Expert on students and new media will speak at CTLET conference

Michael Wesch

Michael Wesch

A renowned expert on the effects of new media on society and culture will headline an upcoming Brock University conference.

Michael Wesch, a cultural anthropologist at Kansas State University, will be the plenary speaker at Pedagogical Innovation and Imagination, a conference hosted by the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Educational Technologies. Wesch will speak about how new media is helping and hindering today’s students, and how teachers can adjust their methods to respond do that.

As society moves forward in an age of instant and infinite information, it becomes less important for students to memorize, know or recall information, and more important for them to sort, share, discuss and critique, he said.

Students are bombarded by information and do more independent learning than before, he said. If a student wants to fix a bicycle, for example, he or she will go to a how-to page or join a discussion group about fixing a bicycle.

What’s important is that teachers promote critical thinking and media literacy in their students, he said.

“We have to take them from knowledgeable to knowledge able,” he said.

Wesch was recently named an emerging explorer by National Geographic and is known for YouTube videos like Web 2.0: The Machine is Us/ing Us and A Vision of Students Today.

The conference is Wednesday, May 4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre. It will examine the questions of who we’re teaching, how we’re teaching them and, ultimately, why we’re teaching them the way we do.

Wesch’s talk will be the first event of the day. Concurrent sessions will show examples of innovative practices and explore what it means to be a learner today.

For complimentary tickets to the plenary address, call the Centre for the Arts before April 29 at 905-688-5550 x3257. For more information, visit

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