The Wonderful Thing About Michael Wesch’s Talk

Just finished watching the recording of Michael Wesch’s Presentation at the University of Regina. It was fascinating. Here are a few things that I took note of:

-I was interested to hear his reference to Neil Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves To Death. I have read Postman before (How to Watch the TV News) and hearing his name caught my attention. The idea that our society is saturated with media is not new to me. What I had never really thought of before, was that even though media provides us with almost unlimited information about our world we remain content to sit on our couches finishing off our bags of cheetos with our double gulp tucked safely under our arm. This is the problem that I have with using technology in our classrooms. I have a hard time believing that it will create a generation of children who will be willing to go out into the world in hopes of making it better. Why go out there if you can just watch it from home.
-Now the internet is different than television (which I understand as being Postman’s biggest beef), but I only see it harming children more or differently. With social networking sites I think children are dangerously putting themselves out there to for others to see. This compromises their safety, their well-being (cyber bullying), their future careers, and their ability to socialize away from the screen. Now it is hard to find any teenager who does not have their cell with them. Kids are always connected and I’m not convinced that it is healthy. People need silence, time to unwind, reflect, enjoy the company of just themselves. With rabid growth of the technology available to us, we have less and less time to enjoy solitude because texts, status updates, posts, pictures, emails, tweets, pings, whatever, are constantly making that cell ring. Of course we could just turn it off for a couple hours, but then we might be missing something.
-I’m sounding negative and I don’t mean to be. I like technology. I just think we need to be really careful with it. Is it possible to strike a balance?
– I do appreciate the internet for its ability to link people who would otherwise never have met. The Free Hugs guy was neat. I appreciated what happened with his video. I have a few friends who have gone out with their own Free Hug signs. What interested me most about free hugs is that it made people go out and meet real people face to face, even if it did only last long enough for a good squeeze.

I have much to learn about technology and this presentation only convinced me of that fact even more so. I’ll try to be more optimistic. Growing up with limited exposure has made me skeptical I’ll admit, but knowing that there is much to learn I am willing to change.


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