Form and Function?

Via the brilliant resource jill/txt comes this video from anthropology professor Michael Wesch:

Now, for the record, I COULD have just posted a link to Jill’s website, but then I wouldn’t have had any motivation to experiment with embedding video in the blog, right? So, there it is.

Jill’s post calls this video “(almost) everything I teach in a three minute video.” I’d take on that phrase with a slight modification: it’s everything I’d like to be teaching! Wesch’s video, it seems to me, encapsulates a number of important ideas, from the most mundane (what’s the difference between html and xml?) to the most idealistic (what will the onset of digital text mean?). In so doing, it represents one of the significant challenges that occurs with new media pedagogy: the need to teach both the entry-level practices of web 2.0 as well as (and in order to get to) teaching the philosophical and social possibilities and implications brought about by such technologies. In this way, the video does what a great montage should do: inspire you by representing the hours of difficult labor needed to pull of a great feat (see Rocky, Vision Quest, Real Genius, and the I-can’t-believe-I’m-saying-this -all-right-fine-I’m-going-to-have-to-own-it archetypal South Park film.)

From a film studies perspective (oooh, going all old school!), Wesch’s video also employs the point-of-view technique to great effect. In essence, we see the web and its tools from the perspective of the filmmaker, as if we were him. Thus, the video also models a version of web interaction that shows us how someone invested in the medium navigates it. In some ways, this is what I find most fascinating: how do different people navigate/loll around in the internet? [Strangely, I just went from the pedagogical perspective to the voyeuristic one. From teacher to stalker in one short step!] What could we learn from watching each other? This might be akin to the experience of observing a tech person remotely operating your computer—a new possibility for IT at Saint Rose. It feels a bit like your computer is possessed, even as you see new ways of accessing information that you’ve never tried before.

So, all in all, well-played, Michael Wesch. Many reasons to view and re-view your video.

***Note: while browsing for this video, I happened to use “web 2.0” as a search term on YouTube. It will surprise no one but me, I suppose, that there are several instructive videos posted expressly designed for teachers. Who knew?

3 thoughts on “Form and Function?

  1. K–
    Great video! I think I’ll be using it in my class this afternoon as a kind of visual (and idealistic) overview of the textual moment we’re all living in. And kudos for embedding the video directly. Did I mention that I spent an hour trying to do that on our class blog last night?


  2. Pingback: Reading/Writing Autobiography

  3. Pingback: One of Many Responses to the Wesch Video « Blog en Abyme

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