I recently watched a TED talk by Michael Wesch where he presents his vision for the shift in education from producing knowledgeable students to knowledge-able students. In this TED talk, I saw many similarities to what Will Richardson said in his book “Why School” in terms of this future vision of what education should look like. Both of these educators present the “wrongs” of how technology is being utilized in the classroom- where this tool has been misused- and where the path needs to lead.
While I absolutely empathize with Wesch’s un-happy and un-engaged undergraduate students because I felt the same in my some of my own college classes, I believe that I cannot swallow Wesch’s opinion hook, line, and sinker when it comes to how tragic the education system is currently; how poorly digital media is used across the board. I disagree. In demonstrating just how digital media is mis (or under) used in the classroom, Wesch eradicates the examples of the successful and beautiful moments that are already happening. This video is about six years old, which in this moment is a great deal of time, and I believe that time lapse has a role in the disconnect to what I see in classrooms around me.
In the middle of his TED talk, Wesch posits that students need to develop a barrier to the constant barrage of advertisements and trivial information that are hurled at them through tv, social media, news sources etc. This barrier is called critical thinking skills. Perhaps I’m playing into semantics but I for me to agree with Wesch on this topic, I want to replace the word barrier. Rather than having students block out everything in the world going on- or to use Wesch’s metaphor: burning down- around them, my goal would be for students to develop their critical thinking skills in order to use their skill to filter that information which they will consume. I would hope to see students being absolutely picky about which news sources they follow. Which “talking head” reporters and commentators are more biased than others (hint: everyone’s biased). And the list goes on.
As I said earlier, perhaps what I am imagining in terms of students interactions with the (digital) world is not that different from what Wesch put forth in his video. If so, then I could see my students using the media around them- flawed as it is- as a springboard to critique and improve the stories that are being told.
The most valuable statement that I will take away from this video is that we as the educators don’t have all the answers- we don’t need to and we should not even try. Because when we do, we relegate our students to sitting there in the desks, waiting, seeking, for meaning to be dropped on their desks instead of getting up, and making meaning.
If you’d like to watch and make an opinion of your own, take a look below.
Wesch, M. (2010, October 12). From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able [Video file].
Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeaAHv4UTI8
I'm a Teaching Credential Candidate at CSUSM working towards a credential in English and Social Studies/History. Here's where I'll share my thoughts on various articles and videos related to teaching as well as my experiences in the education world.