These are my notes from Dr. Michael Wesch‘s breakout session, “The Visions of Students Today” at the 2011 Heartland eLearning Conference on March 8th. Follow him on Twitter: @mwesch. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS.

The Visions of Students Today video was 4 years ago

I don’t think we’re very far along with media literacy today
– things are pretty grim right now

terms quiz:
fair use
net neutrality

about 0% of kids out of 400 knew these terms, which are essential to full media literacy today
– reality is most people in our society don’t know those words
– this is an interesting situation: the dominant means of communication in our society today are not well understood

Mozilla through the MacArthur Foundation gave us #25 for the #VOST2011 project
– trying to get students around the world to contribute videos
– we are going to remix those with our own ideas about the media landscape
– original idea was to create a 5 min video
– now, however, so many students have a vision for their own 5 min video
– we may put them together in a single documentary

The Visions of Students Today – Call for Submissions

the original video was translated into several languages, on ABC News, lots of social media and mainstream media buzz


have received hundreds of submissions so far
– some from Europe, Belgium especially
– class in the Philippines started to dump lots of videos

“The Visions of Students Today” 2011 Remix One (trailer)

Hands Not Spoons – VOST 2011

Model in the class in the past has been students do their own 5 minute videos and we piece them together as a larger documentary

Trailer for “Boxes” student video
– walls may become less relevant as 2 million people are interacting in the air around us

Other ideas: GenMe study
– case study on “3 Cups of Tea”

Learners move through stages (see WikiPedia article on Women’s Development Theory)
– receptive learners (learning is about aquiring knowledge)
– subjective learning – break with authority, reason to question authority, you start questioning everything, nothing is true. all opinions
– procedural knowing (every discipline has different procedures for saying what is true: aesthetics in Art, etc.)
– constructive or committed learning: you recognize their are procedures which help you manage uncertainty and knowledge / information

each one of our students has a “superpower”
Charles Taylor, ethics of authenticity

Belenkey 1986 receptive knowers
– see WikiPedia article: Women’s Development Theory

One student focusing on ideas of Dennis Littky on College Unbound

1957 Sputnik
Woodshole conference: get together with Jerome Bruner in 1962
– bureacrats thought academic experts were going to give them a list of things students needed to konw to graduate from school
– Bruner ran with this and created book, “The Process of Education”
1964 John Holt How Children Fail
– late 1960s: TEaching as a Subversive Activity by Postman, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Death at an EArly Age by Kozol

Postman: Dewey’s idea if students learn what they do, what are they doing here in this classroom sitting (passive)

Postman book: Teaching as a Conserving Activity (I HAVE NEVER READ THAT ONE)

Seaman High School in Topeka was built without walls, and then

Postman said the 1960s revolution failed because
– war in Vietnam was ending
– stagnating economy by 70s
– utopian hype / difficult to implement
– back to basics movement

We have lots of parallels to that today in our society / culture

Back to Basics critique of new media literacy
– say it’s pandering to students
– neglects basic literacy skills
– difficult to implement

Call back to them
– many students LOVE multiple choice exams
– basic literacy goes far beyond this traditional model

– Look at structures and see possibilities instead of obstacles / things that constrain us
– interesting way to look at our schools and educational environment

VOST2011 will probably hire an HTML5 programmer, because you can have video speak to / other elements on the webpage
– when something on the video is addressing a topic or link, that will be highlighted on the right side

Mozilla wants us to go nuts with the functionality of the site
– so whenever someone contributes a video their twitter ID comes up with their latest tweet
– that can get distracting though, so we’ll have to see…

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