Michael Wesch in a Conversation about Life, Education & Marshal McLuhan

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Conversation on WizIQ
The conversation with Michael Wesch was brilliant. I would like to thank the participants who came and kept the chatbox active and Michael for speaking so openly. It took me a few days of ongoing reflections to start blogging about it. Here’s a video recording of the live conversation with Michael Wesch and I on WizIQ:

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 seminars given by Marshal 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. Marshal 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 (Marshal McLuhan)
What was Marshal 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.

Dr. Nellie Deutsch has a doctorate in educational leadership with a specialization in curriculum, technology, and instruction. She conducts research and writes on fully online and blended learning programs, presents online and face-to-face at conferences, and organizes professional development workshops to educators worldwide. Nellie is passionate about learning and helping others reach their goals. She has a relationship-based learner-centred approach to life and learning. She consults, writes, and presents (face-to-face & fully online) on e-learning. She uses Moodle for her course management system and WizIQ education online to connect to colleagues and students in real time. Nellie is a faculty member of Atlantic University, the program coordinator at the World Association for Online Education (WAOE), on the program committee and reviewer at EdMedia, on the steering committee for computer assisted language learning interest section (CALL-IS) at TESOL International Association, manager, designer & lead facilitator of Moodle for Teachers (M4T) workshops at Integrating Technology for Active Lifelong Learning (IT4ALL). Nellie has been an ambassador to WizIQ since 2007. She organizes annual and tri-annual MOOCs such as Moodle MOOC in June, October, and February, Second Life MOOC in April, and Well-Being MOOC in September, online conferences such as CO09-CO14 on February, and Moodlemoot 2011-2014 in August that are sponsored by WizIQ.

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