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Presenting Dr. Michael Wesch: The End of Wonder in the Age of Whatever
The Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT) brought Dr. Michael Wesch, a cultural anthropologist and media ecologist at Kansas State University, to campus on March 19th, 2013. He delivered a moving talk entitled The End of Wonder in the Age of Whatever. If you were unable to attend the event, or would like to experience it again, please watch the video below.
New media and technology present us with an overwhelming bounty of tools for connection, creativity, collaboration, and knowledge creation - a true "Age of Whatever" where anything seems possible. But any enthusiasm about these remarkable possibilities is immediately tempered by that other "Age of Whatever" - an age in which people feel increasingly disconnected, disempowered, tuned out, and alienated. Such problems are especially prevalent in education, where the Internet often enters our classrooms as a distraction device rather than a tool for learning. What is needed more than ever is to inspire our students to wonder, to nurture their appetite for curiosity, exploration, and contemplation. It is our responsibility to help them attain an insatiable appetite and pursue big, authentic, and relevant questions so that they can harness and leverage the bounty of possibility all around us and rediscover the "end" or purpose of wonder, and stave off the historical end of wonder. Professor Wesch has managed to inspire wonder in his students by giving them 'the gift of big questions.' Wesch often teaches courses exceeding 400 students and has been breaking ground in higher education with his use of technology in teaching and research. We believe Dr. Wesch's talk will inspire you and begin a dialog on our campus about academic motivation and using technology to broaden the learning experience for UK students.
Dr. Michael Wesch, Coffman Chair for University Distinguished Teaching Scholars, Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Digital Ethnography, 2008 U.S. Professor of the Year, Kansas State University
Dubbed "the explainer" by Wired magazine, Michael Wesch is a cultural anthropologist exploring the effects of new media on society and culture. After two years studying the implications of writing on a remote indigenous culture in the rain forest of Papua New Guinea, he has turned his attention to the effects of social media and digital technology on global society. His videos on culture, technology, education, and information have been viewed by millions, translated in over 15 languages, and are frequently featured at international film festivals and major academic conferences worldwide. Wesch has won several major awards for his work, including a Wired Magazine Rave Award, the John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in Media Ecology, and he was recently named an Emerging Explorer by National Geographic. He has also won several teaching awards, including the 2008 CASE/Carnegie U.S. Professor of the Year for Doctoral and Research Universities.
Cover Image: photographymontreal, "Alienation and Dehumanization in Technological Society." Public Domain.