“We need to move our students from being Knowledgeable, that is knowing a bunch of stuff.. to knowledge-able, that is being able to find, sort, analyze... criticize and create.”
In his TedxKC talk, “From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-Able”, Cultural Anthropologist Michael Wesch discusses the importance of revamping education to meet the needs of today’s students. He elaborates on his desire to move students from asking questions like “How do I solve this math problem?” to “How do I solve the problem of current deforestation in the world?”. He uses media at the foundation of his argument, stating that media has the power, and students need to develop the critical thinking skills needed to filter, analyze, and merely THINK about what is being shown to them.
In order to do this though, teachers need to accommodate the meaning-seeker nature of students. Rather than have students seek meaning in the multiple choice test that gives them their grade, allow them to seek meaning in real world problems, and they allow them to utilize the relevant tools to accomplish it. The changing landscape of the media and technology allows students access to an abundant amount of new tools, and it changes their relationship with media. Rather than media holding all the power in a one-way conversation, students can use their new tools to respond back. This new social media also allows students to not only move beyond the classroom, but move into a global conversation. As Dr. Wesch states, this new technology makes it ridiculously easy for students to connect, organize, share, collect, and collaborate with other students on the other side of the world.
However grand it sounds, Dr. Wesch reiterates that harnessing this power, helping students become meaning-makers, and moving them from knowing a bunch of facts, to having student that are ABLE to sort, analyze, etc., takes practice. Teachers need to pose students with real world problems, allow them to collaborate using the tools technology provides us, and work with them to practice these skills. These abilities, Dr. Wesch states, are what students need, not just a multiple choice test. I can not help but agree with his entire talk - I want my students to feel like the class is purposeful. How I will go about this while still teaching them content and meeting the standards, I am not quite sure yet, but I want to try.
Wesch, M. (2010, October 12). TEDxKC-Michael Wesch-From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-Able. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeaAHv4UTI8