Thursday, September 16, 2010

Michael Wesch and The Future of Education

Refreshing is the word that comes to mind for summing up my reflection after watching the video produced by the University of Manitoba on Michael Wesch and The Future of Education.  Michael Wesch provided relevant examples of how he harnessed Web 2.0 tools to create a participatory and collaborative learning environment for his students at Kansas State University.  Kudos to him.

He began his presentation by disqualifying the myths about authority in the classroom and access to information.  He provided evidence of why lecture halls are ineffective for the culture we live in today.  When he surveyed his students, he found that over half of them did not like school, but they all enjoyed learning.  The students felt that the lectures and assignments were not very relevant to real life situations.  They were spending hundreds of dollars on books for each course and not reading the content, much less learning or building knowledge.  A sad commentary on institutional education.

Thankfully, instructors such as Wesch are open to changing the academic dilemma.  His willingness to explore the integration of Web 2.0 tools is magnificent.  He established his classroom using NetVibes and then incorporated further Web 2.0 tools such as a Wiki, Twitter, Blog feeds, RSS, and Diigo discussions and tagging.  He created a wealth of value in that information center.  His courses became collaborative and he designed challenges for the students so that they had to formalize connections which became significant and built their knowledge.  Through the learning environment that he designed, students could participate and network, and exponentially knowledge flowed in the collaborative creations.

His example is exemplary and his presentation exhibited excellent use of the Web 2.0 tools currently at our disposal for integration into classrooms around the globe through the www.

I hope to design a course similar to his one day in the not too distant future.

Katrina Way, MBA