Monday, October 11, 2010

A Good Question Leads People on a Quest: What’s the Future of Education

We’ve concluded the Digital Nation conversation at JCCC (…or have we. There are many voices besides PBS attempting to explore technology and how it is and will affect our lives, our society and the way we define ourselves as human beings.

Michael Wesch is another voice asking educators to examine their roles in this digital age and he comes from as far away as KSU. Wesch has been dubbed "the explainer" by Wired magazine and is “a cultural anthropologist exploring the effects of new media on society and culture. After two years studying the effects of writing on a remote indigenous culture in the rain forest of Papua New Guinea, he has turned his attention to the effects of social media and digital technology on global society. His videos on culture, technology, education and information have been viewed by millions, translated in more than 15 languages and are frequently featured at international film festivals and major academic conferences worldwide” (for more information check out

Some JCCC faculty members, like Terry Helmick, have used Wesch’s materials in the classroom. Terry used a TED ( presentation given by Wesch in August 2010 (see and then asked her Interpersonal Communications students to respond to these questions:
  1. If a good question is one that “leads people on a quest” what kinds of questions could you ask yourself right now?
  2. “When media changes our relationships change.” What is the most common media you use to communicate with those close to you and how has that changed your communication with those individuals?
  3. “Students are meaning seekers; they are looking for who they are.” What meaning are you seeking to find in your life?
  4. If student’s “learn what they do”, what do you wish to be doing to help you improve your interpersonal communication with those close to you?

Spend 19 minutes and explore the power of media, critical thinking, global connections, and the world we as educators already occupy (along with our students).

By the way, if you’d like to see a less blurry version of the Dove/Unilever ads and the Green Peace response (mentioned by Wesch), check out and The video created by Wesch’s students (partially shown in his TED talk) is available in its entirety at

Also the Eric Whitacre virtual choir can be seen and heard at Whitacre describes the project at

SoftChalk Connect: A Learning Object Repository for SoftChalk Users

JCCC has for several years licensed SoftChalk, a tool you can use to:

  • Create interactive web pages for your e-learning course. It's easy, quick, and your lessons will look like a professional designer created them.
  • Engage your students with lessons that include pop-up text annotations, self-assessment quizzes, and interactive learning games.
  • Package your lessons for delivery via CD-ROM, Intranet, Internet, or integrate with your LMS (Learning Management System).
With the latest update to SoftChalk 6, you can now publish your lessons, eCourses, interactive Flash activities and quiz questions to the searchable repository, called SoftChalk CONNECT (see

CONNECT enables you to organize your personal collections by creating and managing folders. Another significant enhancement is the ability to create CONNECT "groups," and then require authentication by group members for access to your CONNECT content. For example, if you want to share a SoftChalk lesson with a group of colleagues or a group of students, you can publish the lesson to CONNECT, and using the new Group feature, limit access to only those in your group.

Go to CONNECT and search for your discipline. Maybe you’ll find a learning object you can use. You can learn more about SoftChalk using an online self-paced course developed by the Ed Tech Center (see and to access the software with the installation key see

If you’re interested in attending a webinar on SoftChalk CONNECT, you can register at (3 PM, October 20) or (11 AM, November 8).

My Blog List