Thursday, May 22, 2008

e-Learning Summit: Dr. Michael Wesch

Dr. Michael Wesch was the keynote speaker at the e-Learning Summit at Normandale Community College. Dr. Wesch produced the "The Machine is Us/ing us" video with his cheap little laptop in the basement of his house in Kansas.
He discussed the cultural revolution occuring, that is more than the technology.

He has spent a great deal of time in New Guinea to study people in one of the last isolated cultures in the world. The worst form of culture shock is the loss of self and inability to define yourself. Identities in the New Guinea culture used to be defined by their relationships. It shaped their identity. In the last 8 years they have developed a language, and they have torn down their houses, which used to face the doors toward people they related to. Now they have a census and have reorganized their homes and have defined names.

"We shape our tools and thearafter our tools shape us."-Marshall McLuhan

The video he created was in response to his work in New Guinea and how it relates to our society.

The most significant problem in higher ed is the problem of significance (He thinks it applies to K-12 as well):
How many do not actually like school?
Over half.
How many do not like learning?

Media are not just tools. Media are not just communication. Media mediates relationships.
The chalk board: no photos, videos, animations, network
-forces the teacher to move, interact, limits class size to those who can see the board.
Powerpoint: easy, mindless, fast, linear
-helps presenter remember notes-while doing harm to the presentation.
Encourages students to:
-memorize key points
-let prof decide what is key
Power corrupts...PowerPoint corrupts absolutely!- Edward Tufte

Teaching has not changed with the tools we now have...Learning has changed.
Students learn what they do!
If students learn what they do...what are they learning in your classroom?

If these walls could talk:

  • To learn is to aquire information

  • Information is scarce and hard to find

  • trust authority for good information-

  • authorized information is behond discussion.

  • Obey the authority

  • Follow along

Something in the air...

70 billion gigabytes of information will be produced...This year.

112.8 billion blogs today. Youtube produced more content in the last 6 months than the 3 major networks produced in the last 60 years. All new and original!

Then he refuted all of the "If these walls could talk" information so it looks more like this:

If these walls could talk:

  • To learn is to discuss and create information

We need to create platforms for leveraging information.

A class of 12 people contains 66 relationships, this gets messy, thus as educators we step out and have a 1 to1 relationship with the student.
Students today are all about the network. We need to harness the value in education, and build a new platform for participation.

He suggested looking at "Project Look-Sharp's 12 basic principles of Media literacy" as a tool to assess quality.
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