Engaging Students – Michael Wesch, Kansas State University

Gary Eberhart responded to the last blog post and made the following comment:

I think the idea to discuss what’s going on in our district relative to what other districts are doing is a great idea. I would eagerly participate in doing so.

I like that idea and would like to expand the discussion to include college campuses where the trends seem to be a bit ahead of K-12.

Michael Wesch, a Professor of Anthropology at Kansas State University, along with the collaboration of 200 students created this video:

Should we change the way we teach our children in order to not only engage them, but provide them relevant skills for careers in the 21st century?
Skills like communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.
The use of digital media/internet can transform teaching from the dissemination of information to coaching, facilitating, and mentoring students. Information is everywhere. Students must learn to qualify the information they find. They need to know how to recognize bias and credible sources. Do they need to memorize massive amounts of information and historical dates? Or instead do they need to understand why what happened on those dates is relevant.
Yesterday a teacher, inspired by Michael Wesch, wrote on his blog Ten Simple Strategies for Re-engaging Students. Can you guess what his 10 strategies were?

More from Michael Wesch:

Of utmost concern to me, was the nature of questions I was hearing from students, which tended to be administrative and procedural rather than penetrative, critical, and insightful. My least favorite question was also the most common: “What do we need to know for this test?” Something had to be done, so I set to work creating the World Simulation.

The World Simulation itself only takes 75-100 minutes and moves through 650 metaphorical years, 1450-2100. It all takes place in large room where all of the “cultures” interact with one another with props for currencies, natural resources, and other elements that recreate the world system. They simulate world history in an attempt to understand the underlying social and cultural processes that interconnect us all. The ultimate goal is to allow students to actually experience how the world system works and explore some of the most important questions now facing humanity such as those of global inequality, globalization, culture loss, environmental degradation, and in the worst case scenario, genocide.

How can we engage high school students and make their experience in the classroom as content rich as their interactions outside the classroom?
How do we keep the curriculum relevant and rigorous?
With the entire world a click away how can we expand the school experience and make it a global experience?