A Vision of Students Today

Michael Wesch, a professor at Kansas State University well-known for his digital ethnography studies, has put together an excellent video delving into technology and the state of education today. Prof Wesch is known for these types of videos and in my opinion he first broke out with his video The Machine is Us/ing Us that dealt with the evolving technology and how the web changes the way people interact. The latest video, titled A Vision of Students Today, accurately captures Wesch's sentiments about student life in relation to education and other issues. I wouldn't write about a YouTube video if it was anything short of stellar.

Missouri - School of Journalism MacsUnrelated, but it just goes to show how many students can't go to class without their laptops.

For the most part, I thought the statements presented in the video were spot on. There were a few that didn't ring well with me personally, such as the part about students receiving 7 hours of sleep each night - much less with myself and my peers. Also, the part about most students graduating with 20k of student debt - I think that must only be for in-state students as I'm looking at much more when I get out.

I don't want to spoil it too much but another one of the things mentioned was "I complete 49% of the readings assigned to me". I'm not sure about other students but when I'm assigned 60 page PDFs of abstract, high-level white-paper-esque material for each class, there's almost no motivation to get past the first few pages - especially when multiple classes assign such readings on the same night, not to mention that reading PDFs on a computer is only comfortable for so long.

Finally, the video goes on to show how many students "facebook through their classes". While I have seen many students do this on their laptops in class and have had a debate on this issue in a computer science course, I don't think you can just rule out students using laptops in class as boredom-relievers. Granted there will always be the students playing WoW, finger DDR or perusing Facebook, a decent portion of students take notes in Google Docs, look up things the professor mentioned that they're not familiar with, and Wikipedia things to correct the professor at times. For me, it comes in handy for taking notes and when the professor comes across a topic I know well or read about the night before, it allows me to take a break and refrain from snoozing.

Regardless, I applaud Prof Wesch's efforts in creating this video. Taking an educational technology course myself I can definitely appreciate it. Thoughts?

You can view A Vision of Students Today on YouTube or embedded here:

Hat tip to Ivan for pointing me to this video.