A Portal to Media Literacy

Michael Wesch is a Cultural Anthropologist who explores the “impacts of new media on human interaction”.  He’s probably best-known for his Web2.0 in 5-mins YouTube video: The Machine is Us/ing Us It has been viewed around 6-million times and has received 20-thousand user ratings and 7000 comments…  If you’ve not seen it or any of his other short videos then take a look on YouTube.

Last month he gave the following talk entitled A Portal to Media Literacy at a University of Manitoba conference.

It’s just over an hour and well worth finding time to watch the whole thing.  Alternatively, below’s a rough breakdown of what he covers so you can dip in:

In the first 20-mins he focusses on a critique of the traditional approach of university teaching: the lecture and the lecture theatre.  He bases much of his commentary on the work he has done with his students at Kansas State University as seen in his YouTube video: A Vision of Students Today.

He goes on to talk about the importance of creating meaningful connections and significance for students by providing them with an overall narrative to their learning, a learning environment or platform for participation that values their input and one that leverages the current (new) media environment.

He argues that the media environment (YouTube, facebook, Wikis etc) is so new that there are no digital natives and that students don’t know how to use this stuff to learn so teachers and students are all in the same boat in that respect.  I have to agree.  Around 50% of his students didn’t realise a wiki could be edited at the start of his course despite being regular wikipedia users.

At around 28mins he introduces his platform that includes netvibes as a portal, a course wiki, diigo boomarks,  the use of Zoho creator for collecting data on YouTube videos.  It’s fascinating to see how he or rather the students have used the tools.  For example – the students add their notes on the lecture to the wiki collectively both during and after the lecture.

At 42mins he starts to talk about networks, the value of students and their relationships between each other and the teacher.  He recognizes that this model of participation is easier with small groups but goes on to describe how he has he used a World Simulation game as a centrepiece of his course with around 200 students.

He also flags up Kaltura, an open source video editing tool for collaborative video creation.  And finally concludes that we have to move students from being knowledgeable to being knowledge-able ( i.e. able to create & critique).

Originally spotted on Seb Schmoller’s Fortnightly Mailing

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