Tuesday, 10 March 2009

the (r)evolution of education and learning

Since the poll and the results offered via the video „A Vision of Students today“ I appreciate the work of Michael Wesch. By chance I discovered a new presentation given by Michael Wesch at the conference "Education Learning Initiative". The title of this amazing presentation is "From the Knowledgeable to the Knowledge-able". It describes the revolution(s) in education -
right now there is one taking place regarding the fast spreading of information by the means of new media tools like flickr, twitter etc. How can we use new media to foster the kinds of communication and community we desire in education? Michael Wesch presents both successful and unsuccessful attempts to integrate emerging technologies into the classroom to create a rich virtual learning environment.

His main points are:

  • learning has to be fun!

  • etwas Infrage-stellen muss das Bildungssystem zulassen, da es gut für die Kreativität und fürs Lernen selbst ist

  • we have to teach HOW to think

  • „it’s all about asking good questions“ => in Michael Wesch's opinion there is a a snificance-crisis for years now: the students ask "How much do I have to do to get my credits/ mark? (!)

  • But more important is:
  • to learn is to aquire information,

  • to learn is to SHARE, DISCUSS, CRITIQUING information and in the end CREATE new information: it’s about creating meaningful connections

  • => to learn is to create … significance

  • Regarding the students' habit it's important to ask ourselves:
  • How can we create significance? How can we create meaningful connections?
  • How can we create students who can create meaningful connections?

The last one made me think of "Re-Brainwashing" ;)
In my opinion students forgot the significance of learning because they are not any more able to see the linkage to their lives caused by the more and more performance-oriented world.

To change students' habits we have to:

  • engage real problems (that really matter to students)

  • engage it with students

  • recognize and harness the existing media environment so that students can recognize and harness them as well

Regarding the last point he stresses that there are no digital natives! (all the new services are at most only 4 years old)
To give a practical insight how to use new media tools he shows examples from his work as a professor at KSU.
After that Michael Wesch asks more critical questions

  • how to get students to better work together on real projects?

  • who is smarter: me or my students?

By asking the last question he puts himself in a neutral position. He knows he should be the expert but he notices that there is cumulative knowledge in front of him. It only needs someone who harnesses it and manages to draw everybody in.
Once more he presents an example out of his work where students were able to ask real relevant (world) questions: the World Simulation Spring 2007

After that he stresses that technology creates linkages between the real and the virtual world. Once more he asks several critical questions:

  • have we prepared our students for this world? => Will students be able to create the information landscape of tomorrow? => have we prepared the students to CREATE this world?

  • rethinking the Basics => what are basic literacy skills?

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