I found Michael Wesch’s Tedx Talk very engaging and inspiring. I agree with Wesch’s argument that we as educators need to rethink some of the traditional teaching styles our school systems offer students. In his talk, Wesch argues that teachers need to move students away from just being “knowledgeable” in other words, “knowing a bunch of stuff,” and instead teach students to be “knowledge-able.” Wesch describes this concept as having the ability to “find, sort, analyze, criticize, and create.” As teachers, we need to pay attention to the questions our students ask us and notice if their questions reveal they are actually practicing becoming “knowledge-able.” Questions such as, “how much is this worth,” or “when is it due,” reveal the students’ lack of real interest or engagement in the subject matter we present them. These questions simply reveal we are not inspiring our students to find meaning in their education. To change the ways our students think about their class work, according to Wesch, requires that we give them the tools to “practice” becoming "knowledge-able." Wesch describes this as a three step practice where we get students to really think about and embrace real world problems, seek the answers to these problems via student collaboration, and finally do so using resourceful tools such as twitter or YouTube to engage in a global conversation.
I agree with Wesch’s arguments. I would much rather see students interested in finding out how they can make a difference in the world, rather than just doing an assignment to pass the class. In my own classroom, I can practice these three steps with my students, and I could do so, for example, using Wesch’s video clips. I think the Greenpeace activist’s deforestation video clip that Wesch shares is really powerful. It would be interesting to share both the Dove campaign and Greenpeace clip with my students. I think the students would be inspired when viewing that one person was able to gain a million views and use this popularity to change a multi-million dollar company’s unethical deforestation practices in only two weeks. In my classroom, I could have students research companies who practice unethical policies, and then have the students collaborate with their peers to create a video protesting the company's harmful practices. The students could then share these videos via YouTube, and further brainstorm to find more ways they could get their voice heard and expand their global conversation. I am excited to one day try this lesson with my students. Like Wesch, I want to teach my students that media is no longer just a “one way conversation.” Students, too can have a voice, and they can learn to use it in really powerful ways.
Wesch, M. [TEDx Talks]. (2010, October 12). TEDxKC – Michael Wesch From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-Able.[Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeaAHv4UTI8