McDayter and Paulson: Teachers, technology come together at symposium

“Classrooms built to re-enforce the top-down authoritative knowledge of the teacher are now enveloped by a cloud of ubiquitous digital information where knowledge is made, not found, and authority is continuously negotiated through discussion and participation.”

– Michael Wesch
A Vision of Students Today (and what Teachers Must Do), Oct. 21, 2008


What are the implications for education of the tremendous revolution in new media reshaping our society and culture? Has technology rendered our classrooms, and our teaching, obsolete? Or does it offer new opportunities for rethinking how and what we teach, and for exploring new approaches that will help us engage with the ‘digital natives’ who now fill our lecture halls, labs and seminar rooms?

Kansas State professor Michael Wesch, an anthropologist and ethnographer of the new digital world, has argued persuasively that, while emergent technologies are challenging established pedagogical practices, they are also enabling powerful new ones.

As Wesch has insisted, the time is ripe for an exploration of this subject.

Technology is having a pervasive impact on postsecondary education now, a fact recognized by Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities as it seeks to facilitate the development of new forms of hybrid and online learning. Keeping pace with other postsecondary institutions in Canada and around the world as they adopt and adapt to new digital realities and instructional technologies is a key challenge, and a vital component of Western’s continued success. At the same time, we must explore ways of employing technology that enrich rather than undermine our commitment to high quality education.

One of the most powerful advantages offered by new technologies is the ability to connect with and learn from others.

At Western, we have much to learn from each other, and it is in this spirit that the Technology in Education Symposium: Making TIES @ Western will showcase and share innovative approaches to instructional technology and pedagogy from across the entire university.

While Wesch, an award-winning researcher and teacher, will lay the groundwork for the day’s collaborations and explorations, Western faculty, staff, and students will build upon this through subsequent panel and poster presentations. Undergraduate students will also share their perspective through a roundtable presentation on the impact that technology is having upon their education at Western.

Mark McDayter is a professor in the Department of English. Elan Paulson is director of professional programs in the Faculty of Education.


Kansas State professor Michael Wesch delivers the keynote address at Technology in Education Symposium: Making TIES @ Western on March 8. Sponsored by the Registrar’s Office, Teaching Support Centre and Faculty of Education, the event is open to educators as well as staff at Western, affiliated university colleges and Continuing Studies.

Proposals may be submitted by Jan. 26. Email for details.  on the Web

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