Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

It's a 'Pull, Pull' World: Michael Wesch, a Cultural Anthropologist and Researcher in the Modern Discipline of Digital Ethnography, Will Talk about the New Media Landscape during His Keynote Presentation at FETC 2012

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

It's a 'Pull, Pull' World: Michael Wesch, a Cultural Anthropologist and Researcher in the Modern Discipline of Digital Ethnography, Will Talk about the New Media Landscape during His Keynote Presentation at FETC 2012

Article excerpt

EDUCATORS PLAY a critical role in the development of the essential skills students need to navigate successfully the blizzard of unfiltered information available to them via the web. Michael Wesch, associate professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University, believes they should also be fostering something more basic: curiosity and imagination.

"The new media landscape is a 'pull' environment," Wesch says. "Nothing is pushed to you from the web, which makes it essential that we inspire students to seek out the knowledge that's out there. The content isn't fundamentally different, but the environment just demands more curiosity and imagination."

Wesch, a cultural anthropologist and researcher in the modern discipline of digital ethnography, will expand on this idea during his Wednesday keynote presentation at FETC 2012, the annual education technology conference.

Wesch is a well-known thought leader who burst into the public consciousness in 2007 when a video he created to launch Kansas State's Digital Ethnography Working Group became a YouTube sensation. "The Machine Is Us/ing Us" was released to the video publishing site on Jan. 31 of that year. Within a month, the little video created in Wesch's basement in St. George, KS, had been seen by more than 1.7 million people, translated into five languages, and shown to large audiences at major conferences on six continents. To date, the video has been viewed nearly 12 million times and translated into more than 10 languages.

Wesch is best known as a researcher, but he's also an active developer of innovative teaching techniques, including the World Simulation project, which is the centerpiece of Kansas State's Introduction to Cultural Anthropology course. Wesch describes the project on his Mediated Cultures website as "a radical experiment in learning, created in a fit of frustration with the large lecture hall format which seems inevitable in a classroom of 200 to 400 students."

Before turning his attention to the effects of social media and digital technology on global society, Wesch spent two years studying the implications of writing on a remote indigenous culture in the rain forest of Papua New Guinea. Wesch found himself for the first time in a society that was not mediated. …

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