Add the video “A Vision of Students Today” from Professor Michael Wesch and his cultural anthropology students at Kansas State University to your personal list of “must see” videos about our need for educational reform and videos for professional development.

This video uses the same effective technique I’ve seen previously in “Hero in the Hallway” which addresses both the need and strategies for addressing bullying in schools. I’m not sure if this videography method has a formal name, but it consists of actors and actresses holding up hand-written signs to share perceptions as well as statistics as the camera pans to different locations and people. Put to music, this is an effective communication method for digital video.

The KSU digital ethnography crew also posted a new video titled “Information R/evolution” on the same day as “A Vision of Students Today.” According to the post description:

This video explores the changes in the way we find, store, create, critique, and share information. This video was created as a conversation starter, and works especially well when brainstorming with people about the near future and the skills needed in order to harness, evaluate, and create information effectively.

In this latter video, I really like the use of a typewriter to begin exploring the changing characteristics of information in our increasingly digital world. I also love the phrases:

There is no shelf. The links are sufficient.

I also like the statement:

3 tags and it is now stored in 3 places all at once.

I was explaining that to my mother this weekend in the context of del.icio.us and social bookmarking, and she readily understood how this way of organizing and processing (with tags) is inherently more powerful than traditional top-down, taxonomies which only allow for one category without duplication of the information. I also really like the use of the card catalog in the library to communicate these messages. This reminds me of the “What IS RSS?” video I created with undergraduate and graduate students at Wayland Baptist University in Lubbock in the fall of 2005. Our version is certainly not up to the professional standard of Dr. Wesch and his students, but it does attempt to explore some related ideas about information overload and our need to find smarter ways to process it.

The concept of organizing information via a folksonomy instead of a taxonomy is a pivotal concept in our changing information landscape. I think the KSU digital ethnography video “The Web is Using/Us” is still my favorite over this newer one, but that may be due to my familiarity with it.

Many, many thanks to Dr Wesch and his students at Kansas State for creating and sharing these videos! Thanks also to Eric Langhorst for telling me about these videos this morning following his second session at MITC07!

I’ve added these links to the list already collected on my “Videos for Professional Development” page.

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  • http://www.blogush.edublogs.org Paul Bogush

    I am going to cheat and leave the same comment I left on two other blogs with this video!! I just think it is so interesting…
    “I showed the video ‘A Vision of Students’ to all of my kids today and was amazed at their response. To summarize the opinions of 100 kids in one sentence — “The video was made to show kids how they waste their time doing useless things and should do the work they are given because college costs a lot of money and doing well in college will lead to a more successful future.” It took a while for them to believe that it was not their fault for feeling bored and uninterested in school(every class except mine of course : )”

  • Cal

    I really like the first video in this post; it is a very accurate description of what it is like to be a student today. It seems that school systems are a little behind the times when it comes to adjusting to the changing needs of the students. Personally I think ISU (Illinois State University) has done a good job of incorporating more engaging material into their class rooms. Another great message was even though we have these complaints about school and wish that it was better, we are so much better off then other places around the world. I think that was a great way to end the piece, it really put a spin on the information that was presented in the beginning. It basically shows you, that ya maybe being a student aren’t the easiest or most glamorous thing, but you truly are lucky to even have the money to buy the books you don’t read.

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