto, bridging activities, social pedagogies, and situated learning. Following, I will introduce the materials created as part of this project which were designed to stimulate thought, promote action, and augment a lack of teacher-student talk time which is a common issue with large class sizes. Finally, I will present a detailed analysis of the critical role teacher mediation plays in supporting student progress. Although student expertise is paramount in determining the success of a participation project, teachers need pedagogic, content, and technological knowledge, particularly awareness of how to use Reddit, as well as knowledge regarding memes and internet slang.