I came across another video by Kansas State professor Michael Wesch and his digital anthropology students, this one, “A Vision of Students Today,” focusing on characteristics of students today, in particular how they use and encounter information and how our teaching strategies are often not only obsolete but in fact work against how contemporary students learn. The video is especially enlightening when it comes to illustrating what and how students acquire information, the number of papers they write versus the number of emails, the kinds of reading they do, the degree to which they (we?) are multitaskers.
While I like much about the video, I do have some reservations about the degree to which it generalizes the practices of students. I wonder, for example, if community college students or students at a public HBCU such as Fayetteville State, where I teach, fit so neatly into the categories depicted in the video. For example, several of my students have told me that they don’t have computers at home. Others don’t have internet access or still rely on dial-up modems, which makes me wonder whether that 3.5 hours spent online isn’t reflective of a limited slice of students. To be fair, the video does address briefly issues of a digital divide, but I think that teasing out some of these differences and not universalizing the experiences of students at a major state university could be valuable.