Michael Wesch: Moving From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able

Michael Wesch, Cultural Anthropologist and Associate Professor at Kansas State University, often discusses the importance of moving from what he describes as “Knowledgeable to Knowledge-Able.”

We are sharing information and knowledge all of the time – shouldn’t we be teaching (letting) students do the same? Literacies in today’s world include connecting, organizing, sharing, collaborating. It is important to understand how to use the tools and software available to us, but we also need to recognize how the tools are using (and changing) us.

Media are not just tools, not just a means of communication; media is shaping many aspects of our lives and how we connect with one another.  As Media changes, our relationships change, and, our culture changes. Students today need to have different literacies than they did in the past; skills on how to find content, sort it, organize it, and criticize it. They need to be taught how to be critical thinkers!

Web 2.0 is linking people not just information. We are using and sharing information in new ways:

  • User-generated content
  • User-generated filtering
  • User-generated organization
  • User-generated distribution
  • User-generated ratings

This is not happening in many schools. We can see this in the spaces we design:

  • What the walls say (classroom spaces)
  •  To learn is to acquire information
  • Information is scarce
  • Trust authority for good information
  • Authorized information is beyond discussion
  • Obey the authority
  • Follow along

The web can enable individuals to find their voice and contribute in meaningful ways. We are seeing this all the time with citizen journalists and citizen media, which is often unleashed when regular media collapses.

Things to think about in a web-enabled world:

  • Knowledge-ablity
  • Communication
  • Thoughtfulness
  • Empathy

As people, we search for meaning and significance. If we can unlock the creativity in our students, we can help them become meaning makers. Isn’t that what education is really about?

One thought on “Michael Wesch: Moving From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able

Comments are closed.