Monday, June 27, 2011

"Visions of Students Today" - Whose Education is it anyway?

If a picture is worth a thousand words much is a video worth? These ones are priceless – for educators of post-compulsory students. To call the two videos featured in this post “thought provoking” is an understatement.
Both videos are created by Michael Wesch – with a lot of help from students at Kansas State University. The first, “A vision of students today”,is widely known and has been circulating around the internet since October of 2007 while the sequel, “Visions of Students Today”, was released in June, 2011. Both give a sense of what it is like to be a university level student today. I won’t elaborate specifically on the content of the videos – except to suggest that they should be compulsory viewing for all teachers, lecturers and professors.
Expressing concern about the “irrelevance” of education is nothing new. It was already an established theme back when I was a student – not long after the ark found dry land. However, even if we put aside the issue of the appropriateness or otherwise of the curriculum itself and just contemplate the educational experience itself, educators should be asking some serious questions. We know what modern life is like for our students. Why have our schools and universities not kept up? Why do we not use the technology and the equally important associated attitudes available to us? To some extent there will always be a lag period between technological innovation and educational practice – technology evolves faster than institutions do. But, as these videos show, when we use new approaches, or rather when we allow our students to use the technology that is already available to them, significant learning can occur.
So we have the situation where often the curriculum itself can be of little relevance or significance and the process by which students interact with their “education” is disconnected from their daily life with its heavy emphasis on modern technology. Is this really good enough? It begs the question – whose education is it anyway, the student’s or “the system’s”?

Anyone interested in more background in the creation of “Visions of Students Today” can follow this link to the associated blog pages.
Associated background story

Visions of Students today link

A vision of students today link
Michae Wesch photo:

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