UWM's digital future

Event: From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able in a Digital World: What's at Stake



On February 24th, 2011, at 3pm in the Zelazo Center, acclaimed new media commentator and anthropologist Michael Wesch presented a keynote address: "From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able in a Digital World: What's at Stake."


New media create new types of conversation, exchange, and collaboration. But the promise of such developments are not without disruption and peril. Familiar long-standing institutions, organizations, and traditions disappear or transform beyond recognition. And while new media bring with them new possibilities for openness, transparency, engagement, and participation, they also bring new possibilities for surveillance, manipulations, distraction, and control. The negative side of this ledger seem especially eminent in the face of widespread ignorance about the uses, misuses, power, and (sometimes unintended) consequences of new media. If we do not quickly raise our digital literacy rates we stand to lose much more than we gain from the promises of new media. This presentation will explore what is at stake, what is possible, and how we need to create new learning environments that allow our students and ourselves as teachers and researchers to move beyond simply being knowledgeable to being knowledge-able (able to find, sort, analyze, criticize, create, and collaborate) in new media environments.





Michael Wesch


 Dr. Michael Wesch
 Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Digital Ethnography
 2008 U.S. Professor of the Year
 Kansas State University






Dubbed "the explainer" by Wired magazine, Michael Wesch is a cultural anthropologist exploring the impact of new media on society and culture. After two years studying the impact 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 technology, education, and information have been viewed by millions, translated in over ten languages, and are frequently featured at international film festivals and major academic conferences worldwide. Wesch has won several major awards for his work, including a Wired Magazine Rave Award, the John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in Media Ecology, and was recently named an Emerging Explorer by National Geographic. He has also won several teaching awards, including the 2008 CASE/Carnegie U.S. Professor of the Year for Doctoral and Research Universities.