Seeking help with “A Vision” for tomorrow

To my delight, “A Vision of Students Today” is currently the most blogged about video in the blogosphere. I have read nearly every blog and comment posted about the video, and thought I would offer some of my responses here.

First off, it is remarkable to read all of the different interpretations of the video. Some have portrayed me as a luddite who thinks all technology in the classroom should be done away with, while others have suggested that I am a technophile who thinks technology is the answer. Others focus more on the words of the students, and suggest that whatever problems we may have in higher education can be blamed on them, the technology, or both.
To give a little bit more context to the piece, it might be useful to point out that it was originally created as Part 2 of a 3 part series on Higher Ed. Part 1 has been published as Information R/evolution. That piece tracks the way information creation, critique, and distribution has changed, ending with the question “Are we ready?” and the answer: “R U Feeling Lucky?” (altering Google’s I’m feeling lucky button). Placed back to back, this would then lead directly to the door opening to the empty classroom.

Part 3 is planned to be an exploration of different teaching technologies and the ways in which they shape the learning environment for better and for worse. It will begin where this video left off, with a chalkboard (which IS a teaching *technology*, though we often overlook it as such), progressing through PowerPoint, onto the web, SecondLife, etc.

I think many of the misinterpretations of the video are due to my attempts to frame the issues in a way that subtly suggests both luddite and technophile solutions as actual possible solutions.

The conclusion I hoped would be drawn from the video, has been most eloquently stated by Tim Bulkeley at SansBlogue:

More striking and visceral though, for me, was the opening of the video which sets the scene and poses the issue in an empty classroom! The environment in which we teach (onsite classes) is alien and sets up a model of information which is no longer true! Information is no longer scarce, no longer “out there”, no longer even ordered and organised the same way. It is not what we teach, it is how we are teaching that is the problem!

What teaching in the 21st century needs is not “better/more use of technology” – though that would be nice, nor (surely people do not actually believe this!?) students who are “as well educated as we were”, but simply new ways of doing and being. Many of our deep-rooted assumptions are enshrined in material forms, “class” rooms, whiteboards, “lecturers” and the like. So, what do we do to change how we are teaching?

I think Tim asks the right question here, though I would like to change it up a bit as I prepare to make “Part 3″ of this series on Higher Ed: What are we DOING to change how we are teaching? If you have any great examples of how you have changed up your classroom (or “classroom”) in ways that are more in tune with the information environment in which we all now exist, please comment. I am looking for examples that span all the possibilities – some of which I expect to be technology-focused, while others may not use any technology at all (my own project, the World Simulation, is very light on tech).

Thanks in advance to all those who can offer any examples.


Associate professor of cultural anthropology. Ed Traceur. Hacker. Car-free.

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66 Responses

  1. T. Noble says:

    Perhaps another question is to wonder how information is now dissected by youth. Is it our ability (or our inability, yet when faced with necessity, a compulsion) to multi-task applicable to the classroom? Is the future of learning or teaching a combination of technology and human adaptability, or is the future of learning not so different than it was in the past; only minor process (computer projections, videos, etc) by which we learn has changed?

    Are things more visually implicated towards learning in a time in our history where images, across all content, are easily available, perhaps more so than the written word? Or is there a bidirectional effect, where images and words are becoming more attuned and therefore are necessitated by our appetite for visually learning?

    If we are moving forward in learning and teaching, how is this defined? Do we cater to the student as an idea of a general entity, or as a body of individuals, each with specific needs? Will we base our future on utilitarian purposes because of our collective cohesions through the internet and “collective consciousness”? Where will the individual fall?

    If we consider the changes of teaching and the idea of a classroom, what impact will this have on social development? The Western traditions of teaching and learning may not, as far as I know, be the only models of the classroom. Are our models the ‘best’ or the most fashioned towards technological improvement? Or have our models been rooted so deep within our past, where we have forgotten the context of original teaching, to be considered uniformly adequate for its purpose in the present?

    I think to rethink.

    I don’t presume that these questions may do anything for anyone, or have meant anything at all, or even have made sense. I hope, however, that they have spurred some thought.

    I also wish, as of tonight, that I was more involved in projects like this at my university. Perhaps classrooms, quite simply, need application. When, past school, do we get essays and tests? If it is about critical thinking, then loosen the structure of school and bring about the boundaries for unfrequented thought to travel. School isn’t just about learning, but innovating and creating. Is the point where I ‘create’ past undergrad university and into graduate school? I never understood why it takes over twenty years of my life to explore my own ideas. Perhaps I missed something. Perhaps I never thought of exploring beyond what was given to me or in front of me.

  2. I’m a professor and a filmmaker on the future of education. I teach in a room that looks exactly like the one in the video!

    The issue is: who’s in charge? Education as coercion is rapidly playing itself out. Standardization, increased control, and the general ‘cybnetization’ of learning is being pushed further down the age groups. TEACHING is paradigmatic to this failing system.

    Human agency is the real prize – young people gaining the ability to LEARN and think and act, first, independently, then cooperatively. Coerced and compulsory submission to teaching derails this in kids and produces what I now stand before weekly: hollow, confused, lost young adults. Young adults who have forgotten whatever it was they really wanted to do as they grew up.

    Technology is neither the cause nor the simple solution. But technology is providing the nightmares (addictive gaming, infotrivialization, hive-mind-bots) as well as the escape hatches that may motivate for more significant change in our cult of education.

  3. Greg Brown says:

    It’s really hard to make a blanket answer since one of really great things about the universal availability of technology is the incredibly general-purpose nature of the tools available. The web browser alone has mutated from a mere network of academic documents to an incredible engine for e-commerce and interaction. I think this means that the pedagogy will become more carefully tailored to the specific subjects being taught. This is already the case, but technology allows us to be more flexible in using a wider array of techniques that weren’t originally feasible in larger class-sizes.

    For example, I took World Politics with Professor Stephen Long in that very same classroom featured in the video (I think… the one in Kedzie Hall?) and we used a really neat system with a remote for each person that allowed everyone to quickly answer some question that he projected in a powerpoint slide. The more traditional use of the system was to quickly quiz us once a week on what we’d covered, but he also took quick polls on the class’s stance on various current events, and then allowed students to advocate for their position and try to sway the class (which we checked on afterwards with a second poll). It was some really neat stuff, and helped dampen the usual problems with lack of engagement in those huge lecture halls.

    Speaking for myself personally, I chose to pursue a degree in philosophy precisely to avoid that type of large lecture hall situation, and I have a somewhat hard time imagining how technology could easily improve the situation (other than providing after-the-fact recordings of classroom discussions for reference so that we wouldn’t have to worry about alternating analysis of the arguments with writing down whatever that one guy in the corner just said. And even within that department there’s a wide mix of presentation styles, from professors who mainly lecture but occasionally prod the class to show that they’re understanding the subject (and doing the assigned readings).

    One innovation that could span plenty of subjects is easier in-document annotation. CommentPress is the most practical option at the moment for in-document annotation that doesn’t require forcible-mediation through a third-party service. I could easily see discussions happening before and after classes on this thing, but that assumes that we can get our readings in electronic format (which is easier said than done in 90% of the cases I encounter in class). While I’m kind of hesitant to endorse something the recording industry did, it would be great if universities could pay a flat-fee to have access to (and republish) electronic copies of selections from books, much in the same way that radio broadcasters pay a consistent fee for the use of song catalogs.

    But few of these innovations have really happened yet, largely because we can’t expect much consistency amongst all the participants of a class. Right now, it’s the norm for students to have access to a pencil and pen and paper for classes, so you can structure the class under those assumptions. And while we do have plenty of computers available for students at Hale Library, we can’t count on (or even reasonably expect) most students having a laptop in classes. While you can get electronic technology involved with classes, it’s really hard to integrate electronic technology with the classroom when you can’t count on it. And while Apple has done a great job of creating a norm that every new computer should have a webcam and a microphone and some other tools for creatively interacting with others, it hasn’t been enough to change the industry as a whole. Other laptops aren’t jumping on that boat, and worries about anti-trust are making Microsoft hesitant about bundling that sort of advanced functionality traditionally reserved for separate programs (and third-party developers).

    These are some big boundaries to overcome, and we’re at an awkward transitional stage in terms of adjusting to the radical new opportunities offered by this technology. And I think it’s a good thing that the egalitarian impulse of education has kept us from imposing restrictions like “you MUST have a laptop to take x, y, and z classes.” But at the same time, that kind of requirement is almost inevitable once those core technologies become cheaper, and the changes that’ll take place once it kicks in are unpredictable but utterly exciting.

  4. Simon says:

    Well it may be a very small baby step in the direction of change, but I altered a traditional backboard and pasting research assignment that I have my twelfth grade ethics class do and got them involved in an online collaborative project with a class in England. We (the other teacher and I) asked our students to examine the issue of the environment from a Catholic ethical perspective. It was our first foray into connecting students in such a way and I recently heard from a student who was involved in the project and she asked me if I was doing another one this year. So it seems to have had an impact with them. You can see what they created at:


  5. Diane Knights says:

    After hearing you speak on Friday I am filled with many thoughts, questions and unspoken conversations – video-captured or not. Your theme of whether or not we are making our students prepared for the future is one of the topics that keeps bubbling up in my mind. Though I am a librarian, and not a teacher in the formal sense I do think all of teach each other all of the time. For several years now I’ve thought the best way to leave people prepared for the future is to encourage curiosity. It is the way that will lead us to new places, or back to what is good from before, until the right, good thing comes.

    The other valulable mantra (outside of never say never) is ‘question everything.’

    And a couple of other random thoughts:
    We start with what we know, our own history – hence the “shelf” on Yahoo.
    What’s in the past is not necessarily bad, it just is what it is. The videos on your blog don’t state that outright, but it is implied I think. And it can, must serve as our jumping off place, for one can’t jump from a place one hasn’t gotten too yet.
    Be curious
    Question everything

  6. Delaney Kirk says:

    I’ve been using class blogs for the past two years in my Management classes. I just finished teaching a MBA course in Leadership which required the students to all comment on the blog at least once a week. Althought the students have been in lock-step classes for the past year, the students tell me they learned more ABOUT each other and FROM each other through the blog than they had in all their previous classes. I think technology is a great tool for teaching.

  7. Dare says:

    You may want to read John Taylor Gatto article about compulsary schooling. I think you’ll get the bigger picture. Just google him and read…

  8. Adim says:

    This video struck a chord in me. As a student I find that school is not keeping up with technology, in some cases such as assignments, where I can just google up the answers or in tests, I have an Iphone, so in classes where teachers allow you to do a test and listen to music it is easy for me to go on the web and look up answers while pretending to be listening to music (not that I do this but it is a possibility). I find that the type of information we should be learning is not memorizing stuff that today can be pulled up in a single search but how to mash up various forms of information to complete the desired goal. Living in an age where information is around us all the time, we should not spend time learning how to regurjitate information but how to apply them iin our lives.

  9. Seni Thomas says:

    First of all I think these videos are great because they have shed light on issues that are extremely important yet by and large ignored. I’m a recent graduate of NYU’s undergrad marketing program and was equally frustrated by the fact that the curriculum was not keeping pace with the adoption and integration of new media in the marketing mix.

    At the of core of technology in education there are three essential points.

    1. Evolving students from being media users to media thinkers. Almost a year ago I was hosted by the New York Institute of Technology to talk to a group of high school teachers on this topic, and one of the teachers told me of a small experiment he conducted in the school computer lab: Deleting the IE icon from the desktop completely befuddled the students and they asked, “Where is the internet?”. Most of the youth today are simply users of technology and media yet have no idea how it works. If you don’t know how the pieces fit together you will never be able to innovate.

    2. Making it relevant in their context. When introducing new technologies you need to frame it within a context that is relevant to the students. Many times students just breeze through an assignment where they have to use some media tool, but they retain little and rarely use it outside the classroom.

    3. Breaking down the social barriers. This is far more prevalent in the middle and high school levels, but I see remnants still being carried over into the college realm. Technology = dorky. There is a great deal of ostracization that still takes place and is an even more significant barrier for women. To change this view technology needs to be repositioned. Technology needs to be an empowering tool. For example if I want to be a marine biologist I need to be quite familiar with various aspects of technology. Similarly, by humanizing technology we can attract more women to technology and engineering. Innately women are drawn toward more empathetic careers (teaching, nursing, speech pathology, etc); thus, if fields like engineering are repositioned as empowering tools that help people. A means to an end. I believe we can expand the appeal of tech.

    Just some thoughts. I also author a blog on innovation and creativity theory for students. Drop by if you like:

    looking forward to the next installment.


  10. Steve Gelmis says:

    It’s a great project. COngratulations to you and your students.

    I’ve got a housekeeping request, which I nonetheless believe should be part of what gets taught about using the tools you are working with:

    Please change the RSS feed settings on this blog from the short word count text-only intro to full content with graphics and embedded video.

    Many of us who would like to follow what you are going use feed readers, and the extra step of having to click through and load your actual website represents needless friction on the flow of your ideas.

    I try closely follow nearly 200 blog feeds and I am much more attentive to those which don’t make me beg for their content. I’m guessing that I’m not the only one.

    Thanks. And again, great project.

  11. I don’t teach, but I do advise. And the way I advise is not the way I was advised. I email, telephone, teleconference, IM, Facebook, MySpace, Blackboard and amazingly even talk f2f with students. I don’t just advise them about classes here, I pull up other college websites, career websites, online course information, along with my own institution website. I look at transcripts on-line. We scan documents and shred the paper. I help students find what they need so that they can get the education needed to do whatever it is that they want to do. They ask “How do I get there from here?’

    If I advised “flat” I couldn’t answer that question.

  12. I’m fascinated by what awaits our students these days. The educators are endorsing the concept of “lifelong learning,” which makes sense, since the numbers indicate that someone entering the workforce today will have as many as 6 (count ‘em, SIX) careers (no, not jobs but entire CAREERS) before they “retire,” or are otherwise unable to work. In a previous post, I recounted the commencement speech given by Neil Armstrong where I highlighted the most significant part of his observation, passed to the graduating class of Southern Cal’s finest.

    Let me repeat this yet again. He said, “That suggests that you can’t imagine the change and related opportunity that will arise for you in the years ahead…”

    But I assert that with channels of communication expanding VIRALLY, the greatest challenge in the information age is to understand what to ignore. It may also portend a trend to “social constructivism,” where instead of learning point-to-multi-point as in the theatre classroom, we will learn in collaborative teams where PROBLEM SOLVING while WORKING WITH OTHERS will be the greatest acquired skill.

  13. Jeff Stickler says:

    After I watched this video I thought about what pieces of technology in my backpack. Here’s what I had brought to one, two and a half hour night class: a laptop computer, a cell phone, a digital voice recorder, a PDA, and a few 1 GB flash drives! Technology is everywhere! I’m currently in a Master’s Degree program at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana trying to earn a teaching license. I think about how often pieces of technology are overused. In all of my classes the norm for student (and some professor) presentations is to create an over – crowded PowerPoint presentation AND THEN READ STRAIGHT FROM IT! I want to shout, “I can read! My elementary teachers used to read to me – I’m a Grad student now!” The problem has become one of having access to too much information via technology. When a student does a search for information for a paper, they get back (usually) about 200,000 hits. How is that helpful? FaceBook and MySpace are suffocating higher education. Students sit in their rows and the screens flash back and forth while they IM several people, surf the Net, and none of it has to do with class. Those visual distraction claim the attention of students behind them. Ethics, in my opinion, dictates that if we’re going to create a “monster,” we have the responsibility to “tame” it. People seek instant gratification through the Internet where they are anonymous. When will it end? If you haven’t considered this yet, think about Mortimer Adler’s idea of “synotopical reading.” In his book (titled “How to Read a Book” ironically enough), he posits that the skills of a truly skilled reader are based on a person’s ability to read multiple books on a subject, synthesize them, and then develop your own hypothesis and/ or ideas. Students today won’t engage in this if they don’t read anything but Net sources! They just aren’t as accurate because anyone can literally put out anything as “information” and it’s not based on research or facts at all.
    That’s all for today, class. Keep up the interesting work!

  14. Tony Hirst says:

    “Part 3 is planned to be an exploration of different teaching technologies and the ways in which they shape the learning environment for better and for worse.”

    You might be interested in the way a skunkworks team I’m part of at The Open University are looking at building on Facebook to develop peer support relationships around courses as identified by course codes.

    The OU is a distance learning organisation with students across the UK and Europe. Students take courses over a 3-6 month period, typically getting their degree over 6 or more years. The course therefore thens to offer the primary context for a student’s engagement with a university – which is why we built a Facebook app to allow students to explore networks based around course codes.


  15. Scott Glass says:


    I am a total technophile… I live, eat, breathe TECHNOLOGY… not for the Technology part, but for the INFORMATION dissemination that is brought to life through technology. My company teaches that the future will not BRING this technology; but when speaking of technology, most of you (my clients) have missed the future… it already happened, . This created a niche in providing SERVICES around technology.
    I am noticing a social trend developing where entire generations are getting left behind and doing their best to catch up (rather unsuccessfully). An example of this would be a call from a client just today: “Hi Scott, I purchased about $3000.00 worth of computer stuff two weeks ago and it’s still sitting on my floor, unopened. How much do you charge to set this all up for me and teach me how to use it?” Albeit grand to receive such a potential job offer for my company to make gobs of money from someone who jumped the gun, I found myself in a moral and ethical struggle to provide such a service for anything but FREE on my off hours. Unfortunately, this dilemma my client found herself… is EVERYWHERE!
    But my reason for posting was not to speak of this incident, but to point out that Pennsylvania has an interesting classroom approach that is producing SMARTER results than the current education system. It is called pacyber (Google it) and although I was skeptical of its approach, it seems to be working… and falls in line with your story line.
    Additionally, how can I help you and your team? Feel free to email me… anyone for that matter. Just like all technophiles, this is just one of my many emails/blogs/pods/etc. So feel free to spam me, because I live in this world more than my corporeal.

  16. 710 Jac says:

    Re: #15, Jeff Stickler

    What he said! The example of the professor reading straight from a Power Point is very familiar; I’ve had many classes like that. In those instances I think the issue is not so much a failure to keep up with technology but a case of lazy or inept teaching. No fancy theoretic model or cool technology is going to fix intellectual laziness. I think the same can be said for students. While my classmates are logging in time on FaceBook during the class lecture, I am listening and asking questions. I love a professor who is engaging and fun but I do not expect all of my professors to be that way. I can see that for some of my professors (brilliant, innovative thinkers) lecturing is pure torture, it either does not suit their personality (shy, for example) or they have no idea how to do it. Does this mean these professors should not be listened too? I do not expect to be entertained; I do expect to learn something. As a student I have responsibilities to uphold in a learning dynamic. Just as a teacher has a responsibility to apply themselves with academic rigor so too does the student.

    “…the skills of a truly skilled reader are based on a person’s ability to read multiple books on a subject, synthesize them, and then develop your own hypothesis and/ or ideas. Students today won’t engage in this if they don’t read anything but Net sources! ” Here Mr. Stickler, you (through Adler) have eloquently described what in my mind is the real problem with an over reliance on information technologies by both teachers and students; access to tons of information with little or no evaluative skills.

    I have admonished my son to never use Wikipedia as a source for school papers despite his teachers telling the class it was a “pretty reliable source”. I know many people who consider Wikipedia a reliable source of information because “anyone can change what is in there, you know, it’s more democratic.” If I want the opinions of a bunch of unqualified strangers who talk over each other and change their minds a lot (sometimes hourly!) I’ll just head to the nearest bar thanks! Having access to information is nice but it is meaningless if there is no context for the information, no ability to verify the information, and no evaluative/synthesizing tool (like a brain) to turn the information into something useful. Raw information is like a garden bed; it is just a bunch of dirt until someone who knows how to garden comes along.

  17. Marcela says:

    Regarding the (ab)use of PowerPoint–check out Edward Tufte’s book,
    -Beautiful Evidence- (2006). (Yes! a printed book!–I have included several quotes here to encourage you to look at the is beautifully done.) There is an excellent chapter entitled “The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within” that details how PowerPoint has been used ineffectively in addition to suggesting other effective methods for presenting information.

    A quote from the text: “PowerPoint’s convenience for some presenters is costly to the content and the audience” (Tufte 158). Tufte writes about how PowerPoint is hierarchical in its structure and does not allow for interactive learning (especially when all people do is read their PPT presentation).

    Tufte explains that good teaching is quite different than what is involved in PPT presentations: “The core ideas of teaching–explanation, reasoning, finding things out, questioning, content, evidence, credible authority not patronizing authoritarianism–are contrary to the cognitive style of PowerPoint. And the ethical values of teachers differ from those engaged in marketing” (Tufte 161).

    Tufte makes another great point: PPT presentations often dumb down information: “People see, read, and think all the time at intensities vastly greater than those presented in printed PP slides. Instead of showing a long sequence of tiny information-fragments on slides, and instead of dumping those slides onto paper, report makers should have the courtesy to write a real report (which might also be handed out at a meeting) and address their readers as serious people. PP templates are a lazy and ridiculous way to format printed reports” (Tufte 180).

    A final quote: “PowerPoint allows speakers to pretend that they are giving a real talk, and audiences to pretend that they are listening. The prankish conspiracy against evidence and thought should provoke the question, Why are we having this meeting?” (Tufte 185).

    So..think twice about using PPT presentations in classes…if you use them, consider doing actual dense text handouts (Word documents) to accompany them or replace them entirely.

  18. I agree that teachers need to change the way they are teaching. As a former technology director, I focused on changing the processes in the classroom in order to engage students in real world learning and application. One very important point though I’d like to make . . the process (system) needs some major refining though. I worked with teachers for over 3 years to help them refine/change their teaching strategies. They became razzled and very frustrated trying to operate in such a ‘NCLB’-driven model that promotes testing, accountability and a focus on those that are in the bottom quartile. A majority of funding and time is spent here and innovation is stifled. Teachers are inundated with paperwork, preparing students for ‘tests’ and getting everyone to a minimum performance standard.

    Funding models, budgeting, leadership strategies(district and school-based) must be changed as well before we will see 21st century teaching and learning processes becoming more mainstream. My question is are educational leaders ready to TRANSform education or just REform it? Great video and blog!

  19. Tora Johnson says:

    First let me say that this is one of the most useful and incisive commentaries on higher education I’ve seen.

    In answer to the question “what are we doing…?” My short answer is that I trust my students, not only with knowledge but also in applying that knowledge to solving real world, messy, and even ambiguous problems. I teach my students to use heuristic approaches to problem solving and I back off on needless content, recognizing that brains are best used to DO things, find and organize information, solve problems, collaborate on solutions, etc.. The brain’s ability to store information is limited–that’s why we have the Internet and libraries in all their various forms, to store and distribute knowledge and collaborate on creating knowledge and culture. Remember that all the great thinkers of any field of thought– Einstein, Darwin, Buckminster Fuller, DaVinci, etc.–aren’t acclaimed for what they KNEW, they are acclaimed for what they figured out. So I see my job as creating “figure-outers.”

    This is my approach with undergraduates, including freshmen–my institution is strictly undergrad. And I’m lucky because my administration sees the value in such an approach, and they encourage my colleagues and me to engage in this kind of service learning. As a result, I rarely see that kind of checked-out disconnect among my students.

  20. Corey Stevens says:

    This video was great. It touched on so many different points about how our schools are failing us. I’m doing my student teaching right now and am going to be a High School Spanish teacher, so there is a lot to think about.

    I am graduating in December and can easily say that only about 20% of my classes were relevant and only about 30% of the classes were interesting. Now, I agree that with the idea of getting a ‘general education.’ You might be a getting a degree in business, but the class in anthropology will round out your knowledge and make you ‘educated.’ I believe that everybody in our society should be able to do complex math, even if it doesn’t apply to their jobs.

    So, the question, in my mind, is how do we teach this stuff and make it relevant? Currently, our Universities don’t know how to do this, and neither do I.

    Now, I went through a year and a half of classes designed to teach me how to teach. One of the biggest piles of crap they threw on us was the reliance on ‘technology.’ For them, technology is the magic bullet that will solve all of our problems. To them, technology was computers and overhead projectors. Technology should be a tool, but it is no magic bullet and will not solve any problems.

    In my classroom, I rarely use electronics or computers. I teach Spanish and the best way to learn a foreign language is to speak it. I don’t need a computer to speak language, all I need is a partner. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple.

    There is a culture and a system of rules inside of the school system, both in High School and in Universities. Sometimes, the best way to teach doesn’t always fit into the meta environment, so teachers have to come up with ways to teach that are inferior, but fit. For example, in High School, sitting around and practicing a language for an hour and a half doesn’t work. I tried it, it was a disaster. They will have to do bookwork and they will not learn the language as well as they could have.

    So, how do we teach important information in a relevant way while still bowing to outside influences? I like your video because to me it raises that question.


  21. Corey Stevens says:

    …and yes, Power Point is abused. Too many of my professors relied solely on power point presentations to teach and it was a waste of time. I could have been interacting with knowledge rather than watching a slideshow.

    It is a tool, not a magic bullet.

  22. Paulo Junqueira says:

    Hey.I watched the video….most of the information on it is also true in my country.During my Archtecture classes, one of the teachers made me the question: “Is our teaching environment the best one? Can it be changed? How?” This took me to search, not only better ways through Archtecture, thinking about the problems the space itself has on the impulse for learning, but also, about the impact technologies, and even, a change of mentality can bring to this improvement. How to take the teacher out of his holly place, and put him on Earth, and make him think about his real duty that is preparing us to the world? When exactly the University stopped being a place for a universal learning, for the formation of a human being, and became graduation plataforms to the market ? Maybe, the problems with the education system, is that we no longer educate, we first prepare the students to get into college, and then, we prepare the students to get into the market, to fullfill the companies, the work market.Bob Marley, in Redemption Song said: …”while we stand aside and look, they say it´s just a part of it, we´ve got to fullfill de book”.Books that we never read, that won´t make a difference, that are not what we really need. So, I believe the real question is not how we´ll teach, but, how we´ll make learning a human experience and not a company expectation of professional to their boards, so there con still be profits, so dow jones we´ll go up 1.2%, so my stocks will go well, so ther can be fusions and aquisitions. When are we going to learn being humans, before we can choose the work environment? Do we have the pwer to make this change? Do people realize this system manipulation on a human need? Does the system realize this is no longer working? As we saw, information is no longer scarce, people spend more time on cel phones then learning.And, here, in Brazil, just 10% of the population get to the University, and of that, I can only gess it´s less than the amount of students shown on that video who have the opportunity of questioning their education…..They are really the lucky ones, so, why ask for more? The commom sense say, in a land of blinds, who has an eye, is king…..Well, I live in a land of one eye kings…..

    PS – Sorry my writting mystakes. English is not my primary leanguage.

  23. Bill Claxton says:

    I was inspired by this video, and wrote about it in my learning communications blog ( I recommend folks check out Howard Rheingold’s use of the back channel to engage the multitasking student.

  24. Dr. George I. Martin says:

    As a former education professor who is now in the very real world of an urban high school in New Jersey as an English supervisor, I was intrigued by the video. We need to reach students with relevant information through pedagogy that addresses their concerns and needs–perhaps even their perceived needs–so that they do not turn off to school. Drop-out rates are still too high, as are negative retention rates for many colleges. Although I am reluctant to give up the “classical canon” of literature as curriculum, I am becoming increasing aware that it is the thinking process, rather than the accumulation of knowledge, that will enable students to succeed. I will forward a link to the video to my fellow administrators and teachers.

  25. John says:

    The thesis of the video is faulty. Just because people use a certain media doesn’t make them special learners. By the videos logic we should have taught people in the 60s on drugs because they used drugs.

  26. I see the concern this youTube video wishes to discuss.
    I prefer to gain knowlege though elearning on computers.
    It’s self paced and purdinent to what i want to know.

    There are tools for community projects that can be hosted easily like the ones found on my hosting provider godaddy (no this is not a plug).

    The idea is that students could learn using materials found in elearning environments. Instead of investing in textbooks they could download them, instead of classes there would be virtual seminars. Students could post questions to their teachers online during scheduled meetup dates.

    I do this already.

    I decided to skip college and learn something I am intrested in.
    Like video game design.

    Degrees are offereable if the students can prove they learn the material.

  27. Justin Diehr says:

    I like the look of the video. It is a suction or vortex into three things that we are unable to overcome in this world.

    1. We are privilged. We expect these things. Simlpicity and order are a cry of the far leaning of both the technophiles and the stoic traditionalists. *it was simple when I went to school. we learned or we failed. ect… We expect these things to exist, power to be on water to flow and my modem to work. We have more, use more, and expect more to come because the jones’ have the newest car, ect.

    This is not how the world works for betterment but it just is. There is no understanding the psycosocial and socioeconomic injustices that occur in the world as well as here in the US. It matters that if we are priviliged we should know that. We should act upon it, using our minds and resources to futher help ourselves and the entire world. However, the nature of man is to expect to be given what his desire is without action, work, or labor. To this I hope we will not fall as ROME.

    2. No matter how thoughtful and well reasoned we are there are very few that are truly smart. Most of the people that attend college do so to either get mom and dad off their backs, an expectation that they will maintain the middleclass. They attend for career aplication training, nurses, paramedics, teachers, ect… We no longer attend Universitys for the true discusion of our world and how to better it. A miniscule ammount of all students strive for this the rest take up space or at least reserve it with tutuion.

    The realisation of this does send most administrators into a tizzy. We can strive to better our selves. However, leading a horse to the book store wont make it think. Our duty while difficult and absurd at times is to accept that I have to better myself. If the data structure is too formal or the concpts to advanced or divergent from my own experiences then speek up, write a note, research the meanings of my discontent. The professors do that profess the truth of the subject that they are informing us about. Absorb it, take it in, (oh and read that dam book the lecture is sometimes enough to pass but why waist the opportunity)

    3. I am. We are absorbed in us. I would not be able to look at myself the same if I didn’t have a medicine. a lotion, cream, or nurosis. It is very difficult to see beyond any thing than the interactions we have in the world. The permissiveness of socity is about the gratification of me, not how can we do better today for all others. I can’t learn in a room of 300. I can be given facts and figures. If I cant interact and undresand relevence and usefulness to me, how could I learn to apply it to the world.

    Untill the 1940′s we lived within a 100 miles for generations. This world has changed with travel an commutes of a 100 miles, daily. Yet most interact personally ( know names and identitys of people.) with probably fewer than 50 years ago. We have little if any true connection to religion. Which made up a community. You were held to account for actions against the community and your self. 89 percent of Americians are “Christians” yet less than 30 percent attend church. Seems that there could be less accounting for the life you lead.

    Facts and figures dont help us communicate. Video dosent either speecom and masscom would think otherwise but if I dont know and cant trust the person disimminating the information how could I and would I be able to accept it as nothing more than information. If I internalize it and feel the passion for it and understand that it took us 1300 years of bettering, understanding, disimminate and connecting similar events together for me to get this nuggett of truth and a law of the universe how or why would I care to acctualy learn it.

    Oh and by the way it all is a test and you paid so much money and a truly huge investment of time (the most expensive commidity in the world) it all is a test you moron. An A or B or graduation, is not the goal. Living your life the best way possiable is, and you chose to be there so take a deep breath and say, “woosaaah,” now internalize that so when you are frustrated, hate your wife, feel unappriciated, and are 856,000 dollars in debt you can remember that nuggett that will make the connection in your brain and allow you to succeed. You may lose your job, wife, house, or credit worthyness. However, you will have fufilled the greatest thing a human can, contrubuite to the world and make us all a little brighter, wiser, smarter, filled with wonder, more litterate, innovative or what ever that nugget does for us thankyou. I know it all does work and has so for hundreds of years because I dont speek Latin, we arn’t living in the darkages and we have a hope that humanity can reconstitue itself from time to time.

  28. Lauren says:

    I would ask this group to discuss,

    “Only 26% …[of classes are] relative to my life”.

    And, I’d be very interested to watch, hear or read this discussion.

    Thanks for cracking this open so successfully!

  29. Tony Jakubisin says:

    To Lauren:

    I think that this statement is a wonderful thing to unpack.

    First off, it seems that there is the assumption that relevance is necessary to validate learning. Although I agree that relevance is important, I wouldn’t say that it is the exclusive concern. For instance, how many people learn about calculus or art history and never directly “use” that knowledge? Sometimes, though, the logical process used to solve a problem through mathematics or by learning how to dissect a piece of art can be useful simply in the way it helps people to conceptualize the world. So, while it may not immediately be relevant to one’s life, it does add new “tools” to one’s mental toolbox.

  30. Tyler says:

    First we cannot assume technology is essential to education. Second, technology is concerned with set processes and techniques to accomplish goals. If the goal is education, then you need to employ technology that supports learning. In the classroom setting I use sound, visualization, and emotional stimulation techniques (all a form of technology if applied correctly) to help students learn and solidify what they have learned. I prefer to be in tune with the human environment (our senses) and let technology fit in where applicable, rather then feeling the pressure to tune in to the technological environment. As for relevant classes, It would be interesting to know which classes students consider relevant. Sure all classes have the potential for providing you with new tools, but most classes are concerned with stuffing you full of knowledge without teaching intelligence. I taught classes in critical thinking and most students could not see how this was relevant to their life- even though I should them how critical thinking applied to every aspect of their life. Most students simply wanted to memorize and regurgitate, just like they do in all their other classes.

  31. Tony Jakubisin says:

    To 32:

    As a practicioner in higher education, I see at least three schools of thought regarding “relevance” and/in classes: 1) Classes with the purpose of accredidation/licensing/certification; 2) Classes with the purpose of promoting critical thinking; and, 3) Classes using a combination of 1 and 2. Very generally, and I say this with some hesitation because I do not want for it to be seen as disparaging, I think that #1 fits students seeking a 2-year degree or continuing education credit. I see #2 as a goal of a traditional liberal arts education students seeking such knowledge. #3 seems to fit much of what the the modern research university and its students represent.

    Another way to look at “relevance” is using a developmental approach. Many times, 18-22 year old students use a dualistic cognitive lens that lends itself to practical knowledge and less so to the more complex systems of cognition.

    I’m not sure that either of the viewpoints above have anything to do with “intelligence” per se, as much as they do with individualized goals of education, resources available to a student, socialization, and the developmental stage of an individual. A student’s preference for memorization and regurgitation seem to be tied more to her/his goal of a “good grade” than anything else—because the education system has constructed the grade system and our testing systems as a measure of knowledge retention (and to some degree, the measure of a student’s intellectual or personal worth).

  32. Dr. Mihaela Vorvoreanu says:

    The question I see in all this, is: How do we best teach digital natives? Whether we teach with or without technology, we have to understand them, their lives, and the challenges they’ll be facing. This is the message I got from your “A Vision of Students Today” video. I see it as an open question, and I understand you’re looking for some help with answers, for Part 3. Here are some thoughts:

    - digital natives are not as knowledgeable and comfortable with technology as we assume them to be. They need help learning the basics, learning how to keep up with new technologies. They need help learning how to learn. All of them use iTunes, many of them don’t understand it (i.e. don’t understand that the Library displays content on the local machine, and the Store displays content online. They are confused navigating iTunes b/c they don’t understand the basic local machine/server formula). They have no idea what the Internet is and how it works. When they understand, a light bulb comes on and things are easier to do. For educators, it’s important to teach them these fundamentals. My observation is that their knowledge of technology is less than that of a power user.

    - digital natives are not as good at multitasking as we assume them to be. They do it, but they’re not in control of it. They need help learning how to manage their attention and how to consciously shift it back and forth among tasks. I have found that mindfulness (used in cognitive therapy, imported from Buddhist meditation) helps them become aware of where their attention is and how to shift it back and forth.

    - my digital natives at Clemson U. are sometimes sick and tired and resisting technology. They crave human connections. They hate Second Life. However, I fight/lure them into it. See next point for reason why:

    - it’s important for educators to adapt to digital natives’ technology lifestyles, and/or to teach them to use technology b/c they’ll have to in the future. Twitter is big in PR right now, I had to teach my students about it. Some like it, others don’t. Nevertheless, they need to know what it is and how/when it’s appropriate to use it.

    - it’s important for educators to be aware that the institutionalization of cool social media will likely reduce the cool/excitement factor. If an educator gets on Facebook, does the educator become cool or does Facebook become uncool?

    - I am worried sick that many educators are not aware of social media and their uses, nor do they seem particularly motivated to learn. I am worried sick that those educators are teaching in the 19th century and not preparing students for the 21st. I believe in reaching out, being an evangelist among my colleagues. Problem is, those of us who want to be new technologies evangelist are so much younger than the colleagues we wish to teach – and it becomes political.

    - that being said, yes, I try to teach with and about social media. Not because it’s cool, but because it prepares students for life after college more so than an APA-style research paper (no worries, we do a lot of that, too in my department!)

    Thank you for your work and videos. They’re getting people thinking and talking, and making a difference.

  33. laura says:

    Watching the video, i would not assume that you were either luddite or technophile. that only occurs when you think in absolutist terms, and then, that is not your presentation of the material, but the inevitable interpretation of the person that sees the message. i thought this was a great video representing the changes that have taken place in the classroom and how a lot of students, myself being one of them (though recently graduated) feel disconnected for the simple reason that institutionalized education is (for the most part) archaic and sometimes rejects the “new”, simple b/c it doesn’t fit the model of the institution as they see it. that will have to change soon. great video.

  34. Dave Berque says:

    A Vision for Tomorrow: There Must be a Better Way

    Tablet PCs (pen-based laptops) when augmented with appropriate interaction software are already providing “A Vision for Tomorrow” for tens of thousands of students across the country in grade levels ranging from K12 to college.

    For a light-hearted video that illustrates some aspects of the approach check out the following video link (or search for “DyKnow” on YouTube:

    To understand the approach in more detail consider what is happening at my own institution, DePauw University, where instructors are rejecting “presentation systems” such as Power Point in favor of DyKnow software, a more pedagogically sound “interaction system” that supports typed and pen-based collaborative note-taking, interactive in-class activities, after class note replay and review and (optionally) computer monitoring.

    When using DyKnow tools all teacher material (including prepared notes and typed or hand-written extemporaneous annotations) are transmitted in real time to student computers during class. Freed from the burden of furiously copying notes during class, students instead spend time integrating the material, adding their own typed or free-hand private annotations to the teacher’s content, and typing or sketching solutions to problems posed by the instructor. The instructor can then project some or all of these solutions to the front of the classroom for entire class to see and discuss. Various other types of interactions (ranging from simple polls to complex support for groups) are also supported.

    After class each student can electronically retrieve his or her personalized copy of the class notes for review and study. Students can even retrieve notes from previous semesters and can replay individual notebook pages ‘stroke by stroke’ to review how diagrams evolved during class.

    By all accounts the approach is having a huge impact. The number of instructors using the system is growing steadily, and the University has received a “Technology for Teaching” grant from Hewlett-Packard to further refine and evaluate the approach. The grant has provided Tablet PCs (pen-based laptops) that allow students to more easily write free hand directly on the computer screen. In classes such as Economics that rely heavily on graphs and diagrams, the Tablet PCs and other pen-based input devices are used heavily while solving problems during class. In a recent survey of 81 students who had collectively taken more than 400 courses using the system, 95% of the students indicated that the system is of value for “Enhancing their understanding of material and concepts as they are presented in class”, while 100% indicated the system is of value for “Providing them with an accurate set of notes” and 92% said the system is of value for “Doing in class exercises to practice with content.”

    The positive survey results are not surprising when one compares DyKnow’s design as an interaction system to the more typical design of a presentation system such as Power Point. The name “Power Point” is telling. This software was originally designed as a tool for speakers who want to make their points in a powerful way. While this may be great for corporate executives, any teacher (or parent) can tell you that presenting a rapid-fire series of powerful points to students is more likely to result in a whole lot of boredom than in a whole lot of learning. A more modern approach to teaching recognizes the value of engaging students in the learning process. Sure, there are times when teachers have to present information to students; however, an effective learning environment needs to punctuate these presentations with frequent opportunities for the students to practice applying the material. Interaction systems make it easy for teachers to provide these opportunities through sharing of student work, multiple choice polls, and other mechanisms.

    Note: DyKnow software extends and enhances one of my earlier research projects. Since I continue to work with the company I have some bias… read at your own risk!

    Dave Berque
    DePauw University Computer Science Department

  35. Christian Kauphusman says:

    This might not be what you are looking for, but I felt like I needed to comment.

    I appreciate the thoughtfulness put into all the projects that you have done and are doing, and it made me think of a class I had taken. It was called Politics and Violence. The class basically asked two questions: What is Politics? and Is Violence inherent in it?

    The reason I bring up this class is the profound impact it had on the way I now view things, and that it was done with very little “technology”. This is a class that made you think hard about the questions brought up by the professor. He had us do things very traditionally (read books, write journal entries and essays, and discuss). Then, we would take weekly quizzes but no real tests because his focus was on the questions being asked and the answers we came up with; not the answers in the book or the ones he decided were right and wrong. The questions developed answers through the student body instead of being something that was “force fed”.

    This professor created an environment to make the students think without fear of judgement. I understand this can’t be done in all classes, but I also feel it is imperative to a student’s experience in college to be exposed to this type of learning.

    If you could respond on this comment I would appreciate hearing your thoughts. Thank you.

  36. Peter Lapp says:

    I’ve been assigned by one of my professors to write a paper on this piece. I think that I will write on how flawed I think it is. The big issue is that there in an inherent bias due to the nature of the “survey.” By conducting it online, you generate a bias in the type of individuals likely to respond. These statistics on how many web pages students read, how much they e-mail, how often they talk on a cell phone, how much they listen to music, and the amount of time they time spend online- all of these numbers are skewed because your poll leans toward the technologically savvy and technologically motivated. Additionally, I’m willing to bet that if you conducted the “survey” in some other fasion- like over the phone or by mail- you would get different results on how much of the reading students complete, how relevent they consider their classes, and how many books they read. This “survey” is bogus in the classical definition.

  37. Prof Wesch says:

    Yes, Peter. You have a valid point. 133 of the 200 students filled out the survey online. Keep in mind that 100% of students in the class have access to the internet and access the internet at least once per week (and usually much more often than that) to complete their assignments, so the particular bias you note may not be as extreme as you suggest. Also, there could be other types of selection bias involved that may work counter to your suggestion. For example, some of the students who did not fill out the survey may not be the book-savvy offline students you seem to imagine, but are instead students who have completely lost interest in education altogether. Others may have been too busy to do the survey. There are many other factors to consider.

  38. Swarn Gill says:

    I really liked the video a lot and I would say that I payed more attention to what the students are saying, but when I went to this website I saw that the focus was more on technology in the classroom and so when I watched the video again it became even more thought provoking.

    Perhaps I differ from some of the comments I read on here, because I teach meteorology which is applied math and physics. Letting my mind wander about all the cool ways that I could address issues in the classroom would be great if I was teaching Criminal Justice, Philosophy, Political Science, etc. Certainly the field of Atmospheric Science has many controversial issues and I try to bring them up in my Intro classes, but what I find ultimately is that people are simply not informed on the subject. For me, there is a definite right and wrong initially. Students have to gain a lot of knowledge about the atmosphere before they can start to philosophize about it. It is applied math and physics. Now obviously I can still ask myself what is the best way to teach this information? Certainly I use a mixture of using the board for deriving equations and drawing diagrams, and sometimes use power point for more basic concepts, but even then I will often switch back and forth. Ultimately before I can ask the big question about whether or not Global Warming is real or not, they have to have gone through a good chunk of time understanding how the atmosphere works. There are certainly other meteorological issues, but all of them have the same pre-requisite of the understanding of concepts that have definitive right answers.

    I read a student comment about how it is silly to make them memorize things when answers can be looked up so easily nowadays on the internet and I think that would be great if students actually did that, but they don’t. They do if it is simply task oriented like: Assignment A asks this question…type it in google and there is the answer. But I have many students who use the internet frequently for myspace or facebook and when studying (which is a much more ambiguous process of trying to learn a bunch of information, knowing that only some of it will be on the test) will e-mail me and say, “this concept you talked about in class, I can’t find anywhere in the text. What does it mean?” They could have easily looked it up on the internet but they don’t. If they were technophobes, they could have also gone to the library, but they don’t. So this vast source of information at their fingertips goes unused. More likely they are saying…well can’t find it in the book…I am jsut going to e-mail the professor and myspace until he gets back to me. At least that’s the way it seems. Technology has given student more outlets to distract themselves with and also in someways made them lazier because they can now e-mail the professor at a whim and expect a reply. 20 years ago, you would be stuck if you couldn’t find the answer and you would have to find a friend in the class who knew the answer, or actually go to the library. I just find it interesting with all this information available to them, they are still not using it. Maybe they fear that if it is not in the textbook and it is just out there…it might be wrong. Perhaps they need lessons in what are accurate website and what are not.

    I also was struck by the comment in the video by one of the students about a certain percentage of the information they learn is not relevant to their lives. I can think of tons of things that I learned in school that I didn’t know the immediate importance or application, which sometimes years later I was glad I knew. Everything from being able to impress a girl at a bar because she was a linguistics major and I had taken a linguistics class, or because it had real applicability to my job or field. I think that technology nowadays has created a feeling that things should happen more immediately. E-mails should be answered by professor promptly at any time of day, things should be graded immediately and so on. Heck you don’t even have to go to the corner store anymore to get pornography! In some cases the information you learn in your first year may not seem relevant at all, until you get into your 4th year. Explaining the relevancy of the information in that first year may not even that helpful because it is just a piece of a base of pyramid you need to build with them to get to higher level concepts.

    Ultimately know matter how much the teacher does to try and teach you material, learning is an individual responsibility. You can’t make someone learn with or without technology. There is value in all you learn even if you never use the information ever again. The process of striving towards excellence in a class builds work ethic and time management skills which are probably the most important skills you need to be successful in any career. The signature I have on my e-mail is a quote from Gandhi which says, “Almost everything you do in life is of no importance, but it is important that you do it”. I am not positive what he meant exactly at the time he said it, but I have always read it as their being as much importance in doing a task, and doing it well, as the importance of the task itself. You gotta course you don’t like? Well the character you build by going into and doing well even if you are really unsure about whether it is going to be of any value at all is just as important as the material in the course that is being taught to you. There is value in being able to memorize things. I can do a problem twice as fast because I remember certain atmospheric variables. I don’t need to look them up, even if it is very easy to do today. I save time. Which as the video points out is a problem.

    I apologize for going out on a tangent a bit, but I thought it was a really good video and made me think about how my students are using technology today.

  39. Sandra says:

    As the world becomes ever more complex and fast-changing, the role of higher education as a guardian or transmitter of culture and citizenship needs to be protected.
    – UK Government’s Dearing report, 1997

    It these walls could talk …

    What would they say?

    If lecturers are rewarded more for their research than their teaching

    Why do they lecture at all?

    The information is up here.

    Follow along.


    Of course, bookshelves cannot talk.

    But lecturers can.

    What is it like being a lecturer today?

    66% of my students

    Bother to come to the lectures

    I spend all Sunday carefully preparing.

    I spent five days researching and preparing.

    A carefully considered reading list

    Of which my students read

    20% of the items.

    I spent the summer

    Creating an online learning environment

    Full of amazing study resources

    That only 30% of my students visit

    I will read 80 books this year

    Review three in my spare time


    I will read 200 academic journal articles

    Review four in my spare time


    I will read 2300 web pages

    And many of my students’ Facebook profiles

    Especially the ones with tasteless pictures

    Because word gets around.

    I will spend six weeks

    Finalising 2 research council funding applications

    That stand a 75% chance of being rejected

    Even if they are world class.

    My family’s future depends on

    The next Research Assessment Exercise.

    I will write 72 pages of text

    For each module I teach this semester

    And over 700 emails

    And attend 36 meetings

    And spend 30 hours on the phone

    And fill in 75 forms

    I get 6 1/2 hours of sleep each night

    I spend 1 ½ hours watching TV each night.

    I spend 6 hours a day online

    Twice a week

    I read my children their bedtime stories

    Over the phone

    I work 48 hours a week

    Sometimes including weekends

    I’m a multitasker.

    I have to be.

    I have a second job

    To help pay the bills

    Because UK lecturers earn 2/3

    Of what school teachers earn

    I spent 5 years writing my last book

    Which was well reviewed

    And got me interviewed on TV

    But I only made £50 in royalties

    So you have to ask

    Why I do this job?

    And my answer is

    Because I believe

    all that stands between civilization and barbarism

    is education.


  40. Prof Wesch says:

    Sandra, I love it! How true!

  41. Jen says:

    I graduated from K-State in 1998, Interdisciplinary Social Science. My real interest was Business/Acctg/Finance, but the Soc Sci degree was the only program offered, at the time, that I could complete while working full-time. That was only 9 years ago. Fortunately for other non-traditional students, things are much different now. When I started college, I used a typewriter for Comp I & II and I can remember K-State posting a bunch of posters in Seaton Hall (where I worked as a student) about a new “Information Highway” thing. I can remember thinking, “Great, some new gadget for techno-geeks.” Less than 15 years later, I cannot imagine my life without the Internet and most college kids coming into my office have never seen a typewriter . . . which makes me feel oh-so-young.

    I have been really impressed with your videos on YouTube. I like the discussions they have generated. In my opinion, higher education is going to have to change or it will not prosper during the information revolution. Why should a young adult pay 20 grand, or more, to gain knowledge that is readily available on Google? There are more and more successful, young entrepreneurs who have never gone to college. My question would be, “Are they successful because they have not gone to college?” or “Would they have been even more successful had they gone to college?” I do not know that I could say yes to the second question. In my view, higher ed wants to “box-in” students. However, some of the most successful and rewarding ideas come from people who HAVE NOT been boxed-in. I think colleges really need to get a grip on what drives new entrepreneurs. Don’t get me wrong, I believe there will always be fields where a college degree is mandatory to even get an interview. However, those fields are becoming the new middle-class. Young adults with the ability to be technologically creative will surpass the social/professional recognition that used to belong to doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants and such. If that actually happens, higher ed may be in some serious trouble.

    Thank you for your thought-provoking pieces. I think they are generating good questions that need to be addressed.

  42. Ed Jonas says:

    November 18, 2007

    Hello well I think the success and popularity of The Students vision piece is that they and you have tapped a somewhat new avenue of media and expression. The collaborative video.
    It seems part or a lot of the allure is somewhat of the unusual paradigm and effect that such creates. It is multifaceted and multi meaninged work and somewhat unprecedented but seems to work in terms of something?
    It is simply beyond the norm for perhaps synergistic reasons. It certainly has “had an effect” but whether it is effective is perhaps another question.
    There is a term in cineamatorgraphy that desires an effect of a film that goes beyond or even opposite of what was intended or such and I think that this is somewhat in that vein although considering the stir it seems to have aroused something constructive. Anyway a vision for the future thus should be done in a similar manner and as a collaborative vision and action.


  43. Denise W. KSU Alumni '02 says:

    My little brother sent me “Information R/evolution” some months ago and it blew me away. I just ran across “A Vision” without knowing they were related or that it was by the same group. As the scene opened, it was strangely familiar to me, and honestly, my heart beat a little faster. I watched, thinking that I had sat in their places thinking exactly the same things, when I saw a powercat on someone’s hat, a Wildcats sweatshirt, and realized I HAD in fact sat in those very seats not so long ago, doing the crossword in the Collegian, trying to care about class, just putting in my time. I am so proud of the work you are doing.

    I sat through 9 years total of (expensive) higher education, desk after desk, textbook after textbook, year after year, powerpoint after powerpoint. I’m now in my first year as an attorney, doing real work. It’s excellent and I’m learning more now than I have in years. I wonder what if I’d been allowed to “get my hands dirty” in my late teens how much I’d be ahead! And, as a young female attorney, better positioned to think about family issues as well, but that’s another casualty of our education system for another discussion board.

    In answer to the question about “great examples of changing up the classroom” I will say some of the most instructive exercises involve giving the students a real problem to work on, and then learning the information as it’s needed. For example, a legal clinic setting where your assignment is: make X happen for these clients we’re meeting, who by the way, might offer you a job. Suddenly, you need information. And, when you need information it’s much more exciting to get it, find it, talk to the professors who have it. Our system now is passive- Professor Tenure will tell you what information you need. It’s the wrong direction. My best learning experiences came when I was actively seeking answers to my questions. And, get this, I remember what I learned. Most of those experiences had nothing to do with class work. I don’t blame professors. I often felt guilty sitting in their yes, carefully prepared lectures, when I hadn’t read the assignment. It wasn’t them always, it was the framework. I wasn’t curious enough about their work because I wasn’t seeking it. I was told I had to seek it.

    I will say this. I think that the best thing for me would be to be taking classes at the same time I have my job. I’d kill to sit through some of my prior classes again now, with others working in a similar field, knowing already how I need to use the information, and being able to mine that information from the professors & students in Q&A. I’d love to be able to take a mini-course on line as needed to supplement what I need to know & interact with the leaders in that area. Currently, I joke that I attend Google U.

    Undergrad is bad but consider law school where students take a full year of contracts yet never even see, much less attempt to create, a contract! Then take one test over a year of material, and get a letter grade but no feedback! Virtually worthless. The system has to change. I support your efforts wholeheartedly.

  44. Mr.A. High School Teacher says:

    One of the greatest enjoyments of teaching is finding better ways to teach. I find the video a powerful tool of getting a message across and have started integrating digital technology in lessons. To learn at a gig, one must get the information at a gig. One of the first ways to learn, is to follow a model. So I began guiding several students to be apart of the digital media evolution and create a message back to KSU. Digital conversation with a college wasn’t a hard sell to get them involved and take ownership. “A vision of a High School Student” is their message being placed on youtube as a step forward in thier education. The end question “How do we become better prepaired?”

    One key element in your research is the fact that our youth lack good internet usage skills. What if they learn to use the time with technology in more productive ways? Maybe just using 10% of used time with technology on researching usable information or projecting life changing messages. Ultimately, bettering the future.

  45. Mr.A. High School Teacher says:

    Wrong Plug. Their message is being posted as “What It Is Like Being A High School Student Today” on youtube. New and improved version I am told.

  46. Hedda says:

    I was so struck by the honest and thought-provoking “A Vision of Students Today” video in a PD session that I took it back to my middle school students for discussion and as a vehicle for change in my own methods. I have also shared it with fellow staff in my building as a wake-up call and clear example of why traditional methods must change if we intend to revitalize a failing public institution of traditional education. Thank you for giving our youth a voice and our young teachers a beneficial tool for helping us reach our kids. Keep it coming!

  47. tao zhou says:

    Dear lady or gentleman:
    I want to tell you, me make money with every effort: I write the novel to make money, but was defeated. I send the email to seek help, but was defeated. I seek help to three Americans, was also defeated. (racial discrimination?)My mood is indescribable. I have thought of the suicide, because still living I also had the desire which a point seeks livehood.
    I am a very vanity person, but my family circumstances are not good. This is a snafu.

    $1000? Is perhaps unimportant to you, but I thought that this is the straw which I save a life. I want to change my life. I want to have self-confidently in the life. I want to go to the Beijing University, I also want to go to the US. But, I cannot prove that who I am. I cannot prove what I said is the fact. I can prove only then my sincere heart.
    If you can lend me $1000, please reply gives me. (I know me to be naive, but perhaps I do not have choice) you to dismiss with a smile, also asks you to understand despairs person’s mood. My account number: 8417760010200091050 (Bank of China). I will return it in 6 years.
    Your sincerely
    Feels inferior human

  48. light bulbs are good for lighting the home but stay away from incandescent lamps because they generate so much heat *;:

  49. Ricky says:

    Hey Admin!

    You have written a Awesome

  50. Adler says:

    Located you weblog by way of aol I must say I m fascinated with your discussions!

  1. October 20, 2007

    [...] Here’s the follow-up to the Kansas State University video that I posted earlier. [...]

  2. October 20, 2007

    [...] See his recent blog on current reactions to the video. Write a comment [...]

  3. November 1, 2007

    [...] Digital Ethnography wiki asks: What are we DOING to change how we are teaching? If you have any great examples of how you have changed up your classroom (or “classroom”) in ways that are more in tune with the information environment in which we all now exist, please comment. I am looking for examples that span all the possibilities [...]

  4. November 4, 2007

    [...] After watching this video, I would like to address some logical problems with a number of the opinions expressed by the students. I will mention first off, though, that I really like the way the creators/collaborators structured this short video. It is thought-provoking, and I really appreciate the conversation it is starting (or continuing) across the country, specifically regarding our educational system. I am grateful for anything that promotes healthy dialogue and discussion about all levels of education (public and private) within the United States. If anyone wants to read more about this video project and the professor who began it, you can find more info here. [...]

  5. November 5, 2007

    [...] Dr. Michael Wesch, instructor of the course, later added this post in response to the varied — and sometimes hostile — responses the video inspired. [...]

  6. November 27, 2007

    [...] The general conclusion that “education needs to change in broad terms” is relatively easy to grasp after watching this video, or many others similar to it. The most difficult question to answer, however, is “what do we do to change how we are teaching?” shared by Tim Bulkeley at SansBlogue and echoed by Michael Wesch. There are multiple answers to this question, but some of my main thoughts on this subject include the following: [...]

  7. January 4, 2008

    [...] • Michael Wesch responds to responses to his video “A Vision of Students Today.” [...]

  8. January 15, 2008

    [...] This comment, part of a discussion about higher education, is posted on Digital Ethnography. Digital Ethnography is a working group of Kansas State University students and faculty dedicated to exploring and extending the possibilities of digital ethnography. The context of Miss B’s remarks provide a fascinating glimpse into higher education from the viewpoint of students (A Vision of Students Today) and professors (Seeking help with “A Vision” for tomorrow). This is a must read for parents of college students or college-bound high school students and educators at all levels. [...]

  9. February 2, 2008

    Teen Girls Teen Mpeg Ass Teen…

    I can not agree with you in 100% regarding some thoughts, but you got good point of view…

  10. April 29, 2008

    Homemade Porn Clip…

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  11. June 17, 2014

    […] a better job editing the video and delivering my message. Perhaps it will all make more sense once Part 3 is complete and it is put together with Part 1 (Information R/evolution) as well. In the meantime, the […]