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Higher Education and the New Media Reality

By John K. Waters

As a cultural anthropologist and researcher in the modern discipline of digital ethnography, Michael Wesch likes to ask the big, complex questions: How do we find meaning and significance in the digital age? How is technology affecting society and culture? How are social media changing teaching and learning practices? But as a teacher, an associate professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University, he likes to ask his students one small, simple question at the start of each year.

“I ask, How many of you do not actually like school?” he said. “Almost invariably almost half raise their hands. Then I vary the question slightly. I ask, How many of you do not like learning? And I get no hands. These are people who like learning, but they don’t like it to be institutionally created for them. Clearly something’s wrong here.”

Continued at: http://campustechnology.com/articles/2011/07/28/higher-education-and-the-new-media-reality.aspx

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  1. Robert Bing
    July 29, 2011 at 5:16 am

    A recent article in the McKinsey Quarterly entitled “How new Internet standards will finally deliver a mobile revolution” by Korkmaz, Lee, and Park suggests major changes in how people communicate and receive information due to emerging HTML5 Web standards. Similarly, Waters implies that traditional classrooms are out-of-date due to emerging technologies. There is little doubt that technology changes the way we interact, communicate, and, ultimately, perceive the world around us. In citing Wesch, he cautions that while this new technology has great potential for learning and interaction, it can also serve to further isolate people from one another as they may become more selective in what they choose to read. One of the values of education is to expose people to ideas and ways of viewing the world that pushes, or even exceeds, the boundaries of their comfort zones. In our enthusiasm to embrace technology, we need to guard against the tendency for gaining greater control and in doing so isolate ourselves from disquieting ideas.

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