UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

YouTube phenom Michael Wesch will show effects of social media on society

032713Spotlight_WeschDubbed “The Explainer” by Wired magazine, YouTube phenom 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 an 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.

Dr. Michael Wesch will deliver the talk “The End of Wonder in the Age of Whatever!” Monday, April 8, 2013, at 4 p.m. in Aycock Auditorium. The talk is free and open to the public.

Wesch is an associate professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University. He is the Coffman Chair for Distinguished Teaching Scholars and was named the 2008 CASE/Carnegie Professor of the Year for Doctoral and Research Universities.

Dr. Patrick Lee Lucas, director of the University Teaching and Learning Commons, said, “Imagine the opportunity to have a guest lecturer in your classroom who has a world-wide following on his work in digital ethnography.” He encouraged faculty to recommend it to their students.

His videos have more than 21.5 million hits on YouTube, Lucas points out. “He looks beyond the moving images to interpret their effects on our everyday lives. In doing so, he shows us ways to connect with our students as individuals who strive for life-long learning.”

Promotional material for the talk explains:
“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 — which must be the most remarkable creativity and collaboration machine in the history of the world — often enters our classrooms as a distraction device. It is not enough to merely deliver information in traditional fashion to make our students ‘knowledge-able.’ Nor is it enough to give them the skills to learn, making them ‘knowledge-able.’ Knowledge and skills are necessary, but not sufficient. What is needed more than ever is to inspire our students to wonder, to nurture their appetite to ask and pursue big, authentic and relevant questions….”