A key condition to his argument is that the conventional way to learn has been through studying content and getting information from a “one-way conversation” provided by a limited number of people through television and outlets, such as newspapers (Wesch, 2010). Essentially, media over the past century has told us what is the norm, what we should think, buy, watch, and so on, largely leading to the materialistic, attention thriving society we still have. Now, however, as Wesch points out, we have so much access to information that the model of “know this,” is no longer necessary, or even most effective. With the Web-based technology that has emerged, people can and have been able to “connect, organize, share, collect, collaborate, and publish” information in both their personal and professional/academic lives (Wesch, 2010). On top of that, because this has become such an important and integrated part of life, Wesch feels that it is imperative to incorporate it to education. Therefore, he see the need to move away from content knowledge to being “knowledge-able” or skilled at learning; in this sense, at finding and creating information on the Web, individually and with others (Wesch, 2010).
Other features prominently displayed in his presentation are instances in which Web-based technology has worked to educate or reach out to global masses. This could be simple blogs or social media sites, it could be touching videos, or as seen in Kenya, it could even be new technology developed and shared to let people find out about “life or death” reports/news (Wesch, 2010). Wesch concludes that the important thing to train students to be is “knowledge-able,” which they need practice at, such as by grasping a “real problem” of the world, working with others to try and address it, and using the available technology to do so (2010). Knowledge is spread very quickly in the modern world and thus we must adjust.
I believe that Wesch is very accurate in his analysis; there is most definitely a need for a reform in education geared to skills that students will need in the modern and future world. I grew up in the age of “knowledge” and know full well how that system works, but this is unnecessary today when most this material can easily be obtained online. Due to this, I agree with Wesch, schools needs to address how to get, share, and create information, and thus knowledge, using this new media platform. Some things I can think of incorporating in my classes are dedicating time to building research and source reliability training, having student contribute through blogs or videos (perhaps addressing a world issue related to the class), and organizing their findings via some sort of social bookmarking tool, much like Diigo. I would really want to ensure that I was incorporating critical thinking skills as well, thus reflections would be a target. The one element I will add however is, despite my support for Wesch’s ideas, I do still want to incorporate lecture, and other traditional means, yet they would not necessarily be my focus or purpose for teaching students. There are still some good attributes that students can gain from a little content knowledge since building it does often require hard work, another life skill they will need. All in all though, Wesch is correct and we, the academic world, need to adjust.
Wesch, Michael. [TEDx Talks]. (2010, October 12). TEDxKC-Michael Wesch-From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-Able. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeaAHv4UTI8