Michael Wesch on Education & Marshall McLuhan

This blog post was written by Dr. Nellie Deutsch on July 30, 2012.

Face-to-Face or Online Conversations

I am relationship-based in whatever I do. I love conversations both face-to-face and online. I often wonder about the value of each. The live online conversation with Michael Wesch was inspirational because it got me thinking about life, education, learning, the media and Marshal McLuhan. I’m not sure that a face-to-face conversation with Mike at EdMedia over coffee would have yielded as much information that I would remember as the online one. I’m visual first and then auditory in how I remember things. However, how would I have documented such a conversation had it been face-to-face? Would I have video taped it? The energy of a live online class with participants from all over the world chatting away in the chatbox is more authentic than having a discussion in a face-to-face class.

Is the Chat the Message

The conversation with Michael Wesch took me back in time as I remembered sneaking into the bi-weekly seminars given by Marshall McLuhan. Things have not changed very much since his famous words of the Media is the Message. Are we ready to rethink education? I know I have been fighting for a changes since grade 11 when I was placed in an enriched class for being smart. I didn’t feel very smart at the time so I decided to skip classes and join one of Marshal McLuhan’s seminars at the University of Toronto. I was so impressed with the way he let his students do the teaching. I bought all his books and started learning on my own. From that point on, I failed in most of my school subjects, but I was happy. Marshall McLuhan changed many lives. To get a glimpse of the man, I recommend reading Marshall McLuhan: The Medium and the Messenger, a biography by Philip Marchand.

Global Village and the Internet

Marshal McLuhan discusses books as losing their place in the world (1970s) and being replaced by the medium and technology. Is the book culture going to finally be replaced by the Internet our new teaching machines? Was Marshal McLuhan ahead of his times?

The Medium is the Message (Marshall McLuhan)

What was Marshall McLuhan trying to say with those words? Federman may have the answer. Is the chatbox the medium that is important as opposed to the content? What value does content have? Was McLuhan trying to say that the process is key as opposed to the end result or the content that is communicated. Back to the chat and the live online class. Is the WizIQ live class the medium? Is the experience of being in a live online class such as WizIQ what’s important? Is learning online restructuring the way we think about life? Are we ready to face the media or are we afraid?

Vulnerability & Learning

Michael mentioned vulnerability and discomfort as places of learning. He then recommended Brene Brown for further information and talks on vulnerability. Being in a vulnerable place is not very pleasant, so how can discomfort contribute to learning? The answer is the medium or the experience is the message not the content. In other words, allowing ourselves to be with the experience itself whether it’s a pleasant or unbearable can be a meaningful learning experience. So we don’t learn from the content, but from experiencing the content. In my case, I was experiencing WizIQ class as the medium. So WizIQ is the message and the experience of the conversation with Michael Wesch was very pleasant.

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