Friday, November 21, 2008

Engagement of our students

Today I spent some time watching videos put together by Michael Wesch. Many will know his now famous video The Machine is Us/ing Us. He has made a series of other videos about students engagement in school and a fascinating lecture which expands on his simple videos. Below are some of the key messages I pulled out of these videos.

Michael Wesch from Kansas State University put together the video A vision of students today (4:44min) after observing a level of disengagement in tertiary students he wasn't happy with. This video inspired a similar video for junior students A vision of k12 students today (4:09min)

In a presentation at the University of Manitoba entitled A portal to media literacy (1hr) Michael Wesch expanded on the initial video explaining how it came about and discusses the use of digital literacy to enhance student learning.

He asked his students:
Who doesn't like school?
Over half put up their hands.

He asked his students:
Who doesn't like learning?
No one put up their hands.

Michael Wesch also talks about the common statement made by teachers that

Some children are not cut out for school

He then makes the point that School is Learning

Is it fair to say:

Some children are not cut out for learning?

The power of the learning environment is discussed, with the question "What do the walls say about learning?"

He says that the traditional classroom may say:

"To learn is to acquire information
Information is scarce and hard to find
Trust authority for good information
Authorised information is beyond discussion
Obey the authority
Follow along"

This just is not the case for 21st century learning.

What does your learning environment say about learning?


Heymilly said...

This is a great post. This year I have been thinking more and more about this concept also and the drive for wall spaces to show end product rather than processes. One of my latest posts is about this. I am finding I am having more of a push towards the process. I asked my students what they want from their classroom and its something i'll now continue to do, after all it's not just our working/learning/teaching space.

Naketa said...

Love this post Jane!

"environment is discussed, with the question "What do the walls say about learning?"

When I was teaching in early childhood I would always have the walls plastered with learning stories and children's work - a term we used was "making learning visible". The purpose was to share with parents and families learning that took place throughout the day and also for children to re-visit their own learning.

I have to say that I was particularly hung up with ensuring that everything wasnt "perfect" or too straight, just to prove that learning was not linear but oh so complex :)