Have you ever wondered how the social media environment in which we live today affects the students of today? How Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, Twitter, Wikipedia, iPads, Kindles, and other new technologies are impacting the way that today’s students learn and the way that they are educated? A new collaborative project from the Digital Ethnography department at Kansas State University explores these questions and more, via an interactive HTML5 video collage featuring the visions of students today.
Five months ago, Kansas State’s Dr. Michael Wesch put out a call for students that might want to submit video for the project. He asked students to attach video cameras to their heads to show what they see during their day to day life. The video description said, “Upload a video showing us your life, your school, and how you learn. Tag it VOST2011. Think of it as ‘A Vision of Students Today’ inverted…it’s your life, your learning environments, and your thoughts about them.”
Responses poured in. A YouTube search for VOST2011 turns up about 286 results. Wesch put the submissions together into an incredible HTML5 video experience, which can be viewed at VisionsOfStudents.org. The HTML5 clip begins with Wesch’s call for submissions and then we see students strapping on their cameras and getting to work on their videos.
It is clear from what we see and hear that students today lead very different lives than they did as little as five years ago. One student talks about how he is chatting with friends from Germany on Facebook, another talks about how much of what he knows he learned from YouTube videos, and one student reads her school books on a Kindle. Statistics in the video report that students today have spent less than 5,000 hours of their lives reading and over 10,000 hours playing video games and 20,000 hours watching TV.
Many of these lifestyle adjustments call for changes in the education system and a lot of the students in the video express an interest in disembarking from the traditional educational system and even offer up ideas for what they think needs to change.
In an article he wrote about the project, Wesch explains the layout of the HTML5 video collage. “Since the call for submissions went out in January we have received hundreds of submissions. The remix in the middle of the screen is in many ways a video of my own experience viewing these videos, shot from my own point of view. You see me sifting through videos, putting them in piles, checking resources, reading and re-reading the lines that have informed and inspired me. It took me 3 months to sift through these materials; you get to race through them in 5 minutes.”
But you also have the opportunity to explore the full submissions by clicking on the boxes on the screen. Each video thumbnail on the screen links to the full version, which can be viewed in a popup. (Note: I had an issue with this in Chrome, but it worked fine for me in Firefox.)
Check out the video below to get the gist of the Visions Of Students project or get the full experience on VisionsOfStudents.org. Let us know what you think in the comments below. What’s your take on the lives of students today as well as the way this project was put together?
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.