Dr. Michael Wesch, a cultural anthropologist and media ecologist at Kansas State University, will be giving a talk entitled "The End of Wonder in the Age of Whatever" presented by the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT). Dr. Wesch regularly teaches large classes and was the 2008 U.S. Professor of the Year for Doctoral and Research Universities selected by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
He will be talking about creating a sense of "wonder" in the classroom and giving students the gift of "big questions." Professor Wesch's visit strives to inspire UK faculty and foster a dialogue on campus around topics such as teaching large classes and using new media and technologies in the classroom to nurture student curiosity and exploration as they pursue authentic and relevant questions.
New media and technology present us with an overwhelming bounty of tools for connection, creativity, collaboration, and knowledge creation - a true "Age of Whatever" where anything seems possible. But any enthusiasm about these remarkable possibilities is immediately tempered by that other "Age of Whatever" - an age in which people feel increasingly disconnected, disempowered, tuned out, and alienated. Such problems are especially prevalent in education, where the Internet often enters our classrooms as a distraction device rather than a tool for learning.
What is needed more than ever is to inspire our students to wonder, to nurture their appetite for curiosity, exploration, and contemplation. It is our responsibility to help them attain an insatiable appetite and pursue big, authentic, and relevant questions so that they can harness and leverage the bounty of possibility, rediscover the "end" or purpose of wonder, and stave off the historical end of wonder.