I do agree with Dr. Wesch that school should not compete with technology but harness it in order to foster engagement and develop skills that are more relevant in today’s world. Technology has made it easier than ever to “connect, organize, share, collect, collaborate, and publish” content; however, it is still very difficult to do since it requires practice. This is where school and education needs to step up. If school is meant to teach students the skills they need in the real world, then we need to look more closely as to what those skills are and how educators can foster said skills.
As a future biology teacher, I believe in project-based learning and collaboration to foster the skills our students need for an ever changing technological interconnected world. In my current clinical practice, my students have collaborated to construct long DNA models of real genes, giant models of cells and viruses, and numerous posters to represent visual information. They have worked together every day to learn as a community. What has been missing so far has been creating works that address real issues rather than works to help them memorize information.
Even though my students grew up with the sum of human knowledge at their fingertips, that does not automatically mean these students know how to parse, collect, process, and use that information for the creation of works that really matter. While internet technology has become a two-way street of interaction, it is still vastly used as a method of consumption of media. Creating globally-minded and collaborative citizens requires rowing against this consumer culture which will take work, space, and time. Schools can provide each of these things.
Even though I agree with Dr. Wesch’s premise, I envision many bumps along this road to change. Teaching students to memorize information is entrenched in our current school culture, especially the sciences. For many educators and administrators, they are entrenched in this type of pedagogy. This is how they know to deliver and assess the content. Fostering our students’ ability to “collect, organize, share, collect, collaborate, and publish” content that matters requires our educators to do the same. Unfortunately, just as difficult as it is for students to do so, I predict that it will be even more difficult for many teachers to do the same because change is difficult to do, especially trying to change an entire group or system.
But change can and does happen. As a new educator, I am constantly faced with new information which reminds me of my own lack of knowledge. The more I learn about anything, the more I realize I don't really know much at all. However, I find that being open and acknowledging my biases allows me to grow, change, and adapt with our world and with my students. As I learn how to "connect, organizer, share, collect, collaborate, and publish" meaningful works which allow me to make meaning of my own experiences in this program, I intend to bring my experiences into my classroom and see how my students can do the same.
Wesch, M. (2010, October 12). TEDxKC-Michael Wesch-From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-Able [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeaAHv4UTI8