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Tales from an Instructional Technologist in the world of legal education and beyond…

From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able @ ELI

This presentation is given by Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University. The description states “It took tens of thousands of years for writing to emerge after speech, thousands more before the printing press was invented, and a few hundred more for the telegraph to arrive. Today, new ways of relating are constantly created and a new communication medium emerges every time someone creates a web application—a Flickr here, a Twitter there. How can we use new media to foster the kinds of communication and community we desire in education? This presentation will discuss both successful and unsuccessful attempts to integrate emerging technologies into the classroom to create a rich virtual learning environment.”

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This kind of classroom of today is saying “to learn” is to acquire information, information is scarce and hard to find, trust authority for good information, authorized information is beyond discussion, and obey authority. Some of the people criticizing the  “back to basics” critique of new media literacy are saying we are pandering to students, neglecting basic literacy skills and it is difficult to implement. The response to this is that the critical folks of back to basics are the ones pandering to students, neglecting basic literacy skills (b/c basic skills are now including being digitally literate) and difficult to implement.

“Back to Basics” includes asking good questions (or one big question) instead of questions like, how many points is this worth?, how long does this paper need to be?, what do we need to know for this test?, etc. This new media scape all around us is challenging these assumptions. Information is everywhere, its not about authority its about good discussions, authority needs to be transparent, and learning is dependent upon participation and discussion (not just obeying authority). To learn is to share information, discussing, critiquing and ultimately creating new information. The old notion of your mind is container that needs to be “filled up”, it is creating meaningful connections of significance. So as educators, how do we create significance? How can we create students that can create meaningful connections?

  1. Engage real problems (that matter to students)
  2. Engage with students in this process

He is arguing that there is a lot of talk about Digital Natives, but there are no natives here. With the exception of Google, most of these new Web 2.0 technologies are less than 4 years old. So in essence, we (students & teachers) are all learning together. He suggests utilizing portals (looks like a combination of Wetpaint and Netvibes) with RSS feeds (from scholars all over the world engaging in the same subject matter), collaborative video (see his Youtube video for Library of Congress and his Twitter and World Simulation video), diigo (share links, highlight any page anywhere and add sticky notes), feed from wiki (logs edits, immediate feedback who is editing what, photos on left with pictures that get bigger with more participation), students share lecture notes, and discussion sections. His focus is on different ways of creating learning communities in his classroom through exploiting some of these technologies.

“Nobody is as smart as everybody”-Kevin Kelly


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Filed under: Educational Technology, General, Instructional Technology, web 2.0

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