Saturday, January 3, 2009

A thought on using wikis...

Students like the wiki because they can work together but ultimately may not like it as much as a conventional class because they have to think much harder through material.

Dr. Wesch's post about why he uses participatory social media with urgency has one part that really sticks with me:
Ultimately, participatory media literacy is as much about a literacy of *participation* as it is a literacy of media. For, as Howard says, “a participatory culture in which most of the population see themselves as creators as well as consumers of culture is far more likely to generate freedom and wealth for more people than one in which a small portion of the population produces culture that the majority passively consume.”
Those who are part of the movement now and use it well, will help pave the way for a different world in which media moves. The top down and locked media that is created and distributed by a few may not be our future as much as it was our past.

Add to this the eye opening idea that the media can be used for more than the advertisement of their weekend cavorting. Students really do not know a) what different media are out there and b) how to really leverage their power.

Tags: Dr. Wesch, wikispaces


  1. Student participation (active engagement) is of critical importance in an authentic learning environment. All too often I see - hear teachers using the didactic approach as "discipline" becomes the focus and learning takes a distant back seat. We know from valid scientific studies that students retain approximately 90% of what they "want" to learn in concert with active engagement during the learning session. All else pales in comparison.

  2. Half of my journalism course has always been media studies and criticism: seeing what's out there and how it's used and what is new vs. what is dying. I got so sick of hearing people sound scared of how "wired" the youth of today is, not realizing that while they're "wired" and "digital natives" they don't know jack about how to use what they're "wired" for to their advantage, only for their leisure.

    Priest's comment makes a valid point, too in terms of how the first question from anyone when you challenge a teacher to use technology or think outside the box is, "How do I manage that effectively?"

  3. Tom hit it bang on re: wired and clueless. IMO, this is a logical outgrowth of a trend that has been in place for some time now. Namely, total atrophy of the ability to engage in sustained thinking.

    There is more than one generation that is "sound bite" wired and this, to me, is a scary thing. "Tell me everything I need to know in 5 minutes or less otherwise my attention span is shot." Given the World today's students will inherit ... good luck with the non-thinking approach to problem solving.

    Yeah, "How can I manage this?" as in, how can I manage to suck the life out of something potentially good for students?

  4. These are some great comments. Unfortunately, school seems as some separate entity that must be "slogged through." We have generations who can't think or use materials to solve problems. Even worse is their lack of concern over problems and apathy despite the wealth of information out there.

  5. Louise said: Unfortunately, school seems as some separate entity that must be "slogged through." … Even worse is their lack of concern over problems and apathy despite the wealth of information out there.

    Excellent points, Louise. I “think” a lot of the disintegration in terms of school being separated out from society in general can be traced back to the movements that came to full fruition during the 1960s. “You do your thing and I’ll do mine and if we happen to meet it will be groovy.” comes to mind. Respect for, and acknowledgement of, our being profoundly unique individuals on so many levels was pushed to an extreme with the result being the destruction of the Social Contract. I find evidence of this in the rise of the “anti-hero”, e.g., James Dean, as well as some other things.

    Today, in the minds of many, there is a huge gulf separating the individual and society as a whole. To me, this deeply cynical perception is not without basis in fact, however, even if grounded at least in part in reality the disconnect is still quite toxic. I wonder though, Louise, are they really apathetic, or are they just so jaded and view the World at large through eyes jaundiced from the visions they routinely encounter?

    The wealth of information is something I find very interesting. There has been a rapid and exponential ramp up of available information over a very brief time. I’m thinking that perhaps we are all in a time of confusion borne of genetically hard wired limitations and restrictions. Specifically, I tend to think we are suffering from sensory – information overload. With this in mind, the upper threshold of mental processing abilities requires time to re-set at a higher level in order to make sense of the flood of information and new thinking schemes need to be created. Your thoughts in these matters?

  6. I really don't think they are apathetic, they just believe they are powerless. This quote came from a presentation at Educon. This would easily have occurred in a disconnected and non-transparent world. As more pressure pushes in, why would government/corporations/schools/families/(fill in whatever here) continue the path instead of embracing change that can solve problems they complain about daily?

    I think people have the ability to think higher than they think they can. With some skills and attention, can be nurtured. Do you think? What do those that automatically think at higher levels have that others don't? Innate self-reflection and self-direction as well as courage? Is it possible that we will always have those that cannot achieve deep thinking? I wonder if in every profession, this same conversation is being held.