Friday, March 02, 2001

Current Forum: Discussion of Readings
Date: 01-Mar-2001 19:18:00
Author: Sanchez, Norma
Subject: copresence and meaning

David et al.,

Wouldn’t this be an epistomological construct resulting from the advent of the alphabet and the printing press? From a historical perspective, Greek tragedies represent the way inner thoughts were part and parcel with the self and an embeddedness of the senses, thought and action. Dependence on inner space was not a reality to those antecedent to the 18th century. We should be looking at ourselves as a historical construction.

During the age of Homer knowledge was physical, which is relative to the authors’ stance on copresence and the fusion of the body and mind. But from a hermeneutical stance, hasn’t this changed the way we create meaning?

If the writing process enhances our orality, then we should also be questioning how media convergence affects our meaning construction process. Streaming video through the Internet seems to be quite a different experience rather than viewing it on a tv. We should also increase our awareness about what we’ve become without having chosen it. Too often than not we tend to segregate technologies without studying the holistic effects and how we came to accept them into our repertoire of thinking and doing.

Saturday, February 24, 2001

Current Forum: Discussion of Readings
Date: 20-Feb-2001 16:48:00
Author: Dotro, Valeria
Subject: Readings and Project

I was thinking about the relationship between readings and the project. I think that there is a pair of lines from the readings that could help us.

"We must place greater emphasis on the historical and social context in which technologies are introduced (...) The creation of new technologies was, in turn, dependent on the existing stock of knowledge (broadly understood) as well as the available resources. Technologies are always, in this sense, socially constructed" (Deibert: 29)

"Medium Theory holds that communication is a sphere where the technology involved may have an immense significance for the society in which it occurs, and perhaps radically affect the concurrent forms of social and economic organization (...) Medium theory is necessarily historical in its approach, contrasting different media environments across time, and tracing changes in the technology of social and political order"

I think that at first we have to understand how the technologies that we going to use in the project, are changing our environment, and basically, how new medias are changing education. Then, we could think in the Internet project with another points of view.

Current Forum: Discussion of Readings
Date: 24-Feb-2001 16:48:00
Author: Sanchez, Norma
Subject: McLuhan quote

I couldn’t agree with Valerie more. At the core of our project is understanding how the various authors present medium theory in terms of how it changes our environment and socio-cultural spheres, including how we educate and how we learn.

McLuhan writes how, “We are considering the psychic and social consequences of the designs or patters as they amplify or accelerate existing processes” (p24). – introduction of a portal could conceptually affect teaching and learning by:
 Changing the role of students and the teacher – more egalitarian
 Change the curricular material – web based, real-time, most current, authentic sources
 Effect our learning environment – small group vs. whole class instruction, blur “factory model,” etc.

As educators, we need to contemplate on the anticipated and unanticipated outcomes of our design and what implications arise for the way people acculturate an ensemble of technologies.


Saturday, February 17, 2001

Current Forum: Discussion of Readings
Date: 09-Feb-2001 13:18:00
Author: Hixson, William
Subject: Meyrowitz

William brings up excellent points. I too was intrigued by Meyrowitz’s and found it lacking in some aspects that enticed me to read further.

In response to your questions of Medium Theory’s “shortcomings,” in terms of the difficulties of its analysis, from a research perspective, evidence or findings of the micro and macro social levels require extensive forms of qualitative methods simply because it is fairly difficult to “predict” or document affect and cultural behaviors if they can be documented at all. In support of Meyrowitz, he states that medium theory cannot be supported or “tested” by a quantitative analysis, but the macro level does rely on, “argument, historical analysis, and large-scale pattern association” (p.11).

I would add that in trying to document or analyze how introduction of a new medium into an existing matrix changes or shapes a new social environment, we must be cognizant of the fact that we are unwitting actors in a historical change. As structures change, we are not necessarily consciousness of these changes on a diurnal basis. In particular, when new mediums become operationalized into our daily lives, it’s difficult to compare these changes to our former activities. Robbie mentioned that we also need to look at other facets, such as: policy, actions and lived intentions vs. thought intentions, sustained spontaneous effective actions, and intuitive perception. All of these are important factors addressed by medium theory, but pose serious research limitations.

In looking at the micro-level, a comparison analysis might provide some of the “situational” changes in the roles of the classroom, students, and teachers in the various modes. But context and content limit comparability because it is associated with an individual-situation as opposed to general patterns at the macro-level.

Aside from the weaknesses, what I find to be a strength is the fact that it allows us to extend beyond the content. Although content influences social roles and communication, medium theory allows us to include patterns of access and information-flow that tend to be overshadowed by content analysis.


Current Forum: Discussion of Readings
Date: 07-Feb-2001 09:22:00
Author: McClintock, Robert
Subject: Re: McLuhan, Understanding Media

>“Discounting the similarities in various responses to the newness of TV and the Internet, are TV and the >Internet -- understood as complex social, economic, and cultural developments -- similar in their >educational effects or dissimilar? Does the Internet reinforce the effects of TV, or lead educational >development in different directions?” – Robbie

While the complex interactions of the social, political, and economic arenas are difficult to segregate, from a more holistic cultural perspective I can conceive the Internet having two plausibly divergent effects:
1) it can reinforce the consumerism and “McDonaldization” of TV
2) it can foster new modes of communication and nonlinear thinking

From an educational perspective, many parents and teachers are wary of the use of a portal with advertisement capacity for the first reason. This has inundated policy makers with concerns over children privacy protection acts and Internet acceptable use policies for minors. However, some argue that the Internet is not employing messages that students have not already acculturated into their diurnal social, economic, and cultural spectra.

In looking at the second notion, use of the Internet can extend education into the home through its use for research and asynchronous and synchronous communication. Again, from an educational vista, a particular concern is that potentially, use of the Internet will reinforce the fast paced and instantaneous nature of television such that immediate feedback and instantaneity will be a requisite for all educational activities. This is not to say that it’s a negative aspect, but this will affect how content is developed and determine what content is considered educationally stimulating and enticing by students as opposed to the teacher. It further alters roles as teachers become facilitators and sifters of educationally appropriate content as dictated by students rather than dispensers of predetermined knowledge.

McLuhan posits how hot or cool media alter sense ratios and patterns of perception. Perhaps use of digital media and TV will not have exclusive impacts, but rather will form a new pattern of thought and action that will be more visual, nonlinear, immediate, and text-dependent.

- Norma