While working on Pathway B of Week five of my course, I watched the presentation by Michael Wesch: “The Digital Writing on the Wall.” I found this presentation very powerful and it made me realize how deeply my own life is embedded in media and technology. He portrayed a very engaging discussion of our digital footprints and the expansion of the classroom beyond its four walls.
Wesch mentioned that “media are not just tools, that they actually mediate and change our relationships.” I believe this message is about people realizing that media is important to our lives. The use of number driven statistics changed the way a small Indonesian community lived, built and organized their houses, and even mediated the names they used for a census. The “number talk” driven census created the necessity for people to essentially make up names as we know them. The introduction of a new tool then actually changed (or could have) the weight of a persons name, from being relational to individual. This is a great example of how media are not just tools, but can change the state of our living.
Media also has an effect on our lifestyle. Not just commercials, music videos, video games etc., but with communication tools like Facebook, instant messaging and texting. The fact that you can “talk” to someone without making any sort of verbal or visual contact with them has huge implications on relationships. Boundaries between people change. Even the word “friend” does not necessarily have the same meaning that it did twenty years ago.
I believe as educators we need to help students to realize that all knowledge is constructed and that they must be active constructors of knowledge in order to understand it. I think using a variety of technologies in classrooms is a valuable way to connect students to and involve them in the construction of knowledge and relationships. I think it is imperative for students to learn how to evaluate the information they find on the internet and in various forms of media. We need students to start to think critically about how they will respond.
As Wesch states, “We don’t have to tear the walls down. We just have to stop pretending that the walls separate us from the world and begin working with students in the pursuit of answers to real and relevant questions.” However, the greater challenge remains, because knowing what needs to be done is not the same as doing it.
A link to the video: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/3929554