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Michael Wesch - Anti-Teaching

Just about any class taught by Michael Wesch would be a model classroom. Wesch is the iconic Kansas State University professor who created the videos A Vision of Students Today and The Machine is Us/ing Us.Wesch's YouTube channel has over 19 million views. In 2006 Wech wrote a blog post, A brief history of anti-teaching describing his experimental teaching of an introductory Cultural Anthropology course with 200-400 students. According to Wesch, "Teaching is about providing good information. Anti-teaching is about inspiring good questions. Since all good thinking begins with a good question, it struck me that if we are ultimately trying to create “active lifelong learners” with “critical thinking skills” and an ability to “think outside the box” it might be best to start by getting students to ask better questions."

Creating Cultures

Wesch's anti-teaching methods are meant to subvert the traditional university lecture model and to create active learning. For the 2006 class he create a World Simulation starting a map similar to the diversity of the real world. He laid out the map and asked students to form into 15-20 groups of 12-20 students in each group. Each group creates their own cultures suitable for survival in their environment.Wesch observes that," The creativity of the students in creating their cultures subverts any simple monocausal determinism (just as human creativity does in the real world)." He has students provide comparisons to real life cultures and has them explain their choices. When all groups had completed their culture and submit it to Wesch he planned the world simulation.

The actual simulation lasts 75-100 minutes and moves through 650 metaphorical years, 1450-2100. In a large room the cultures interact with currencies, and natural resources to simulate a world history. He records the events and then shows it at the end of the semester where they debrief. Wesch's goal is "to allow students to actually experience how the world system works and explore some of the most important questions now facing humanity such as those of global inequality, globalization, culture loss, environmental degradation, and in the worst case scenario, genocide."

In 2008 Wesch used twitter and Jott in the World Simulation for the class.

Wesch's spring 2010 class of Digital Ethnography promote Students helping Students

Next up, see Model Future-Telepathic and Telekinetic