Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Michael Wesch, the changing face of education, and the digital curriculum

An educational thinker that every educator should follow is Michael Wesch, who recently was named "Professor of the Year" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Wesch is a professor of anthropology at Kansas State University.

Below is a presentation he gave at the University of Manitoba last June:

The presentation is long, but there are a couple things pertinent to our discussion. Wesch does an excellent job analyzing how the classroom is changing (starting about a minute into the video). Interviewing his students, he found that over half hate school, but no one hates learning. He challenges the following traditional unspoken assumptions from the traditional classroom:
  • To learn is to acquire knowledge
  • Information is scarce and hard to find
  • Trust authority for good information
  • Authorized information is beyond discussion
  • Obey the authority
  • Follow along
At about 27 minutes into the presentation, Wesch switches and talks about his own classroom, where he is fully immersed, implementing the digital curriculum. He uses a netvibes mashup site to bring in student blogging, commenting, wiki contributions, and social networking (diigo and twitter among others), as well as RSS from articles throughout the internet, for students to use 21st century learning.

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