Renowned author and media studies scholar, Henry Jenkins, anchors AASL Fall Forum

For Immediate Release
Tue, 01/10/2012

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CHICAGO – The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) is proud to welcome renowned author and media studies scholar Henry Jenkins as keynote speaker and primary facilitator of the 2012 Fall Forum. Author and editor of more than a dozen books on media and popular culture, Jenkins will present his ideas and research Oct. 12-13, 2012, during “Transliteracy and the School Library Program” in Greenville, S.C.  More information about the institute can be found at www.ala.org/aasl/fallforum.

During the two-day institute, Jenkins will share his extensive expertise on participatory culture and help attendees identify the transliteracy skills students require to successfully navigate the new information landscape.  He will directly engage with facilitators and attendees to develop strategies that effectively integrate these skills into subject areas across the curriculum and outline how to best use online social networking tools to reinforce student learning. Institute planners hope attendees will return to their schools and use the information presented to leverage their school library program as the environment best suited to empower students with transliteracy skills.

In an environment of increasingly pervasive digital content, Jenkins is considered one of the first media scholars to chart the effects of participatory media on society, politics and culture. His research gives key insights to the success of social-networking websites, networked computer games, online fan communities and emerging news media outlets. 

Barbara Jansen, chair of the Fall Forum committee, elaborates on Jenkins' relationship with school librarians and their programs,  "Henry Jenkins’s scholarship and work informs our practice as we help young people and their schools bridge the gap between the informal learning accomplished in what he calls the participatory culture, and the formal learning occurring in K-12 classrooms. He encourages school librarians to teach “new media literacies” alongside, not to replace, the traditional literacies of reading and writing. By bridging informal and formal learning and helping young people close the participation gap we will remain as vital members of our teaching faculties."

Jenkins is the provost's professor of communication, journalism and cinematic arts at the University of Southern California.  He serves as the principal investigator for Project New Media Literacies (NML), a group that originated as part of the MacArthur Digital Media and Learning Initiative. The project focuses on the educational challenges of making sure that every student in America has the social skills and cultural competencies needed to participate in a networked society. To meet these challenges, the group strives to develop and test educational materials dedicated to preparing students for engagement with the new media landscape.

The AASL Fall Forum is a multi-day national institute held during non-AASL national conference years. A more intimate event, the institute focuses on one topic of importance to the profession.  Transliteracy and the School Library Program will be held Oct. 12-13, 2012, in Greenville, S.C.   More information on programming can be found at www.ala.org/aasl/fallforum.

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.