Digital and Analog Storytelling

The entire history of human expression, slightly abridged

Notes on Wesch

A questioner from Michael Wesch's talk at UMW Faculty Academy

A questioner from Michael Wesch’s talk at UMW Faculty Academy

Okay, so, this guy kind of blew my mind.

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been thinking about Web 2.0 so much (because I’ve been reading about it so much), but it’s just nice to be reminded that a lot of this stuff has been going on for a long time, this battle (is that too strong a word?) in education between the status quo and people who want classrooms to be more active, more project-oriented. Project-based learning isn’t new, and the Internet didn’t invent it.

The biggest hit I had watching the videos again (for the whateverth time now) was the difference that Wesch draws between Information Literacy, Meta-Media Fluency, and Digital Citizenship (it’s possible that those are unnecessary capitalizations). Being able to understand the arguments that are occurring on the Internet is not the same as being able to move freely between media, and that, also, is different than the willingness to take on the power and responsibility that come with those increasingly powerful tools.

Also, Wesch got me on the concept that the Internet and Web 2.0 affordances don’t just allow communication, they mitigate it, they control it to a certain extent. Skype and Instagram and Twitter don’t enable, or even approximate, telepathy. In many ways, communicating more (if that’s fair to say) with each other makes relationships more complicated, more of a performance, maybe, and in some cases less intimate (in many instances, FAR less intimate).

This complication does not only apply to interpersonal communication, but to the way in which we speak to and understand ourselves. Go through your photos on Instagram. Do all of those styles, objects, people, belong to the same creative consciousness? Are they similar or different, stylistically, aesthetically? Does the dissonance between the styles create any meaning for you? Would it, to an objective observer?


2 comments on “Notes on Wesch

  1. Jim Groom
    January 26, 2013

    So, i was driving with Wesch in Manhattan, Kansas (where he lives and teaches) and we were talking about Makerbots and 3D printing. I was taken with 3D printing because the whole idea of moving the idea of manufacturing to the home was crazy. The ideas we could print toys, appliance parts, and more was starting to really suggest to me how the future had arrived. Wesch turns and says, how wild would it be if people started printing their own brands, their own identity markers, constructing a new interface with who they are through the technology that is afforded, that is why Wesch rocks—he always has that question surrounding the constituitive relationship between identity and technology at the forefront of his mind for our moment. And it always makes his ideas fascinating. here is is follow-up post on this idea, deep stuff, he is an amazing thinker and ambassador for the possibilities of technology to truly inspire education.

    Thanks for the post, I enjoyed it.

    • B Short
      January 26, 2013


      We had an amazing–one of the best–conversation in class on Wednesday about the future of education which featured discussion of some social ed. class materials (including a class in which students curated their own grading experience, which I thought was rad) and lots of diagnosing of the double-edged sword of constant connectivity re: typical classroom experiences.

      I keep going back to that UMW faculty academy speech and each time I feel like I find something new. Thanks for the link, Jim, I appreciate it.

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This entry was posted on January 20, 2013 by in deep thoughts, ds106, umdst and tagged , .
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