Thanks to our peeps at Discovery, the Leadership Council Members were given the wonderful opportunity to spend Thursday at the November Learning Conference in Boston. I must say, the keynote given by Dr. Michael Wesch was absolutely inspiring. Michael Wesch is an Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University. He is also the author of many viral videos including “Did you Know” and “Visions of the 21st Century.” The Wesch focused on the steps to encourage learning: (1) Engage in real problems, (2) with students, (3) harness relevant tools. He inspired his audience to adopt these steps by introducing his findings from his past two years of studying the effects of new media on society and culture. He stated that As media changes it also changes the relationship. This was an “aha” moment for me. Web 2.0 is the product of the media evolution to not simply link information but rather link people! Check out his video: The Machine is Changing Us When he showed images of how the family dynamic shifted as the television was brought into homes it reminded me of how relationships changed when the cell phone became the primary mode of communication, followed by that of online conversations with IM and text messaging. He said that the conversations are controlled by the few and for the masses, it is these conversations that create our culture. In order to have a voice, you have to be on TV and to have identity and recognition. He showed a few interesting videos that explain how the media can distort our reality or cultural and societal perceptions. His message is that there is a need for critical thinking to limit the effects of the media onslaught. Check out the Dove Campaign Commercials: Dove OnSlaughter Video:
This inspired me to talk more with my students about a more global act, a simple act, to bring back the human connection. Wesch’s point: Individual Action Inspires collective Action. He discussed that Technology alone is not the answer to changing the message about learning.How are you going to teach your students this year?