The Changing Spaces of Reading and Writing

Posts from — October 2009

The implications for literacy and education with the development of free textbooks in Mexico’s grade schools.

Introduction

The use and distribution of free textbooks in Mexico’s grade schools stimulated the development of literacy within the country and the outreach of information to the poorest and most isolated areas in the nation. The distribution of these textbooks helped promote national values as well as the democratization of information distribution.

            In this paper, we will briefly review the historical context in which Mexico’s free textbooks were introduced to this country’s educational system as well as analyze some of the implications textbooks had in the development of education and literacy within this country.

Context and development of free textbooks in Mexico

To be able to fully understand the implications of the introduction and use of free textbooks in Mexico’s educational system, we must first understand how this system was established and what were the first steps towards the development of nation-wide textbooks.

Mexico’s educational system as we know it today was formally established in September 1921 with José Vasconcelos as the first Secretary of Public Education. Initially, the Secretary’s tasks were to organize courses, open schools in the various states and municipalities, edit books and create public libraries. All of these actions supported the successful initiation of a nationwide educational system. 

Vasconcelos’ main goals were to strengthen the system and provide education within the various developing professions and occupations in Mexico, such as: railroads, the textile industry, construction professionals, teachers, graphic arts professionals and typewriter technicians. Although Vasconcelos’ efforts were evident in the years he headed the department, the presidential electoral rebellion in 1924 endangered the newly founded department and the entire educational project.

A couple of decades after the rebellion (1944), Jaime Torres Bodet, an apprentice of Vasconcelos and newly appointed Secretary of Education in Mexico, was worried about the high cost of textbooks used in elementary education in Mexico. Although free public education was guaranteed constitutionally, textbooks were very costly and of low quality, making them inaccessible to poor families and people in rural areas in the developing country, since initially they had to be purchased by the students at a relatively high cost.

When Adolfo Lopez Mateos became president in 1958, he was faced with a poor country with high levels of illiteracy and inequity regarding access to education and information. He stated that a school could do very little for the children, if the parent didn’t have enough economic resources to buy the basic textbooks (SEP, 2009). It was at this time that the Secretary of Education Torres Bodet pushed for a nationwide literacy campaign with the idea that every student within grade school age should assist school with a textbook paid for and provided by the federal government. This is how the National Commission for Free Textbooks (Comision Nacional de Libros de Texto Gratuitos- CONALITEG for its initials in Spanish) was born and officially established in February, 1959. The idea of this commission was that the free textbook would be a social right, as well as a vehicle that facilitated dialogue and equity in school.

            Since the intention of the textbooks was to democratize information, facilitate knowledge and reach the entire country, the initial task of developing the books and deciding on their content was crucial. This titanic and critical process was designated to Martín Luis Guzmán: a member of the military, journalist and Nobel Prize winner in Literature whose efforts resulted in the creation and consolidation of CONALITEG’s mission and the production of books which supplied the nation’s educational and information demands. Several books on different topics and for different grade levels were produced and revised for students as well as for teachers.

            By 1972, CONALITEG produced 43 books for students and 24 for teachers (SEP, 2009), these books integrated the educational reforms presented by President Luis Echeverría and were constantly modified to integrate subsequent reforms and new educational content. In 1982, the CONALITEG elaborated books with specific information for each of the states which, in the early nineties were transformed into regional books with historical and geographical information for each of the 32 states.

In 1992, Mexico’s Public Educational System launched an integral reform named the Educational Modernization Program, which gave the free textbook an upgrade in content, presentation and delivery. The goal of this new program in relation to the textbooks was to reach most elementary schools before the school year began.

Discussion

Socially, historically and education-wise, free national textbooks in Mexico were introduced at the right moment in time and with the necessary support from the federal government. Mexico’s citizens, especially those in rural areas or with low incomes immediately adopted the textbooks, as they considered them a potential solution to the growing problem of illiteracy, resulting in a reduced number of people with the necessary training in the various growing professions and occupations. Having being granted free textbooks, rural families found it much easier to take their children to school to continue their educational development. The educational system, on the other hand, found an opportunity to reinforce nationalism and distribute the same information (historical, scientific, etc.) to the entire grade school population.

            One of the historical events that helped drive the founding of CONALITEG and the elaboration and distribution of textbooks in Mexico, was the institution of the Department of Public Education as it was the ultimate effort to federalize and consolidate educational efforts nationwide. Along with the creation of this Department and the founding of CONALITEG, came the centralization of information to facilitate its distribution and access. Although it might be paradoxical, centralizing these efforts, allowed democratization of education and information in the country.

            With democratization of information the education system in Mexico faced, as it currently does, an extremely difficult challenge which is to integrate and contextualize the information appropriately for these textbooks. The main questions with this issue are: What should (and should not) be included and how should “the story” be told? For many Mexicans, the textbooks provided by the Public Educational System, are the only medium of information they’ll ever have access to (Corona, 1997).  According to Corona’s research on the integration of history textbooks in Mexico: “Mexico/EUA: “guerra de razas” en los libros de texto” (1997), the educational system has modified the textbooks according to the historical, social, economical and contextual needs; pointing out or focusing on different historical events depending on the era and social needs. A clear example is the way Mexico’s textbooks portray its relationship with the United States differently within each historical era: “The USA becomes the “good neighbor”” (Corona, 1997, pg. 12) vs “The relationship between Mexico and the USA are closer to barbaric and war-like of military dominance” (Corona, 1997, pg. 11).[1] Other examples of this “issue” are the science and sexual education or health books which have modified its content to adapt the new information and scientific theories now known and approved. The integration of new knowledge in the textbooks is a polemic issue because of the levels of illiteracy and inaccessibility to knowledge and educational opportunities in Mexico. An important issue to mention in this report is the fact that the Mexican government provides “official” versions (not necessarily historically correct) of the country’s history which mold students’ ideas and value systems. A clear example of this was the way history textbooks portrayed one of the political parties (PRI) that maintained power for over sixty years in the country, always mentioning the positive aspects of the party and of the government in turn.

            We now reflect on the great responsibility the federal government has with its population: to provide the means and information necessary to help them learn on their own. A “risky”, but necessary action is to teach Mexico’s population to think and question the government, its policies, etc.

Conclusion

Textbooks and the federal education system as a whole have faced many challenges throughout the years. First, the challenge was to cover the entire country with schools in every state and municipality; next was creating the adequate resources, and finally to update and renew these materials to adapt them to the historical and changing social needs of the country.

Currently, the challenge is to elaborate digital versions of the textbooks to be able to revise and renew its information constantly and at a low cost. Information is changing ever so rapidly such that Mexico cannot afford (economically and socially) the high costs of producing the textbooks with old or obsolete information. Another challenge that the educational system has to consider is the integration of new resources of information to the elaboration of textbooks- collaborative writing and production of knowledge.

The nation-wide free textbooks that Mexico’s educational system provides to its elementary level students has been an alternative to assure that everyone has access to at least the same “official” information, although the challenge to renew and question history, as well as other relevant subjects remains pending.

References:

Corona Berkin, Sarah. (1997). MÉXICO/EUA: una “guerra de razas” en los libros de texto para niños mexicanos. Estudios Sobre las Culturas Contemporáneas, 3(6), 49-69. PDF File Retrieved on October 19, 2009 from EBSCO database, also available in: http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=1&hid=111&sid=28484310-cada-4075-a0e2-165374be5b59%40sessionmgr104&bdata=JmFtcDtsYW5nPWVzJnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=zbh&AN=15074531

 León, Felipe. (Abril, 2006) La liberación de los libros de texto gratuitos en México. Aprender la Libertad. Retrieved on October 20, 2009, from: http://www.aprenderlalibertad.org/2006/04/16/la-liberacion-de-los-libros-de-texto-gratuito-en-mexico/

Secretaría de Educación Pública, SEP (2009) Historia De La CONALITEG (1944-1982). Retrieved on October 19, 2009, from:  http://www.conaliteg.gob.mx/index.php/historia

Secretaría de Educación Pública, SEP (2009) Historia de la SEP. Retrieved on October 20, 2009, from: http://www.sep.gob.mx/wb/sep1/sep1_Historia_de_la_SEP. The webpage was last updated on October 5, 2009.


[1] All translations in references have been made by Ana Cecilia Tagliapietra

October 31, 2009   1 Comment

Printing a Changing Language

My research project entitled Printing a Changing Language: The Printing Press and the Standardisation of English can be found on the ETEC540 Wiki. The following video gives a great but short overview of the topic I attempted to tackle.

Best,
Natalie


October 31, 2009   No Comments

Unintended Consequences

The Printing Press and European Witch-Hunts

Gutenberg’s printing press, invented in 1440 has been heralded by some as one of the most important inventions of all time. “The invention and development of printing with movable type brought about the most radical transformation in the conditions of intellectual life in the history of western civilization. It opened new horizons in education, and in the communication of ideas. Its effects were sooner or later felt in every department of human activity.”(Gilmore, p. 186) Whether it deserves this status is debatable, but it certainly is what Elizabeth Eisenstein (1979) calls “an agent of change. “ Many including Eisenstein credit the ability to mass produce printed text as being an effective agent of change in the Reformation, the European Renaissance, European nationalism, education, and the advance of science and technology. Francis Bacon said, “ We should note the force, effect, and consequences of inventions which are nowhere more conspicuous than those three which were unknown to the ancients, namely: printing, gunpowder, and the compass. For these three have changed the appearance and state of the world.” (P. 43)

It is not the intent of this paper to look at all the consequences of the printing press, but rather to look specifically at one unintended consequence; the European witch hunts which occurred from the 1400’s to the 1700’s. These witch hunts resulted in the murder of somewhere between 60,000 and 100, 000 people, primarily women who were brutally tortured and then hung or burned at the stake. Although little research on the causes of the witch-hunts has been completed both Eisenstein (1979) and Schlain (1998) contend that although the printing press didn’t cause the witch hunts, it was certainly a major catalyst.

burning witches

A Brief History of the Witch Hunts
Prior to the 14th century, witches were not a major concern. There were good witches and bad ones, depending on the type of magic they performed. The users of magic did so to meet mundane human needs with things such as love potions, and fertility rituals. Witches, or more often known as healers, were capable of special actions through the use of spells and potions. These people were viewed at the most as having special powers, but were not considered in a negative light. (Ben- Yehuda, 1980) The official belief of the Catholic Church up and into the 13th century was that witchcraft was an illusion. In 1326 Pope John XXII took the papal seat. He believed in the presence of witches and issued Super illus specular, which acknowledged that magic was real, and a heresy. This gave the inquisitors the power they needed to hunt out and punish witches. Punishment for practicing witchcraft at this time was mild – perhaps a day in the stocks. By the end of the 15th century and for the next 200 years witchcraft would become an “elaborate demonological theology” (Ben- Yehuda, 1980) that captured the interest of not only the clergy and the law, but the general public as well. The last official execution for witchcraft was in 1782.


Factors Influencing the Witch hunts.

In his concluding discussion, Ben-Yehuda (1980) credits the new goals set by the Dominicans to extend the inquisition to witchcraft, and the massive social upheaval that Europe was experiencing as a result of the both the Reformation, and the renaissance for creating the conditions for the witch craze. Although these are factors that led to and helped sustain the witch craze, I believe he is omitting one of most important factors; the printing press.

Thirty years after the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1440, two Dominican order inquisitors, James Sprenger, and Henry Kramer wrote Melleus maleficarum or The Witch’s Hammer in order to refute claims that witches didn’t exist. Although this wasn’t the only book about witchcraft published (at least fifteen different books were written (Ben- Yehuda, 1980)) it was certainly the most influential. This book was divided into three parts. The first section provided arguments about the existence of witches, the second was a detailed description on how to identify them and the final section provided information of the legalities of witchcraft and how to sentence witches. Its popularity was almost immediate and was reprinted at least 20 times between 1574 and 1669. (Schlain, 1998) At one point it was only second to the bible in popularity. (Lovelace).

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How is it possible that one printed book could be the purveyor of the horrors of the witch-hunts? Ben-Yehuda states “Its enormous influence was practically guaranteed, owing not only to its authoritative appearance but also to its extremely wide distribution.”(p. 11) With-out the printing press the distribution and multiple printings would not have been possible. He also raises another important point-the fact that the book had an authoritative appearance, which was critical for the success of this text.

Europe was in the midst of great social change at this time. The Reformation brought about a challenge to the moral authority of the church. Scientific and technological innovations where changing the way people lived, thought, and worked. People were moving into urban areas, which changed the traditional feudal order and hierarchy. All this change led to social instability and confusion. In a state of upheaval people look for moral guidance and authority to explain what is happening and what can be done about it. Melleus maleficarum offered this moral guidance and authority. Because of its contents, structure and printed form Melleus maleficarum provided a powerful new ideology that people were seeking.

An ideology has several features. It provides an authoritative explanation of events. It contains “suasive images” that have the power to arouse emotions, direct mass action, and a promise that this course will restore the pre-existing situation. (Geertz 1964) Lovelace reminds us that understanding the world according to scientific principal was in its infancy. In an attempt to understand the world, people often accredited unexplainable events to magic. “The Malleus drew upon those beliefs, and, by its very existence, reinforced them and brought them into the codified belief system of the Catholic Church. “ (Lovelace)

It was not just the contents of the book that made it so powerful, but the fact that it was a book was also key. Eisenstien (1979) says “the deep penetration of new controls to all departments of life becomes more explicable when we note that printed books are more portable than pulpits, more numerous than priests, and the messages they contain more easily internalized.” (p. 428) Much of what had been passed down orally was now being recorded in books. Ong (1982) tells us that in an oral culture, information passed along did not have the same permanence as printed text. The information was provided in the here and now and was subject to revision according to the situation. Printed text offered the same information but it was being presented in a new way- one that made it very difficult to ignore or alter. As Eisenstein(1979) tells us, it offered precise rules or codes about how things were to be done. Malleus offered clues to identification of witches. For example the printed texts informed that witches were often older single women with cats. Perhaps before this book was printed, you could choose to ignore this type of gossip, but once it was published, it presented an authoritative voice that one could not ignore. Neighbours and even family members reported one another.

Although the printing press was not the cause of the European witch craze of the 1400 through 1700’s, it was a technology that allowed for the mass production of material that was instrumental in the dissemination of information that fed the witch-hunt craze. The rapidly changing social order, the pressure to control ones behavior, and the major changes that were happening with-in the church were certainly critical factors. Without the printed texts, the witch-hunts would never have been as devastating as they were.

The witch-hunts do not directly affect literacy or education today, but there is a lesson to be learned. Dewar (1998) warns us that many developments have unintended consequences which often dominate the intended ones. Although the Catholic Church may have seen the benefits of the printing of intentions and the bible, it surely didn’t see the unintended consequence; that being the protestant reformation. The witch-hunts are another example of unintended consequences. “ If the future is to be dominated by unintended consequences, it would be a good idea to get to those consequences as quickly as possible….. or you will be overrun.” (p. 25) He goes on to say that if large institutions such as schools and governments choose to deal with inappropriate use through bans and firewalls, they may well find they have a reformation (or witch-hunt)on their hands. One that may have results of which they have no control. It is critical that we stay on top of these things and deal with them quickly in a creative way- not by pretending they don’t exist.

For more information about the witch-hunts view the following video.

Resources

Ben- Yehuda, N. (1980). The european witch craze of the 14th to 17th centuries: A sociologist’s perspective. The American Journal of Sociology , 86 (1), 1-31.

Dewar, J. (1998). The Information Age and the Printing Press:Looking Backwards to See Ahead. US: RAND Publications

Eisenstien, E. (1979). The Printing Press as an Agent of Change (Vol. 1). West Hanover, US: Cambridge University Press.

Gilmore, M. P. (1952). The World of Humanism 1453-1517. In E. Langer (Ed.), The Rise of Modern Europe. New York.

Lovelace, W. (n.d.). Malleus Maleficarum Introduction. Retrieved October 2009, from Wicasta’s Writing: http://www.wicasta.com/writing /?p=61

Mullins, W. (1972). On the Concept of Ideology in Political Science. The American Political Science Review.

Ong, W. (2002). Orality and Literacy. Great Britain: Routeledge.

Russell, J. (1972). Witchcraft in the Middle Ages. Cornell University Press.

Schlain, L. (1998). The Alphabet Versus the Goddess. US: Penguin Compass.

The Burning Times Documentary Part 5, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TR2dHbA-orw&feature=related

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October 31, 2009   2 Comments

Commentary #3 – Associative Information Structures Revisited

“Indeed, printing made textual overload a permanent condition: more books were produced in each succeeding century, and new editions preserved all books that changing cultural norms continued to regard as important… What many have called the “information revolution” ushered in by the computer is only the most recent manifestation of a problem that is now 500 years old.” (Bolter, p.83)

AssociativeInformationStructures

Were Bush and Engelbart’s claims that associative information structures are likely to improve human ability to approach and solve complex problems valid?

Referred to as the conceptual creator of ‘hypertext’, Vannevar Bush was amongst the first to propose the development of a mechanical machine capable of organizing and displaying information in a way that made it possible to ‘make sense’ of it in the hope of solving some rather complex problems. His article, As We May Think, “…presaged the idea of the Internet and the World Wide Web and was directly influential on the fathers of the hypertext and the Internet as we know it today. Ted Nelson, who coined the term “hypertext” in 1967, describes Bush’s article as describing the principles of it.” (Malone)

Bush was convinced that many of the technologies developed by scientists during the war had practical applications for everyday use. “The world has arrived at an age of cheap complex devices of great reliability; and something is bound to come of it.” (Bush, p. 1) Bush was clearly frustrated with the archaic way in which information was being stored and retrieved. “Professionally our methods of transmitting and reviewing the results of research are generations old and by now are totally inadequate for their purpose… publication has been extended far beyond our present ability to make real use of the record.” (Bush, p. 2) He pointed out how improvements in the science of photography led to the development of new technologies like the microfilm and facsimile. He foreshadowed how further modification and extension this technology would eventually lead to things almost beyond imagination “… it would be advantages to be able to snap a camera and look at the picture immediately.” as was the case with the Polaroid camera and today’s digital cameras. (Bush, p. 3) Most visionary however was Bush’s notion of a ‘memex’ machine.

“The memex and its description have long been hailed as inspiration for the creators of hypertext and even the web.” (Malone) As Bush explained it, “Man cannot hope fully to duplicate this mental process [intricacy of trails] artificially… but it should be possible to beat the mind decisively in regard to the permanence and clarity of the items resurrected from storage.” (Bush, p.7) Memex would not only have the capability of storing huge amounts of information (albeit on microfilm), as with the human mind which operates by association, the memex machine would likewise have the ability to select by association. The memex “affords an immediate step, however, to associative indexing, the basic idea of which is a provision whereby any item may be caused at will to select immediately and automatically another. This is the essential feature of the memex. The process of tying two items together is the important thing.” (Bush, p.8) The tying together (trail) of information is precisely what hypertext does today.

Douglas C. Engelbart was another one of those early computer pioneers interested in the study of HCI (human computer interaction) and the development of hypertext. He was credited with inventing the computer mouse. Like Bush, he was also committed to the development and use of computers and computer networks in an effort to solve some of the world’s most perplexing problems.

Engelbart understood the uniqueness behind Bush’s memex machine, particularly the notion of duplicating a trail so that information could be shared with others. “Making it easy to establish and follow the associative trails makes practical a new symbol-structuring process whose use can make a significant difference in the concept structuring and b[a]sic methods of work. It is also probable that clever usage of associative-trail manipulation can augment the human’s process structuring and executing capa[b]ilities so that he could successfully make use of even more powerful symbol-structure man[i]pulation processes utilizing the Memex capabilities.” (Engelbart, Examples and Discussions, Background: Comments Related to Bush’s Article) Engelbart tested this principle by developing a sequencing technique and applying it to his computer card coding system.

Engelbart firmly believed that technologies such as computers would someday help mankind by “…improvin[g] the intellectual effectiveness of the individual human being.” (Engelbart, Introduction) He used computer card coding/punching techniques to demonstrate how associative linking could worked “There was no convenient way to link these cards together so that the train of thought could later be recalled by extracting the ordered series of notecards. An associative-trail scheme similar to that out lined by Bush for his Memex could conceivably be implemented with these cards to meet this need and add a valuable new symbol-structuring process to the system… A very quick and simple human process thus initiates the automatic extraction of the next item on the associative trail.” (Engelbart, Examples and Discussions, Background: Some Possibilities, Associative Linking Possibilities)

Engelbart understood the link between entering data and retrieving results. He realized that more knowledge could be had if we could find some way to link existing knowledge together. He also believed that similar processes could be used to enhance human intellect, something he felt was needed if mankind hoped to keep abreast of the world’s problems “… we will have amplified the intelligence of the human by organizing his intellectual capabilities into higher levels of synergistic structuring.” (Engelbart, Introduction)

Engelbart’s 1968 hypermedia demonstration on human computer interaction showed how the computer could be used to deal with everyday tasks. The information he presented was in a simple hypertext. It demonstrated many different methods of organization and how each was appropriate to the task at hand.

Both Bush and Engelbart firmly believed that properly constructed associative information structures would be useful in helping mankind to solve some of life’s most puzzling and complex problems. Bush’s memex machine was the precursor to the computer. Engelbart worked with some of the first computers ever built. He knew that these machines were capable of performing complicated mathematical calculations more accurately and far quicker than any human could. Like Bush, he realized that the storing and retrieving of vast amounts of information was the next logical step in the development of computer technologies. It would be our responsibility to ensure that both the information and the technology were used in an appropriate manner and to the benefit, and not the detriment, of the entire human race.

References

Bolter, J.D. (2001). Writing Space: Computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print. Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Bush, V. (1945). As we may think. The Atlantic Monthly, 176(1), 101-108. Retrieved from: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/194507/bush

Engelbart, Douglas C. Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework. Summary Report AFOSR-3223 under Contract AF 49(638)-1024, SRI Project 3578 for Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, Ca., October 1962.

Malone, Erin. (2002). Foreseeing the Future: The Legacy of Vannevar Bush, Boxes and Arrows, 2007.

Picture retrieved from here.

October 31, 2009   1 Comment

Commentary #2 – Which came first, culture or technology?

“It is not a question of seeing writing as an external technological force that influences or changes cultural practices; instead writing is always a part of culture.… technologies do not determine the course of culture or society, because they are not separate agents that can act on culture from the outside.” (Bolter, p. 19)

tn_head-case http://stephilosophy.blogspot.com/

To answer this question, we need to begin with a definition of ‘culture’ and ‘technology’ as it relates to knowledge. Culture can be defined as “… the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations.” (Merriam-Webster) Technology is defined as “…the practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area.” (Merriam-Webster) The distinction between each is clear, as is the connection between the two. Culture is about acquiring knowledge while technology is about applying knowledge. There has been some debate about culture and technology and whether they are inseparable or not. This commentary will take a look at three of these arguments.

In Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print, Bolter was very clear as to what he believed, particularly when it came to writing. “The technical and the cultural dimensions of writing are so intimately related that it is not useful to try to separate them…” (Bolter, p. 19) Bolter went to great lengths to explain the connection between technology and culture; how different technologies of writing involved different materials and that these materials were used in different ways and for different reasons. He used ancient writing as an example. Technologies such as papyrus, ink, and the art of book making may have been common to all cultures but what was different were the writing styles and genders of ancient writing and the social and political practices of ancient rhetoric. He argued that modern printing practices followed a similar pattern as does today’s technologies. Computers, browsers, word processors are our writing technologies but these technologies don’t change cultures per say. If anything, culture has a way of initiating changes in technology.

In his book, Orality and Literacy, Ong argued that the introduction of writing and print literacy’s have fundamentally restructured consciousness and culture. In chapter four of his book, Ong discussed the development of script and how this restructures our consciousness. Ong claimed that “…writing (and especially alphabetic writing) is a technology, calling for the use of tools and other equipment… Technologies are not mere exterior aids but also interior transformations of consciousness and never more than when they affect the word.” (Ong, p. 80 – 81) Ong suggested that humans are naturally tool-employing beings and that these tools create opportunities for new modes of expression that would not otherwise exist. He used the example of the violinist who internalizes the technology (violin) making the tool seemly second nature, or a part of the self. “The use of a technology can enrich the human psyche, enlarge the human spirit, intensifying its interior life.” (Ong, p. 82) In terms of culture and technology, Ong’s technological determinism clearly makes it impossible for him to separate the two.

In Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, Marshall McLuhan argued that technology was nothing more than an extension of man. “The shovel we use for digging holes is a kind of extension of the hands and feet. The spade is similar to the cupped hand, only it is stronger, less likely to break, and capable of removing more dirt per scoop than the hand. A microscope, or telescope is a way of seeing that is an extension of the eye.” (Kappelman) When an individual or society makes use of a technology in such a way that it extends the human body or the human mind, it does so at the expense of some other technology which is then either modified or amputated. “The need to be accurate with the new technology of guns made the continued practice of archery obsolete. The extension of a technology like the automobile “amputates” the need for a highly developed walking culture, which in turn causes cities and countries to develop in different ways. The telephone extends the voice, but also amputates the art of penmanship gained through regular correspondence.” (Kappelman) McLuhan later developed a tetrad to explain his theory. It consisted of four questions or laws; what does the technology extend, what does it make obsolete, what is retrieved and what does the technology reverse into if it is overextended. As was the case with Ong, McLuhan did not make any clear distinction between technology and culture.

Bolter disagrees with the assessment of technological determinists like McLuhan’s “extension of man” claim and Ong’s “restructured consciousness”. He uses cause and effect to prove his point. He points to the early beginnings of the World Wide Web, and how technology (hardware and software) was used to create it. According to Bolter, culture was responsible for changing the Web into “… a carnival of commercial and self-promotional Wes sites…” (Bolter, p. 20) Culture then demanded changes to the hardware and software to allow for such things as censorship. “Wherever we start in such a chain of cause and effect, we can identify an interaction between technical qualities and social constructions – an interaction so intimate that it is hard to see where the technical ends and the social begins.” (Bolter, p. 20) Bolter doesn’t adhere to the ‘doom and gloom’ rhetoric of McLuhan who was “…deeply concerned about man’s willful blindness to the downside of technology.” (Kappelman) and he in mindful of Ong who said “Once the word is technologized, there is no effective way to criticize what technology has done with it…” (Ong, p. 79) Instead, Bolter believed that “… it is possible to understand print technology is an agent of change without insisting that it works in isolation or in opposition to other aspects of culture.” (Bolter, p. 19 – 20)

It seems reasonable to assume that because technology can infringe upon culture and culture can impinge on technology, the two are in a sense inseparable. This may not be a case of one coming before the other as much as both of them coexisting at the same time. Either way, we only need to be cognizant of the fact that both will continue to evolve either as a result of or in spite of the other.

References

Bolter, J.D. (2001). Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print. Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

culture. (2009). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved October 31, 2009, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/culture

Kappelman, Todd (July 2002), Marshall McLuhan:”The Medium is the Message”, Probe Ministries. Retrieved from http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/mcluhan.html#text2

Ong, Walter J. (2002). Orality and Literacy (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.

technology. (2009). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved October 31, 2009, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/technology

Picture retrevied from http://stephilosophy.blogspot.com/

October 31, 2009   1 Comment

From Handwriting to Typing

Please visit this link From Handwriting to Typing to view the research project by Catherine Gagnon and Tracy Gidinski.

October 31, 2009   No Comments

Pen and Paper Project

Hello all

Please take a few minutes to explore our Google Website on Pen and Paper.

Enjoy!
Ed Stuerle & Bruce Spencer

October 31, 2009   1 Comment

How Did We Get to Number 1?

ARE WE MORE THAN THE SUM OF OUR NUMBERS

Introduction

    Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher, once stated that everything could be expressed in numbers (Lahanas, n.d.). Numbers are an integral part of our society; they can represent meaning, communicate significance and conotate importance. The evolution of numbers has infiltrated every aspect of society as it has changed the characteristics of reading, writing, language and therefore communication. Even Galileo declared that the very language of nature was mathematics (Nickel, n.d.).
    In the following paragraphs, the origin and history of numbers will be discussed, along with the impact the development and application of the numeric system has had on our culture; including our social, educational and commercial systems.

Origin of Numbers

    The first and oldest calculating system was the hand (Ifrah, 2000). Then came notches (tally sticks: various dates are debated), pebbles, followed by numbers on strings (Ifrah, 1985). These are all considered memory aids or mnemonic devices, which allowed society to store and record imperative information (ETEC540, 2009). The abacus, (which is a direct descendant from pebble counting: pebble meaning calculus in Latin), was than followed by Roman numerals (Ifrah, 1985). The invention of numbers was not a linear process; some cultures developed numbering systems independent from each other, or tried to improve on an old system when they discovered that it did not meet their needs.
    Egyptian, Chinese, Roman, Greek, Mayan, Babylonian, Inca, and Indian numbering system were developed; some of which were base 10, 20 and 60 (Uhl, 2008). Our present numbering system is a base-ten system, which means numbers 0 – 9 are used and multiplied by increasing powers of ten (Uhl, 2008). This is a Hindu-Arabic system developed in 60 AD, which was preceded by the Roman numeral system (Uhl, 2008). The Mayans, Aztecs, Celts, and Basques had a base 20 systems, while the Sumerians and Babylonians had a base 60 system (Ifrah, 2000).  This is where the division of 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour and the division of a circle being 360 degrees originated (Ifrah, 2000).
    Numbering systems came out of necessary economic and social development, and therefore there are no differences between prehistoric rock paintings, memory aids (mnemonic devices), winter counts, tallies, knotted cords, pictographs or the alphabet; these were all forms of necessary information storage and messaging (ETEC540, 2009).

Changes to Culture

Impact on the Social System.

The technology of numbers has infiltrated every aspect of our culture, and is closely linked to language and the alphabet. “To realize that representation begins with language, actualized in the creation of a reproducible formal structure, is already to apprehend the fundamental tie between language and number[s]” (Zerzan, 2009, p.1). The numerical system has had a substantial impact on the social systems that followed. The meaning behind 1st, 2nd and 3rd place or level 1, 2 and 3 on the salary scale, are some examples. 

Numbers have significantly impacted the communication system, and therefore the social structure of society. Whether it is a telephone number, fax number, e-mail address, pager number or cell phone number, it is the basis of many forms of communication. And how a society communicates with one another determines its boundaries and defines its communities. Technology creates a new language in society and along with it a different way of communicating.

Some argue that numbers were more than a cultural invention; that it reflected more of a cognitive evolution (DeCruz, 2006). Whereas others believed that numerical concepts were a gradual accumulation of mathematical knowledge, and therefore the result of cultural evolution (DeCruz, 2006). Regardless, the technology of numbers has evolved to fill the necessary voids of knowledge, information storage, and data analysis.

Impact on the Educational System

The invention of time using numbers altered the educational system. Time allowed the increments of classes. Numbers permitted the use of grades, along with the conditioning of the technology of numbers (Postman, 1992). Grades, IQ and GPA’s communicate to society one’s level of intelligence. Numbers have given us chronological age with various meanings. We start school at age 6, age 16 comes freedom and independence with a driver’s license, and we end school at age 18, at which age we are considered an ‘adult’. Completing these milestones is an expectation of society

With numbers came the advent of calculation, math and science. “The invention and democratization of our positional number-system has had immeasurable consequences for human society, since it facilitated the explosion of science, of mathematics and of technology” (Ifrah, 2000, p. 594).  Scientists have linked math to art and music, and surmise that the language of mathematics involves a particular kind of visual and sensory motor thinking that goes beyond ordinary language (Peat, 1990). Mathematics is considered a unique language related to clear cut criterion that can begin or end communication (Nickel, n.d.).

Numbers allow easy referencing. The dewy decimal system is built into every library while numbering of chapters and verses in the bible allow access to passages. Previously the religious elite would have to read through many papyrus scrolls or manuscripts to locate a specific verse or passage.

 Impact on Commercial and Commerce System.

Numbers and time have had a significant effect on the commerce system.  “The division of time into regular, predictable units is fundamental to the operation of society” (Weisman, 1995, p.1). For example, the clock was invented by monks in monasteries to provide precision in worship rituals. Now it is a product of capitalism, for without the clock there would be no workday, no standardized production or standardized product (Postman, 1992).

Numbers created a clearer way of communicating trade. Quality, quantity and grade of product are all assigned a numerical value, each representing or denoting a specific concept. Grade A eggs or a ton of number 2 grade Winter Wheat has definition and meaning to those in agriculture.

The banking system is number based. Every business transaction has numbers associated with it. Whether it is in the form of pay cheques, taxes, social security numbers, account numbers, property tax roll numbers, hydro account numbers, etc. Credit card numbers are large financial gains for credit card companies, and allows the acquisition of goods that otherwise would not be amassed by the population.

Language of Computer

The creation of numbers allowed the binary system – the language of computers – to be established. Computers have changed every aspect of our culture, including the way we learn and think, acquire education, commerce, our community identities and how we conduct business.

Digital books have replaced papyrus rolls, manuscripts and paperbacks. One manufacturer advertises that their digital book holds up to ten bibles, thereby replacing the standard unit of measuring manuscripts, which was sheep (Keep, 2001). Parchment was originally made of sheep and a 160-page book was referred to as a forty sheep book (Keep, 2001).

The advancement of computers has changed the very nature and space of reading and writing, and challenges our concept of knowledge. It has impacted the entertainment and news industry, which is the very mode of communication that feeds society. The long-term effects of computers are still to be seen.

    Conclusion

     The advent of numbers has had a profound impact on society; from a social, education and commerce viewpoint; providing the foundation of many essential aspects of one’s life. “New technologies alter the structure of our interests: the things we think about. They alter the character of our symbols: the things we think with.  And they alter the nature of community” (ETEC540, 2009). Numbers have changed how we communicate, the spaces in which we read and write, how we perceive meaning, store data and organize information. In essence, everything.  

     References

    DeCruz, H. (2006). Why are some numerical concepts more successful than others? An evolutionary perspective on the history of number concepts. Evolution and Human Behavior, 27, 306-323.

    ETEC540. (2009). Text technologies: the changing spaces of reading and writing. Retrieved from https://www.vista.ubc.ca/webct/urw/lc5116011.tp0/cobaltMainFrame.dowebct?JSESSIONIDVISTA=Z2RGKkRXyLxB4z8tZMLhcLJc9QkgMbVsZywhJn4GTb7cf2gJSCH9!-170808859!node08.vista.ubc.ca!20001!-1!2016739437!node09.vista.ubc.ca!20001!-1

    Flegg, G. (1983). Numbers: Their History and Meaning. New York: Schocken Books.

    Glaser, A. (1971). History of Binary and other nondecimal numeration.Pennsylvania: Tomash Publishers.

    Ifrah, G. (1985). From one to zero. New York: Viking Penguin, Inc.

    Ifrah, G. (2000). The universal history of numbers from prehistory to the invention of the computer. New York: John Wiley & sons, Inc.

    Keep, C., McLaughlin, T., & Parmar, R. (2001). The electronic labyrinth. Retrieved from http://www2.iath.virginia.edu/elab/elab.html

    Lahanas, M. (n.d.). Pythagoras: The whole thing is a number. Retrieved from http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/PythagorasNumber.htm

    Nickel, G. (n.d.). Reason’s Nature— The Role of Mathematics. Retrieved from http://sophia-iberia.pbworks.com/f/Reason’s+Nature+-+Role+of+Mathematics+G-Nickel+Madrid.pdf.

Peat, D. (1990).  Mathematics and the language of nature. Retrieved from http://www.fdavidpeat.com/bibliography/essays/maths.htm

Postman, N. (1992). Technopoly: The surrender of culture to technology. New York: Vintage Books.

 Uhl, T. (2008). Evolution of Number Systems. Retrieved from education.uncc.edu/cmste/summer/newcourse9.htm

  Weissman, J. (1995). A Brief History of Clocks: From Thales to Ptolemy.Retrieved  from 1995http://www.google.com/search?q=A+Brief+History+of+Clocks%3A+From+Thales+to+Ptolemy&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7SUNA_en

 Z rzan, J. (2009). Number: Its Origin and Evolution. Retrieved fromhttp://www.primitivism.com/number.htm

October 31, 2009   No Comments

The Role of the Play

Theatre scripts and plays have had an important role since ancient history. This influence has continued throughout modern history, especially the way in which they have combined orality and literacy and adapted to or incorporated each new technology as it has appeared. Ong mentions several times the importance of theatre and drama, which, since the Greeks, “was composed as a written text and in the west was the first verbal genre, and for centuries was the only verbal genre to be controlled completely by writing” (2002, p.139). Hornbrook also mentions that “Although theatrical events have been a part of human culture since antiquity, prior to the twentieth century, drama was confined to sporadic and occasional bacchanals, festivals, rituals, celebrations and theatre performances,” (1998, p.151) whereas, Cimolino assures us that, “Theatre is one of the surest signs of democracy. Its roots are to be found not in despotism, but rather in ancient democratic Greece, which created the debating forum in order to engender lively thought among a free people” (2006).
I believe that while literature has been revered for the impact which it has on academic minds, it is the play and theatre which have the ability to reach out to all of us. Worthen explains “Our understanding of language and knowledge have been forever altered by the impact of print; yet the Western stage remains an important sight for the transformation of writing into the embodied discourses of action, movement and speech” (2003, p.2). Literature is for the elite, whereas plays and theatre have always been for the common man. A play can be dissected by intellectuals, but once it is performed it “is an important device for communities to collectively share stories, to participate in political dialogue, and to break down the increasing exclusion of marginalized groups” (Van Erven. 2000, p.2)
In academic research there is a distinction made between drama in which a play can be analysed in a similar way to literature and theatre, which is considered to be a non academic pursuit. Fortier states that “despite the assimilation of drama into literary studies and despite the attempt to see theatre as non-verbal literature, literary theory ignores those who have made the most profound contributions to a specific theory of theatre: drama and theatre belong to literary theory but theatre theorists do not.” (1997, p.4). In many universities this distinction is made, as it is considered that an academic study of a play in drama can be graded quantitatively, whereas a theatre production can only be graded qualitatively. A possible reason for academics to view theatre as a lesser art is given to us by Ong when he explains that “Analytic explicatory thought has grown out of oral wisdom only gradually, and perhaps is still divesting itself of oral residue” (2002, p.169). In practical terms a student who decides to study drama in an English university is required to study the same number of theoretical hours as a literature student, plus an equal number of practical hours, not counting rehearsals and performances, in order to receive the same number of credits. Another explanation for this discrimination between oral performance and the written script could be that academic life has been gradually setting itself apart from the common people. Van Erven explains that “Community theatre is an important device for communities to collectively share stories, to participate in political dialogue, and to break down the increasing exclusion of marginalized groups.”(2000, p.2)
Hornbrook relates that there have been four major changes in the way that we communicate: spoken language, written language, the printed book and finally electronic forms of communication. He also explains that the “Examination of the contrasts between oral, manuscript, literate, and finally, electronic cultures can generate insights into the biases and proclivities of a culture dominated by one form of communication or another. Interestingly, these moments of transition coincide with pre-eminent periods in theatre history” (1998, p.152). He agrees with Ong that the written script or play has existed since the Greeks, became prolific from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, became a weapon for social change in the twentieth century challenging the social norms of this period and finally its role may well be changing as “Antithetically, naturalistic drama, in the theatre and on television, denies inventive experience to its spectators, ensuring that they are further silenced in an age in which participation and active engagement are not easily come by” (1998, p160).
Rush explains that in the past theatre began as a celebration of public events in which most of the populace took part. Political, religious and cultural aspects were all incorporated into performances and unlike modern audiences the spectators did not “perceive a great difference between participating in a ritual where issues of belief are paramount, and attending a theatrical performance where suspension of disbelief is at issue.”(1994, p.3) The main ontological difference appears to have been the way in which the actors performed. Cimolino proclaims “Shakespeare’s work is eternal, universal … It tells stories of people like you and me — in our diversity, across time and origin and experience, we share a common humanity. And Shakespeare’s genius was that he seemed to predict the challenges that future societies would face.”(2006). Cartwight tells us that “English drama at the beginning of the sixteenth century was allegorical, didactic, and moralistic; but by the end of the century theatre was censured as emotional and even immoral.” (1999, p.3) Censure has always existed, but the written play has confronted many taboos both in print and in performance. Ibsen was one of the most controversial, modern playwrights. Tans tells us that “A Doll’s House, which many consider the first true feminist play, was banned in England for a time. Despite resistance to his work, Ibsen continued to raise awareness for women’s rights” (2007, p.93) It was not until well into the twentieth century that Ibsen’s plays were accepted and yet he had a profound influence on other playwrights as Tans mentions “Ibsen found support among his artistic peers, such as the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950), who was influenced by Ibsen’s example to examine social concerns in his own work.”(2007, p.93) Ibsen is an example of how plays, allow us to step out of ourselves and to look at life from someone else’s point of view. Literature tends to be a solitary activity, whereas plays and their public performances allow a playwright’s message to have a much more direct impact on society.
Modern playwrights such as Willy Russell tackle universal social issues such as class stigma. His most famous play Educating Rita started out as a working script which he read to drama students at his ex college in Liverpool to get their feedback. Willy Russell then honed his work and it was then performed at a local theatre where it met with great success as it related so well to local social issues. However, the play was so successful that it gained national attention, from there it caught the attention of the film industry and finally it ended up as an international film. This example shows the power of a play not to be original, (Pygmalion has almost the same plot) but to be in touch with fundamental human issues which have existed and will continue to exist across generations. His plays are written for the everyman instead of the academic elite.
In recent years many education authorities have cut their budgets for the arts in schools. As these subjects are considered less academic it has been felt that children and their education will not be seriously affected. However, there are studies which show that the opposite is true. Catterall in the book “Critical Links” edited by Deasy comments on the work of Goodman and tells us that “dramatic play is a vehicle whereby children can both practice and learn about literary skills and begin to develop “storying skills” which might be used in story writing” (2002, p.37)
Hornbrook warns us that “Now, most of us witness, via television, what would have amounted to several lifetimes of drama for previous generations.”(1998, p.151) This may be true and the play may change its appearance, but I believe it is unlikely that it will disappear. Prenki and Selman explain that “Theatre can say the unsayable. This capacity is perhaps its most central asset. Whether at the individual, group, or public level, theatre gives us ways to express: our dilemmas; our political views, whether conservative or radical; our insights, however tentative; our problems, shortcomings, fears, intentions, complaints, angers, commitments.” (2000, p.101) Theatre, drama and the written play have always been an important part of our lives. They have lived in a constant flux of change and will continue to do so in the future. The recent advances in technology will assure that there will be major upheavals in the way that plays will be written and performed. Oddey and White state that, “it will be shown that the central characteristics of the mediated stage lie in the conceptualization and design of the coalescence between actuality and virtuality, between materiality and immateriality and between physicality and virtuality.” (2006, p.157). Yomiuri (2008) gives us a concrete example of what can be expected in the future in his write up in the “The Yomiuri Shimbun” of how “Robotic technology will enter unfamiliar territory Tuesday when two humanoid robots make their stage acting debut alongside human performers in a play at Osaka University.”

References
Cartwright, K. (1999) Theatre and Humanism: English Drama in the Sixteenth Century. Cambridge University Press. New York, USA. Retrieved the 10th of October 2009 from: http://site.ebrary.com/lib/urse/Doc?id=10064309&ppg=3

Cimolino, A. (July 4, 2006). Theatre defines us.(Comment)(Column). Globe & Mail (Toronto, Canada), A15. Retrieved October 17th, 2009, from Global Issues In Context via Gale: http://find.galegroup.com/gic/start.do?prodId=GIC

Deasy, R. Editor (2002) Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development. Retrieved October 21st, 2009 from: http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/29/d0/52.pdf

Fortier, M. (1997) Theatre Theory:An Introduction. Routledge London, England. Retrieved the 7th of October 2009 from:
http://site.ebrary.com/lib/urse/Doc?id=10057267&ppg=12

Hornbrook, D. (Editor). (1998) On the Subject of Drama. Routledge
London, England. Retrieved the 14th of October 2009 from:
http://site.ebrary.com/lib/urse/Doc?id=10070831&ppg=164

Oddey, A. and White, C. Editors. ( 2006) Potentials of Spaces : The Theory and Practice of Scenography and Performance. Intellect Books. Bristol, England. Retrieved October 29th, 2009, from Global Issues In Context via Gale: http://site.ebrary.com/lib/urse/Doc?id=10158462&ppg=158

Ong,W. (1982) Orality and literacy: The technologizing of the word. Methuen. London, England.

Prenki.T. and Selman.J. Editors. ( 2000) Popular Theatre in Political Culture. Intellect Books. Bristol, England. Retrieved October 29th, 2009, from Global Issues In Context via Gale: http://site.ebrary.com/lib/urse/Doc?id=10019962&ppg=135

Rush. R. (1994) Greek Tragic Theatre. Routledge. Florence, USA . Retrieved the 7th of October, 2009 from:
http://site.ebrary.com/lib/urse/Doc?id=10100177&ppg=14

Tran, L. (2007). Art, Drama/Performance. In F. Malti-Douglas (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender: Culture Society History, Vol. 1(pp. 92-96). Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA. Retrieved October 17, 2009, from Global Issues In Context via Gale: http://find.galegroup.com/gic/start.do?prodId=GIC

Van Erven, E. 2000. Community Theatre : Global Perspectives. Routledge
London. England. Retrieved the 27th of September 2009 from:
http://site.ebrary.com/lib/urse/Doc?id=10053887&ppg=2

Worthen. W. 2003. Shakespeare and the Force of Modern Performance. Cambridge University Press. New York. USA. Retrieved the 27th of September 2009 from: http://site.ebrary.com/lib/urse/docDetail.action?docID=10063475&p00=theatre%20%20literacy

Yomiuri. S. (2008) “Robot actors to make stage debut in Japanese play.” Global Issues In Context. Gale.Tokyo, Japan. Retrieved October 29th, 2009, from Global Issues In Context via Gale: http://find.galegroup.com/gic/start.do?prodId=GIC

October 31, 2009   No Comments

Comic books and graphic novels: The transformation of reading in the classrooom

 

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Introduction

            Ask many librarians or classroom teachers and they will often remark that the comic is a low form of the written word and does not denote “serious” reading on the part of their students.  Many will not count reading a comic as part of a home reading program or, at the elementary level, will not allow students to read this type of material during class silent reading periods.  Even librarians who willingly add them to their collections often dismiss their importance (Tilley, 2008).  In recent years however, the tide seems to be turning in favour of these pulpy little stories.  Innovative teachers are beginning to accept the role that comics, and their closely related cousins, the graphic novel, are capable of playing in the education of our children (Viadero, 2009).

Accessibility

      Even though there is evidence of the existence of comics dating back over 150 years they became most readily available during the 1930’s in North American news agents and drugstores (Aleixo & Norris, 2007).  This coupled with the low price of the publications made them easily accessible to the public in general and children in particular.  In addition there was little competition from other media at that time for, “the time, money, and attention of children” (Jacobs, 2007).  Jacobs explains that this ease of availability meant that comics offered a different option for the practice of literacy that was beyond the bounds of a child’s formal education (2007).  This increased literacy practice has propelled many children forward as literate members of society and despite the criticisms leveled at the comic world these little books may be better positioned to prepare today’s students for the multiple literacies required in a world where they are constantly inundated by visual images.

Modification and Multimodality

      While comics have been much maligned by educators and were even the topic of televised US Senate hearings in 1954 (Kannenburg, 2008), their potential role in literacy education in the classroom is somewhat more positive.  It is still rare for teachers to embrace their use in literacy training but it seems that regardless of how scholars define the comic form what seems constant is that in this genre the visual is an important element and, “should not be seen as subservient to the written” (Jacobs, 2007).

      It is this combination of text and image that Gunther Kress calls multimodality (Jacobs, 2007).  Jacobs maintains that this shift to thinking about comics as multimodal text rather than as a lesser form of writing is significant in the culture of text (2007).  It is also significant in terms of understanding the power of comics to teach multiliteracy skills required by today’s students.  This valuing of visual literacy has been slow to take hold.  Teachers are taught to believe that beginning readers rely on text and that good readers move beyond pictures but the inclusion of comics and graphic novels into the classroom has provided a new generation with an opportunity for layered deconstruction that may help them scrutinize the manner in which interdependent text and imagery creates what has been called, “a strong sequential narrative” (Williams, 2008).  This layered deconstruction will involve not only an examination of the text and images but will need to consider the comic author’s use of panels in the creation of the story.  These panels guide the reader’s attention and pace the reading in the same way that, “poets use line breaks and punctuation” (Tilley, 2008). 

James Bucky Carter (2007) contends that integration of graphic novels into the classrooms of today will transform the study of English.  A move away from the notion that literacy is purely text-based will help educators move beyond what he calls, “one size fits all” literacy education (Carter, 2007).   This means that the impact of this form of reading may not have had its full impact yet.  Its time may still be coming thanks to technological developments that increasingly rely on the user’s ability to process visual images.

Pathways to learning

      In many curricular areas the reading of comics affords the educator and the reader a unique opportunity to engage in concepts and ideas that would be, depending on the age of the student, unreachable or difficult in traditional text formats.  The inclusion of pictures adds a scaffolding element to learning that can be particularly advantageous in the area of social studies.   Williams (2008) argues that, “graphic novels, like a compelling work of art, or a well-crafted piece of writing have the potential to generate a sense of empathy and human connectedness among students”.  Visuals combined with text allow comic and graphic artists to ask their readers to consider a different point of view and look at a situation through the eyes of another.  In the teaching of social studies this is fundamental to real understanding of both past and current events and represents deep learning on the part of the student.

Conclusion

                  In these ways, comics and graphic novels will continue to impact and modify our views of text in education.  As innovators in the field continue to encourage children to explore this genre the idea that comics are only transitional literature may someday become a thing of the past.  Over the past 80 years the progress may have been slow and there have not been any opportunities for comic-like exclamations like “Pow” or “Ka-bam” but new technologies that require a different form of literacy just may be what the comic needs in order to legitimize itself in education.   

Resources:

 Aleixo, P., & Norris, C. (2007). Comics, Reading and Primary Aged Children. Education & Health, 25(4), 70-73. http://search.ebscohost.com

 Burton, D. (1955). COMIC BOOKS: A TEACHER’S ANALYSIS. Elementary School Journal, 56(2), 73-75. http://search.ebscohost.com

 Carter, J. (2007). Transforming English with Graphic Novels: Moving toward Our “Optimus Prime.”. English Journal, 97(2), 49-53. http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Journals/EJ/0972-nov07/EJ0972Transforming.pdf

 Jacobs, D. (2007). Marveling at The Man Called Nova: Comics as Sponsors of Multimodal Literacy. (pp. 180-205).  http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Journals/CCC/0592-dec07/CO0592Marveling.pdf

 Kannenberg Jr., G. (2008). The Not-So-Untold Story of the Great Comic-Book Scare. Chronicle of Higher Education, 54(37), B19-B20.  http://search.ebscohost.com

Tilley, C. (2008). Reading Comics. School Library Media Activities Monthly, 24(9), 23-26. http://search.ebscohost.com

 Viadero, D. (2009). Scholars See Comics as No Laughing Matter.  Education Week, 28(21), 1-11. http://search.ebscohost.com

 Williams, R. (2008). Image, Text, and Story: Comics and Graphic Novels in the Classroom. Art Education, 61(6), 13-19. http://search.ebscohost.com

 Williams, V., & Peterson, D. (2009). Graphic Novels in Libraries Supporting Teacher Education and Librarianship Programs. Library Resources & Technical Services, 53(3), 166-173. http://search.ebscohost.com

October 31, 2009   No Comments

Remediation of the Chinese Language

chinese

The Chinese logographic system has faced pressures to reform both from within and from external forces over the course of its almost 4000 year evolution. As communication needs of greater numbers of people and wider levels of education were introduced into the language community, more strains were put on the developing linguistic system. The foundation of the Chinese logographic system can be traced back to at least as far as the Shang dynasty’s use of Oracle Bones (1600-1100b.c.e.) (Britannica). The linguistic system that is most widely seen as a unifying force in China was beginning to show in the Han dynasty (206 b.c.e.–220 c.e.) (Norman). The current universal system of Chinese logography has been a strong push of the 20th century leadership (Halsall).

The concept of language remediation is apparent within the Chinese logographic system. In an alphabet-based system only a few dozen characters are required in order to create meaning, whereas in a logographic system each new meaning of an older word requires a new symbol. It is estimated that there may be as many as 80,000 symbols for language meaning units in the Chinese system, but to be fluent in the language requires knowledge of only 3000 to 4000 unique characters (Norman). Each time a new descriptor is added to a word, a new symbol had to be created to coincide with it. In line with Bolter’s view of linguistic remediation (Bolter 2001, p. 23) the new language is built upon the old language, keeping it recognizable but creating something new and worthy of its own recognition.

The use of a logographic system to unify diverse ethnic and dialectic groups would seem to make it easier to control a larger area. The logographic system remains constant throughout the region, but different pronunciations are permitted or expected for each region. The symbol for “dog” would be universal, even if the individual aural versions are different. The Chinese logographic system developed from a system of pictographs used to describe a specific unit of language, typically one item or object (Halsall).

A major problem in trying to unify vastly different areas of a country like China lies in the regional dialects. Cantonese, the second most-spoken Chinese language, is focused in the southern regions of the country. Hakka and Min (both Northern and Southern dialects) are common in the south-eastern coastal regions. Hsiang is found in the south-central portions of China. Wu and Kan are spoken along central regions of the eastern coast. Mandarin dominates the majority of the country. Beijing Mandarin, specifically, has been implemented as the official language of communication in China during the 20th century (Halsall). Regional dialects have not been eliminated since the introduction of the new language policy, but Mandarin is now the required language of educated communications. A powerful central government in Beijing has attempted through its language programs to bring the country together as a single united voice.

Without an easily reproducible way of recording and disseminating written material, art and information of a culture risk being lost in an oral-based history. The technologies of moveable type and the printing press were developed in China, in no small part because of the strains involved in having to reproduce complex symbols repeated for any type of manuscript. The earliest surviving woodblock prints are from the Han Dynasty. Each page was sculpted from a wooden block for use rather than keeping a full set of symbols in supply. Clay-based movable type was invented in the 11th century, followed by wooden type in the 13th century and metal (bronze) type in the 15th century (Needham, pp201-206). Each of these leaps forward in technology provided opportunities to refine and expand upon the language that had come before.

Remediation of the Chinese language can be seen in the 20th century efforts to update the written and spoken word. During the 1920s and 1930s, Chinese intellectuals saw the script as
a serious problem in China’s attempt to become a part of the modern
world. The Chinese language was portrayed as cumbersome, difficult to learn and out of date. (Norman) The goals of reform have been to simplify the logographic process by reducing character strokes, introducing a phonetic alphabet, and instituting a common spoken language. The current spoken language of Putonghua (common language), commonly called Mandarin, was adopted in 1949 and become the language of school instruction in 1956. It is based on Beijing Mandarin (Halsall). Pin yin is the phonetic written alphabet based on Romanization of the logographic system and was introduced in 1958, meant to help spread the learning of Chinese symbols (Britannica). During the Cultural Revolution it was used in part to create common spellings for place names in the country.

The Chinese logographic system and current attempts to modernize communication in the country show how strong the roots of the language truly are. It has survived both subtle and punctuated evolution over nearly 4000 years of use, each time bringing it closer to a universal language for all people in the country. The 20th century’s attempts to update the language are unlikely to antiquate a system that has lasted for millennia, but the continual remediation process may make older works more accessible to the current generation. Efforts like pin yin introduction of symbols in a phonetic way is the gateway to symbolic understanding. The language is not being modified because of obsolescence. It is being updated because of a passion for the long history that the language embraces. Any steps that can be taken to bring together over a billion people so that they can share in a united voice, a united history, and a united sense of self must be seen as a step forward for the evolution of the country. In this particular instance, Bolter’s view of remediation indicates a bringing together of China’s ancient past with its future position as a world player through the power of language.

References:

Bolter, J. D. (2001) Writing space: Computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print (2nd ed.). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Halsall, Paul. Chinese Cultural Studies: The Chinese Language and Writing.
http://acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu/~phalsall/texts/chinlng2.html based on David Crystal, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987)

Needham, Joseph. (1986). Science and Civilization in China: Volume 5, Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Part 1, Paper and Printing. Taipei: Caves Books Ltd.

Norman, Jerry. (2000) Tradition and Transformation in the Chinese Writing System,. http://sites.asiasociety.org/education/VISIBLE_TRACES/curriculum/pdf/CIAessay1.pdf

October 31, 2009   No Comments

Photography

Please review my research paper on my wiki-  Photography:  Historical and Cultural Impact.

Thanks,
Sarah

October 31, 2009   No Comments

Xanadu and Ted Nelson

I found a great site by Ted Nelson called “Ted Nelson’s Computer Paradigm Expressed as One-Liners”. It examines the cultural ramifications of the web and hypertext with a bit of humour. You can visit it here: http://www.xanadu.com.au/ted/TN/WRITINGS/TCOMPARADIGM/tedCompOneLiners.html

A gem under the section titled Two Cheers for the World Wide Web: “The Web is the minimal concession to hypertext that a sequence-and-hierarchy chauvinist could possibly make” (Nelson, 1999)

Reference

Nelson, T. (1999). Ted Nelson’s computer paradigm expressed as one-liners. Available Online 29, October, 2009, from http://www.xanadu.com.au/ted/TN/WRITINGS/TCOMPARADIGM/tedCompOneLiners.html

October 30, 2009   No Comments

Research Project: Braille

My research project on Braille can be viewed on the class Wiki page here!

October 29, 2009   No Comments

The Rise of the Newspaper in America: Boston 1690-1719

Please view my project on the rise of the newspaper in America (focusing on Boston from 1690-1719) at the course wiki.

Please note that my assignment was created in the spirit of hypertext, and as such, it is best to view in wiki rather than me pasting here.

Enjoy!

October 29, 2009   No Comments

The Media Revolution

 

What do YOU think?

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October 28, 2009   1 Comment

William Blake and the Remediation of Print

One might be inclined to view William Blake’s illuminated books as throwbacks to mediaeval illuminated manuscripts. Yet they should rather be understood as “remediating” older media. According to Bolter (2001, p. 23), remediation occurs when a new medium pays homage to an older medium, borrowing and imitating features of it, and yet also stands in opposition to it, attempting to improve on it. In the case of Blake’s illuminated books, one of the older media being remediated was the mediaeval illuminated manuscript, but another medium being remediated was the printed book, which in Blake’s time had already been in use for three centuries.

Blake adopted the way in which the richly illustrated texts of mediaeval illuminated manuscripts combined the iconic and the symbolic so that the former illumined meaning of the latter, the images revealing the spiritual significance of the scripture. Blake also seized upon an aspect of illuminated manuscripts which would later impress John Ruskin as well (Keep, McLaughlin, & Parmar, 1993-2000)—the way in which they served as vehicles for self-expression. The designs of manuscripts such as the Book of Kells and the Book of Lindisfarne, for instance, reflected the native artistic styles of Ireland and Northumbria and often depicted the native flora and fauna of those lands as well. Blake also adopted some of the styles and idioms of illustration found in mediaeval illuminated manuscripts, producing images in some cases quite similar to ones found in mediaeval scriptures and bestiaries (Blunt, 1943, p. 199). It seems that he also embraced the idea, embodied in the creation of illuminated manuscripts, that the written word can be something sacred and powerful and that it is therefore something to be adorned with gold and lively colours.

Blake’s illuminated books broke with the medium of mediaeval manuscripts mainly by virtue of that which they adopted from the medium of the printed book. Blake produced his illuminated books first by making copper plates engraved with images and text, deepening these engravings with the help of corrosive chemicals. He then used inks to form impressions of the plates on sheets of paper, often colouring the impressed images further with watercolour paints (Blake, 1967, p. 11-2). His use of the copper plates and inks bore similarities to the use of movable type and ink to create printed books. For many years it was believed that, despite this similarity, Blake developed his illuminated books partly as a reaction against the mass production of books, hearkening back to the methods of mediaeval craftsmen – specifically the artists who produced illuminated manuscripts –  who created unique items rather than mass produced articles. Consequently, it was believed that after he produced the copper plates for the illuminated books he created only individual books on commission. This belief, first championed by 19th century writers who claimed William Blake as a predecessor (Symmons, 1995), has recently been overturned, however, by the work of Joseph Viscomi. As a scholar and printer who attempted to physically reproduce the methods that Blake employed to create his illuminated books, Viscomi concluded that Blake mass produced these books in small editions of about ten or more books each (Adams, 1995, p. 444).

The primary way in which the illuminated book was meant to improve on the printed book did not lie in the avoidance of mass production, but rather in the relation between the image and the word. In printed books, engraved images could be included with the text, but as the text had to be formed with movable type the image had to be included as something separate and additional (Bolter, 2001, p. 48). In Blake’s illuminated books, in contrast, the written word belonged to the whole image first engraved on the copper plate and then transferred to paper. It participated in the imaginative power of the perceived image, rather than just retaining a purely conceptual meaning. As with the text of mediaeval illuminated manuscripts, the words in Blake’s illuminated books often merge the iconic and the symbolic (Bigwood, 1991). For example, in plate 22 of Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, the description of the devil’s speech trails off into a tangle of diabolical thorns. Furthermore, the words are produced in the same colours used in the images to which they belong, and partake in their significance—light watercolours being used in the first edition of the joyous Songs of Innocence and dark reticulated inks being used in the gloomier Songs of Experience (Fuller, 2003, p. 263). As John Ruskin later observed, this ability to use colour in the text of illuminated books made it a form of writing that uniquely expressed its creator’s imagination (Ruskin, 1888, p. 99).

Like several other artists of his time, Blake was disturbed by the mechanistic and atomistic conception of nature first put forward by the ancient philosopher Democritus and then later revived around the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by natural philosophers. This was the conception of nature as consisting of atoms in an empty void operating in accordance with mechanistic laws. Blake saw this as connected to the type of rationalism that would impose strict laws of reason on the mind and imprison the divine creative power of the imagination. Like others who opposed the mechanistic and atomistic worldview, Blake was particularly repelled by the mechanistic account of colour offered by Isaac Newton, voicing his objection to “Newton’s particles of light” (Blake, 1988, 153). It was thought that such an account treated colour in isolation from the power of the imagination to which it was naturally connected. It was also seen as severing colour from the living spirit of nature—the poet Goethe famously offering a complex alternative theory of colour which saw it as the result of a dynamic interaction of darkness and light.

For Blake, the printing press would at the very least be symbolic of the mechanistic an atomistic view of the world, the words in the printed text no longer partaking in the power of the imagination and the visible image but rather consisting of atoms of movable type and lying separated by voids of empty space.  The primacy of the imagination would be better served by the medium of illuminated books, where the image did not only illuminate the conceptual meaning of the word but also subsumed the word and imparted a deeper significance to it. The imagination was of central importance for Blake, who was a professional engraver as well as a poet, and for whom the medium of the image was a more fundamental part of his life and work than the written word (Storch, 1991, 458).

The ability to mass produce texts in which the image was primary and the written word secondary would have implications for literacy and education insofar as it could widely disseminate works that encouraged imaginative and perceptual understanding over strictly conceptual thought. While the illuminated book as such never became a widespread medium, some of the principles involved in its remediation of the illuminated manuscript and the printed book survived in the medium of the comic book and the graphic novel, which could also be said to realize some of its implications. These works were also mass produced and also differed from the printed book through the relation between the word and the image. For example, the way in which the symbolic word is made to partake in the imaginative power of the iconic image can be seen in the development of comic books in Britain. Early 20th century British comic books generally consisted of rows of images without words, each image having a block of text below it. When comic books adopted the style that introduced speech bubbles, thought bubbles, and sound effects into the image itself, the words became part of the action.

The illuminated book can also be seen as a precursor of hypertext and its remediation of the printed word, specifically insofar as the image in hypertext is coming to dominate the written word (Bolter, 2001, p. 47). In this regard, hypertext could also be said to be carrying through the implications that illuminated books posed for education and literacy. This is not to say that there are not significant differences between these media, of course. Creators of hypertext may look to the illuminated book for inspiration but leave behind the more laborious aspects of the medium, such as the use of copper plates and corrosive chemicals. This may be seen as both an improvement and a loss. One feature of the illuminated book absent in hypertext is the close connection between the work and the bodily act of creating it. As Carol Bigwood observes (1991, p. 309), reading Blake’s illuminated books is a perceptual experience in which we sense the movements of Blake’s hand and the rigidity of the copper on which the image was first made. So while the illuminated book remediates the printed word it may itself be remediated by hypertext.

References

Adams, H. (1995). Untitled [Review of the book Blake and the idea of the book]. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 53(4), 443-444.

Bigwood, C. (1991). Seeing Blake’s illuminated texts. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 49(4), 307- 315.

Blake, W. (1988). Selected writings. London: Penguin.

—–. (1967). Songs of innocence and of experience. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Original work published 1794).

Blunt, A. (1943). Blake’s pictorial imagination. Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 6, 190-212.

Bolter, J. D. (2001) Writing space: Computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print (2nd ed.). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Fuller, D. (2003). Untitled [Review of the book William Blake. The creation of the songs: From manuscript to illuminated printing]. Review of English Studies, 54(214), 262-264.

Keep, C., McLaughlin, T., & Parmar, R. (1993-2000). John Ruskin, William Morris and the Gothic Revival. The Electronic Labyrinth. Retrieved from http://elab.eserver.org/hfl0236.html

Ruskin, John. (1888). Modern Painters (Vol. 3). New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Storch, Margaret. (1996). Untitled [Review of the books Blake and the idea of the book & Blake, ethics, and forgiveness]. Modern Language Review, 91(2), 458-459.

Symmons, Sarah. (1995). Untitled [Review of the book Blake and the idea of the book]. British Journal of Aesthetics, 35(3), 308-9.

October 28, 2009   No Comments

On the air: Educational radio, its history and effect on literacy and educational technology (By Michael Haworth & Stephanie Hopkins)

Dear ETEC 540 colleagues,

  • Please find our research paper in its entirety below.  In keeping with our theme of radio in education, we have also decided to present our research in an abridged, primarily oral format on voicethread. You can listen to, view, and comment on this presentation by clicking the following link: http://voicethread.com/#q.b691487.i3656629
  • In addition, we have also created delicious page to share our some of our resources with you.  Please feel free to view or add any of the links at  http://delicious.com/fvdeshoo/radio

Thank you, and we hope you enjoy reading, hearing and viewing our work!

Michael & Stephanie

________________________________________________________________________

On the air:  Educational Radio, its history and effect on literacy, and educational technology implementation

Michael Haworth & Stephanie Hopkins

ETEC 540

October 26, 2009

“For it is the special glory of radio that it transcends boundaries, annihilates distance and creates a stronger sense of national unity and international brotherhood.” Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 1941 (Nwaerondu, 1994, p. 2)

Educational radio: An introduction

At the dawn of the twentieth century, the development of what we now know as “radio” began.  The work of scientists and inventors such as Nikola Tesla, Guglielmo Marconi, Lee De Forest, and many others laid the foundations for all forms of radio broadcasting (“History of Radio”, 2009).  Starting in the early 1920’s, radio stations began transmitting to a relatively small, but growing number of listeners.  Concomitant with the growing popularity of radio broadcasting was an increasing interest in its use in education.  The reach and immediacy of radio provided educators with a new and potentially powerful medium through which to support and modify education.  While firmly affixed in an oral and aural realm, from the outset, the purpose of educational radio has been to complement the existing curricula and strong reliance on written text within Western education systems of the twentieth century.  Furthermore, educational radio set the stage for later educational technologies, providing a framework for the adoption and implementation of these technologies that has continued to date.  In this introduction to and analysis of the history of educational radio, our purpose is three-fold: we hope to demonstrate how educational radio supported text-based education; describe how the inclusion of radio supported student literacy; and propose that the foundation of educational radio provided a framework for future efforts in the implementations of educational technology.

Prior to the development and wide-spread deployment of television, radio was the first electronic mass medium (Lewis, 1992, p. 26).  Starting in 1920 in the United States, locations such as Detroit and Pittsburgh were initial launch points for radio broadcasting (Ackerman, 1945, p. 2).  By 1922 there were thirty radio station transmitters and 60,000 receivers in use (Ackerman, 1945, p. 2).  The number of radio transmitters and receivers in the United States continues to increase such that in 1942, Seerley Reid stated that “radio is an indispensable and indisputable part of American life” (p. 115).  With its advent, the radio allowed anyone who had one to listen to news or other informational broadcasts without having to wait for the newspaper, or even listen to live entertainment without having to physically be there.  Lewis (1992) described this profound change in dissemination of information by stating that, “the new medium of radio was to the printing press what the telephone had been to the letter: it allowed immediacy” (p. 26).  From the time that the first sounds were broadcast over the U.S. airwaves in 1920, the two main functions of radio have been to entertain and to inform. As Ackerman (1945) noted, “no entertainment medium [had] ever before faced the insatiable demands which [were] laid upon radio” (p.10).

Radio in education: A brief historical overview

The use of radio as an educational tool further augmented its informational function.  Programmes designed specifically for K-12 and post-secondary education were developed, both by private broadcasters and by radio stations set up exclusively for the use of education. Students, in traditional classroom settings (or individually via distance education) could listen to programs, or with the use of transceivers, could interact with radio programs.  In this manner, students would receive educational programming that expanded on their classroom learning.  Alternatively, not all educational efforts in radio were praised.  According to Saettler (1990), “the first years of [American] university broadcasting were generally ineffective because many a professor repeated his classroom lecture before the microphone without realizing that a good lecturer was not necessarily an effective broadcaster” (as cited in Hokanson & Hooper, 2000, p. 542). The varying degrees to which the effectiveness of educational radio was perceived set the stage for discussion of future educational technologies and their effect on education.

In addition to targeting students, progressive educational radio could also focus on teachers, assisting them in “learn[ing] progressive Deweyan methods of teaching” (Cavanaugh, et al., 2004, p. 3).  A good example of the imposition of education philosophy is in the distribution of radio teaching manuals at the Wisconsin School of the Air (Bianchi, 2002, p. 142). In these teaching manuals, ideas for strengthening and contextualizing radio programming in the classroom were suggested; such ideas were largely based on Dewey’s philosophy of experiential or activity-based learning (see Dewey, 1938). Teachers who created programs at the school agreed with the Deweyan philosophy and through programming, tried to demonstrate that when the classroom teacher actively facilitated learning, students were more attentive and involved (Bianchi, 2002, p.144). Thus, the new medium of radio was seen as aiding in the promotion and implementations of new, promising educational theories for teachers and students alike.

The implementation of educational radio in the U.S., Canada and Australia

Three locations in the world have had a strong background in implementing radio in education: the United States, Canada, and Australia.  While other nations also developed educational radio programs, a brief examination of the implementation of and distinctions between radio implementation in these three countries highlights some of the major developments in the field, as development was not evenly distributed in the world or even within a country (Reid, 1942, p. 188).

Educational radio in the United States was provided both by educational institutions and by private, for-profit broadcasters.  Starting in 1921, broadcasting licences were held by universities in Utah, Wisconsin, and Minnesota (Casey, 2008, p. 46).  By 1925, 171 licences had been granted (Farley, 1952, p. 18).  In addition, K-12 education systems in Ohio and Wisconsin were developing “schools of the air”, that would provide curriculum for use within traditional schools and distance education programs (Reid, 1942, p. 118; Williams & Nicholas, 2004, p. 111).  In the case of the Wisconsin School of the Air, founders chose to offer programming that would complement the elementary curriculum, especially in rural areas where teachers were expected to teach many subjects in multi-grade classrooms (Bianchi, 2002).  In this case, students were able to experience programming such as in music or other specialized field where the teacher may have little or no knowledge in that area.

In 1930, private broadcasters such as Columbia Broadcasting Systems (CBS) (“American School of the Air”), and the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) began developing educational radio programmes on a variety of music, science and social studies topics for use by students (Bagley, 1930, p. 256; Reid, 1942, p. 132-133).  Again, these programmes met with a variety of success from being described as meeting, “in a fairly meritorious way the conditions that education broadcasting must meet if it is to be a useful adjunct to school instruction,” (Nasseh, 1997, para. 7) to a 1940 college-level course offered by radio that “failed to attract any enrollments” (Bagley, 1930, p. 257).  Lewis (1992) suggests that private broadcasters may also have been encouraged to develop such programmes by lobby groups such as the “National Committee on Education by Radio” and “the threat of legislation,” by the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) (p. 31).  As is the case with any major technological advancement, particularly in education, educational radio in the United States met with a collision between adversity and bewilderment; by so-called “technophobes” and “technophiles” (Postman, 1993).

Canada developed educational radio in a somewhat similar fashion to the United States, albeit on a smaller scale.  Radio programmes were developed both for traditional classrooms and distance education.  Starting in 1925, the Canadian National Railways (CNR) radio network broadcasted musical appreciation programmes (Buck, 2008, p. 80).  The following year in 1926, CNRV, the CNR radio station in Vancouver broadcasted directly to Point Grey School for the Deaf and Blind (Buck, 2008, p. 80).  The CNR radio network later was transformed into the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission, which ultimately became the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). The CBC continued to provide educational radio programmes for provinces such as British Columbia (Buck, 2008, p. 8586), where other educational radio broadcasts took place through various provincial ministries of education via local radio stations. For example, CMHS in Nova Scotia provided government endorsed educational programming, while in Edmonton, Alberta, local station CKUA was the vehicle for educational radio (Buck, 2008, 86).  Similarities and differences existed between the Canadian and American systems: in the United States, nation-wide broadcasting was lobbied for while in Canada, despite the similarity in the methodology of educational radio programme delivery, regional variances in educational radio demonstrate the diversity and locality of the Canadian education system.

Development of educational radio in Australia evolved in very different conditions.  Due to low population densities in many areas of the country, K-12 students in remote locations either needed to attend boarding school, or work with postal-based correspondence school materials (Australian Government, 2007, para. 5).  Through the support of the Royal Flying Doctors Service, shortwave radio broadcasts began to be delivered to outback students in 1948.  By 1956, the “School of the Air” (SOTA) was developed and as of 2005, sixteen schools were in operation (Australian Government, 2007, para. 6-7).  The SOTA program focused on student to teacher, teacher to student, and student to student radio communication rather than general scheduled programme broadcasting (Fowler, 1987, p. 119).  The shortwave transceivers that students and teachers used allowed for synchronous, bi-directional communication so that both teachers and students could communicate directly with one another.  Major benefits for students with this distinct approach are, “the feeling that the teacher is close at hand and the knowledge that he or she is being supported by the team approach of SOTA and PCS [Primary Correspondence School], and is [therefore] motivated by hearing the response of his or her peers, to perform well” (Fowler, 1987, p. 120).  The differences between the Australian educational radio and the programs developed in the United States and Canada are described as being “distinctly Australian” (Moriarty, Danaher, & Danaher, 2003, p. 134), and as in the case of the North American ventures, various implications for education can be observed.

Making connections: Implications for education

While educational radio developed in different forms depending on the country and specific conditions, its primary goal was to complement and improve existing educational programs (Bagley, 1944, p.257).  Although Thomas Edison predicted otherwise, radio programmes were not intended to supplant existing, text-based educational curriculum, but rather to, “supplement, or to stimulate, the study of subjects offered in schools” (Hinrichs, 2004, p. 6; Ackerman, 1945, p. 13). Educational theory of the day proposed that active engagement of students in materials, interactivity and engagement between teacher and students, as well as opportunities for more experiential learning would create a more solid, successful learning environment (see Dewey, 1938).  By being offered in conjunction with traditional text-based curricula, educational radio made all of this possible.

This was especially true with the Australian School of the Air distance education programs.  The Australian Government Culture Portal notes that in the SOTA program, “every student is provided with a mail delivered printed program with accompanying resources.  This material is then supplemented by on-air lessons” (2007, para. 12).  Students would work on printed curricula that would then be sent to the SOTA teacher for marking.  Radio’s involvement in supporting and strengthening text could occur before, during, and after the writing process: teachers could provide direct lessons via radio on the written material, provide ongoing engagement and consultation with the student while working on the assignments, and finally, provide direct feedback on completed and evaluated work (Fowler, 1987, p. 120).  This process provided a level of connectedness due to the synchronous communication afforded by radio that would not be possible with previous postal-only distance education programs, and allowed students to feel less isolated, and in turn, more engaged in their lessons. In addition, students and teachers were involved in an educational experience which included and valued orality as well as literacy, contributing to the overall literacy education of students.  As Ong (2002) theorizes, the use of technologies such as radio in education lends itself well to the use of literacy theories such as speech-act and reader-response theory (p. 166-168).  Moreover, much of the research on distance education programmes to date has shown that the use of multimedia technology in general has led to increased achievement among distance learners over classroom learners (see Williams, Nicholas & Gunter, 2004, p. 118).  In Australia, the delivery of distance education, and thus the literacy education of students were significantly enhanced by the inclusion of radio in education.

The United States and Canadian educational radio systems differed significantly in overall design from the Australian version.  These programs were meant primarily for unidirectional broadcasting of general programmes to a widely distributed learning audience within the traditional classroom setting.  However, these programs too promoted text.  The Ohio School of the Air suggested that the programs offered, “creative possibilities for English, speech, and dramatics teachers in developing students’ interest in radio writing and radio production” (Reid, 1942, p. 139).  In 1932, Benjamin Darrow, founder and first director of the Ohio School of the Air stated his hope that, radio may come as a vibrant and challenging textbook of the air” (Hinrichs, 2004, p. 6).  The reading and writing of text was supported by educational radio.  Using radio promoted a new form of educational technology while introducing potentially new, progressive teaching methodologies into the classroom setting.  As Boulter’s (2001) ideas about “remediation” suggest, the radio remediated print technology such that text technologies such as the newspaper became secondary to the radio in engaging and interacting with students.   Teachers were able to draw on resources outside of the classroom in a new way with a sense of immediacy that would not be possible in pre-radio forms such as newspapers or films.  In addition, with the distribution of teacher’s guides, programs such as the CBS American School of the Air were able to assist the teacher in using the provided programmes to their suggested best potential (Ackerman, 1945, p. 13), foreshadowing the lucrative teacher resource business that exists currently in education.  Although the American and Canadian educational radio systems were different from the Australian one, these too had the potential to change educational practices and facilitate reading and writing.

Advantages and setbacks: Paving the way to the future

Cook and Nemzek (1939) stated that, “the invention of printing and textbooks did much to give to education in its present form.  Some persons feel that the effects of radio may in time be equally far reaching” (p. 105). While there was a fervent wish for radio to become a strong player within education, this did not come entirely true.  In North America, educational radio had several impediments to its widespread adoption in education systems.  One of these impediments was the issue of availability of radio transmitters and receivers.  During the “golden age of radio” a time that saw many homes equipped receivers, a limited numbers of schools were equally provisioned.  In Ohio, a state in which schools were noted as “being more advanced in the use of radio than were schools through the country”, according to a 1941 survey, only fifty-five percent of Ohio schools were equipped with radio units (Reid, 1942, p. 119-121). Moreover, radio receivers of the time were of a fairly bulky size that limited portability and mobility; they were usually large console units which were required to house the heavy vacuum tubes and other necessary electronics.  The onset of World War II created another obstacle in that the available number of vacuum tubes was diverted from civilian to military uses, thus reducing the number of new radio receivers and repair supplies for existing sets (Ackerman, 1945, p. 3).  Another problem still was that radio reception quality could be mixed due to geography or distance for students in Australia and the United States (Fowler, 1987, p. 120; Reid, 1942, p. 123).  Programme scheduling could also be an obstacle to adoption.  Without the aid of any recording device, timing is vital in synchronous communications such as radio.  All parties need to be transmitting and receiving at the same time, and all of the required communication components must successfully come together or communication does not happen.  A final hindrance to the widespread adoption of radio in education is that teachers and students needed to be prepared to interact with the content of the radio programme.  Planned curricular outcomes from radio programs needed to be considered, as “mere ‘listening-in’ may be a profitable expenditure of time in connection with an occasional program; but the more significant and more enduring benefits can come, if contemporary educational theory teaches us the truth, only when the learner is inspired to some effort on his own” (Bagley, 1930, p. 256).  In order to reach widespread acceptance as a beneficial educational tool, it was imperative that radio be utilized and evaluated as such a tool, rather than the hasty, uninvolved use by what Postman calls “one-eyed prophets” (1993, p.5), or by educators who practiced traditional, non-engaging methodology in conjunction with its use in the classroom.

Although educational radio did not necessarily meet all of its intended aspirations to be as far reaching as textbooks, educational radio has survived in some forms.  The School of the Air lives on in Australia and CKUA in Alberta continues to broadcast educational content, and networks such as the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the CBC still produce content that is suitable for classroom use, even if not specifically designed with such a purpose in mind.  In the future, researchers might wish to explore this general interest in educational or documentary radio programming as related to the more recent technology of podcasting.

Educational radio also had the effect of foreshadowing future implementation of educational technology.  It can be debated that the manner in which other technologies such as television and the Internet were incorporated in education because of the framework that was previously laid out by radio.  Casey (2008) states that, “instructional radio paved the way for distance learning opportunities through television technology” (p. 46).  Even further, Cavanaugh, et al. (2004) argues that based on the educational radio implementation model, “television, audio and video conferencing, the Internet, and other technologies have been adapted for the needs of young learners” (p. 3).  Radio in education, a pioneer of educational technology, created a legacy for itself by setting the stage for the development of other technologies still used in education to date, and perhaps will continue with other technologies in the future.  As Lewis (1992) notes, “radio still captures the imagination, too.  As a child once said, he preferred radio over television because ‘the pictures are better’” (p.32).

References

Ackerman, W. C. (1945). The dimensions of American broadcasting. The Public Opinion Quarterly, 9(1), 1-18.

Australian Government. (n.d.). The School of the Air and remote learning. Australia’s Culture Portal. Retrieved October 17, 2009 from http://www.cultureandrecreation.gov.au/articles/schoolofair/.

Bagley, W. C. (1930). Radio in the Schools. The Elementary School Journal, 31(4), 256-258. doi: 10.2307/996158.

Bianchi, W. (2002). The Wisconsin School of the Air: Success story with implications. Educational Technology and Society 5(1), 141-147.

Bolter, J. D. (2001). Writing space: Computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Buck, G. H. (2006). The first wave: The beginnings of radio in Canadian distance education. Journal of Distance Education, 21(1), 76.

Casey, D. M. (2008). A Journey to Legitimacy: The Historical Development of Distance Education through Technology. TechTrends, 52(2), 45-51. doi: 10.1007/s11528-008-0135-z.

Cavanaugh, C., Gillan, K. J., Kromrey, J., Hess, M., & Blomeyer, R. (2004). The effects of distance education on K–12 student outcomes: A meta-analysis. Naperville, IL: Learning Point Associates.

Cook, D. C., & Nemzek, C. L. (1939). The Effectiveness of Teaching by Radio. The Journal of Educational Research, 33(2), 105-109. doi: 10.2307/27526643.

Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. Indianapolis: Kappa Delta Pi. Preview retrieved from http://books.google.ca/books?id=UE2EusaU53IC&dq=%22Dewey%22+%22Experience+and+education%22+&lr=&source=gbs_navlinks_s.

Farley, B. (1952). Education and Television. Music Educators Journal, 39(2), 18-20. doi: 10.2307/3388644.

Fowler, B. (1987). Aussat and all that! Reaching the Australian outback. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 3(2), 119-128.

Hokanson, B & Hooper, S. (2000). Computers as cognitive media: Examining the potential of computers in education. Computers in Human Behavior 16, 537-552.

Hinrichs, R. (2004). A vision for lifelong learning: year 2020. European Journal of Engineering Education, 29(1), 5-16.

History of Radio. (2009, October 21). In Wikipedia, the free encylcopedia. Retrieved October 23, 2009 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_radio.

Lewis, T. (1992). “A Godlike presence”: The impact of radio on the 1920s and 1930s. Magazine of History, 6(4), 26-33. doi: 10.2307/25154082.

Moriarty, B. J., Danaher, P. A., & Danaher, G. R. (2003). Situating and interrogating contemporary Australian rural education research. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 18(3), 133-138.

Nasseh, B. (1999). A brief history of distance education. Adult Education in the News, available at: www. seniornet. org/edu/art/history. html (accessed 2 October 2004).

Nwaerondu, N. G. (1994). Educational radio: A tool for rural change. Retrieved October 17, 2009, from http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED390624.

Ong, W.J. (2002). Orality and Literacy (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.

Postman, N. (1993). The judgment of Thamus. Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. New York: Vintage.

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October 28, 2009   No Comments

The Origins of Silent Reading – Research Project

My assignment was completed on the UBC Wiki format. Please view on the site! I hope I have posted this correctly. Enjoy!

http://wiki.ubc.ca/Course:ETEC540/2009WT1/Assignments/ResearchProject/SilentReading

October 27, 2009   3 Comments

Research Assignment 3:Tv to Radio

Mass Media—Radio to TV 1950-1970

 Radio and television are highly influential mass media. Transforming technological achievements do not end up in a vacuum, without repercussions— individuals, society, language itself, cultural, political and religious institutions are part of the sphere of media influence and in turn, influence media.  Radio is our ears on the world, and television our eyes on the world.

We allow these machines into our lives and homes. Life has changed between the time radio dominated the airwaves, and subsequent widespread adoption of TV. What unforeseen effects occurred? Do we as consumers stop to analyze these things? Does the TV belong in the children’s bedroom?

Historical and Cultural Perspectives

The radio and TV are both passive, non-interactive media—information only goes one way (Beatty, 1998). As each new invention arises, fears of how they may be used and misused contribute to a reluctance to adopt them. Looking back, they now seem more benign to authoritarian societies in the setting of our current times, as we now have the 2.0 web, which has empowered all with access and know how. Power is out of the hands of the few, and interactions and information access is around user-based choices, not network or radio station control of content. But as radio and then TV emerged, those times were important to the history of communication because this represented a way to transfer information—as instantaneous mass media, much different than the printed word. Aural, and then subsequently visual data was in the pipeline.

Kramer (p 5, 1991) proposes mass media is really quite old—he sees libraries as mass media which evolved from the very first mass medium, writing. He reviews how telegraph and Morse code were the first steps towards instantaneous communication. Morse’s first words on the device, he quoted were “what hath God wrought”; acknowledging the early inventors’ appreciation of the widespread impact for the future, reinforces the appreciation of the primary purpose of early mass media for military and commercial interests (Kramer, p. 9, 1991).  The history of radio started with the wireless telegraph. Marconi is most widely thought of the inventor but Nikola Tesla first patented radio technology. The first commercial trans-Atlantic service was carried out by Marconi in 1907, which spawned the era of audio broadcasting starting in 1919. The Radio Corporation of America or RCA was formed in 1919 and started the Americanization of radio (Kramer, p 15, 1991).

In the context of radio, I will focus on the CBC as representative of a nation’s media in both radio and television and representative of the transition that occurred. According to the CBC archival website on the history of CBC/Radio Canada, there were a number of landmarks, summarized as follows.

The year 1901 was marked by the first wireless trans-Atlantic telegraph, and 1922, the first private commercial radio stations in Canada. In 1927, the first national broadcast took place and by 1932 the government created the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (CRBC). In 1937 76% of Canada was receiving CBC radio, and in 1939 CBC carried the declaration of war and subsequent wartime, and farm broadcasts and political messages as their primary messages.

In education, 1940 saw the first provincial school broadcasts, and in 1941 the CBC news service emerged. By the year 1943 the first English School Broadcast Department formed, which emphasized the role the government saw in the function of radio for the learning of young Canadians. In 1947 the first FM radio stations emerged in a few major cities, and the FM band was credited for carrying radio forward into the TV era, due to excellent music programming and audio quality.

By 1955, CBC television had emerged and reached 66% of the population and in 1958, the first coast-to coast live TV broadcast occurred and so, welcome to hockey night in Canada!  Canada developed the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) Canadian content to protect the cultural integrity from being overwhelmed by American music, TV and film industries, by supervision and regulation of the telecommunications and broadcasting (mission statement from website).

Wikipedia reports that in 1950 one million American homes had televisions. Kramer (p 20, 1991) speaks of the rise of radio appreciation purposed to spread culture and educational experiences to rural and poor. The BBC in Britain was launched to meet this need.

Radio versus television: vying for the attention of the mass audience

In this section we will compare and contrast the effects of each media. Before one dismisses the radio as a predecessor, rather than as a continuing media influence, let us consider those parts of the world that do not have infrastructure for television even today. It seems in fact, we still pay close attention to the aural presentation, which harkens back to early orality and oratory, a concept explored at length in Ong’s book, Orality and Literacy (2002).  Kramer (p 16, 1991) quotes media guru Marshall McLuhan as saying “radio affects most people intimately, person to person, offering a world of unspoken communication between writer-speaker and listener”. That is not a concept that is intuitive, but reflects Ongs theory. Vukmirovic (p 4, 2005) states that “radio is the most accessible information channel in the world” which probably still holds true since the Internet is still not available in much of the developing world.

On October 30, 1938, listeners heard the following apocalyptical phrase, at the end of a realistic radio show, “2X2L calling CQ. Isn’t there anyone on the air? Isn’t there anyone on the air? Isn’t there…. anyone?”  That was the War of the Worlds radio broadcast that, according to history records on Wiki and elsewhere, spawned a plethora of concern, and even panic amongst listeners.  The broadcast simulated newscasts of a dire invasion. It was estimated 6 million listened, that 1.7 million listeners thought it true, and the event subsequently spawned 12 000 newspaper articles. Hitler said the panic was a sign of “decadence of democracy” and so the reaction rippled world-wide. This singular event demonstrates that in spite of disclaimers to the effect that it was fictional, radio can deeply influence and thus could subvert an impressionable audience. As far as long term influence, the event has since generated TV, movies, plays, and many analyses.  One show, lots of impact!

Kramer posits (p 22, 1991) that “world events, and the immediacy of radio news coverage made many listeners anxious about life in general” and cites the above show as an example.  In the early era of radio, it was a news vehicle. Hockey games, news, readings and discussions dominated the airways. According to Kramer (Pg 19, 1991) “broadcasting then and now, somehow makes people feel as though they are a part of something bigger than themselves, connected to the world out there”. Even though radio does not have the flashy visual aspect, it is still a powerful communication tool.

According to Vukmirovic (pp. 1-3, 2005) the radio is spoken language and one needs remembrance on the part of listener, and memorable discourse at the source. Remembrance is a selective memory process of a recipient. He cites a tri-modal theory involving the recipient, the media, and external recipient environment. Among recipient factors he feels attention, previous knowledge, attitudes and feelings, motivation, hearing skills, and recall strategies need to be taken into account.  Memory of media includes its position, the nature of the items, repetition, and how closely it meets the inner schema of the listener (Vukmirovic, p. 5, 2005). These considerations all make good sense, and help explain why the two people can hear very different things after they internalize the spoken broadcast. Kozma (1993) feels there is an interplay between physical technology, symbol systems (language, pictures, music), and processing capabilities (information received) so each medium has a profile of capabilities.

TV was invented in more than one location, and is most widely attributed to Farnsworth and Zworykin. As TV took hold in the 50s, the radio became a vehicle for popular music instead.  At that time, according to Kramer (p 27, 1991) “just as radio listening had displaced time previously spent reading, television now challenged radio as the preferred leisure time activity”,  and he cited a study which indicated “..the average American home had two TV’s with at least one of them on about seven hours every day”  and  “mid 1970s annual polls indicated that television had surpassed newspapers as the medium Americans most rely on for information, and also the medium perceived as the most credible and complete in news coverage”. Those cited studies indicate that TV had become THE pervasive medium of that decade.

 Kramer, (p29, 1991) relays that “it is well documented that people rarely watch a TV show, but rather TV, seeking the least objectionable program rather than choosing to turn it off when “nothing is on””. These observations ring very true and the phrase “couch potato” comes to mind. McLuhan sees TV as “cool” medium since it does require engagement of the watcher, but this has been widely debated.

Religious programming has become popular with TV evangelical shows spreading the Word the way the written word did with the Bible in the days of old. Political institutions have also taken the TV and used it for their own purposes, disseminating messages that sometimes border political brainwashing. Many feel that the use of media for these purposes is an abuse of power because with the exception of live debates, counter messages cannot easily be heard.  On the positive side of the coin, projects such as the UNESCO Bangkok distance education initiative described at unescobkk.org, use radio and television to improve literacy and information transfer, but using foreign media producers, in this case Educational Radio Television (ERTV) in Italy.  The initiative is used in Afghanistan also, but the use of native peoples and production facilities would have been preferred in order to ensure that the needs of the learner are fully integrated. In Beatty’s CBC lecture, he agrees “television and radio created the mass audience on a scale that had been impossible in the past. “ He builds his case, noting they were perfect tools for authoritarian governments trying to control public thought, and for corporations marketing their products.  Beatty made another excellent point, noting that early centralization and limited TV and radio licenses restricted the public’s choice.

McLuhan (p 207, 1964) scolds society for being so blind when he says “the electric technology is within the gates, and we are numb, deaf, blind and mute about its encounter with the Guetenberg technology, on and through which the American way of life was formed”, and  on speaking about how deeply entrenched media can become, he notes “the effects of technology do not occur at the level of opinions or concepts, but alter the sense ratios or patterns of perception steadily and without any resistance.” McLuhan implies its influence seeps into our society while we are busy and so we are effectively blind to its effects. Kramer (p 30, 1991) identified many traps including TV ads targeting kids (e.g., cigarettes, clothes), cultural homogeneity, and gate keeping by the big stations to select news and views for the watcher.  He also lists violence, sex, and stereotypical portrayals as influencing the watcher and argues that even if the effects are indirect as modern media theories propose, these traps still have consequences.  Kramer explores issues of modelling after TV stars (soap opera example), and children modelling their behaviour (social, antisocial) in sync with characters, and states, “the conclusion is that children are indeed socialized by movies and television, especially when they identify with a character they watch” Kramer also notes popular current theory is that mass media consumption leads to a spiral of silence (after Noelle-Neumann). What he means by this is if everyone is exposed to an opinion, dissenters tend to not speak up. All of these explorations alert us to just how many hot-button issues we are not aware of as typical consumers.

Beatty (1998) states “mankind has always maintained an uneasy relationship with technology, simultaneously regarding it with both reverence and fear, uncertain about whether our machines would ultimately prove to be our slaves or our masters”.  This paranoia is reflected in the writings of the time such as in George Orwell’s book 1984.

If one stops to think, in a little less than two generations from the invention of the radio and the television, we have come a long way baby. Beatty (1998) concurs, noting it is the speed of change which overwhelms us.   Beatty (1998) cites the words over the entrance to the 1893 Chicago world’s fair “science explores, technology executes, man conforms” when making the point that we have a very uneasy relationship with these mass media boxes.  McLuhan (p 208, 1964) believes “subliminal and docile acceptance of media impact has made them prisons without walls for their human users”.

Regarding psychological influences, many propose that in the 21st century, many of the attention deficit disorders stem from fast paced moving picture consumption by our youth. It is startling to compare the average length for TV commercials which used to run one to two minutes, and now generally flash multiple engaging images in 10 to 15 second slots. The jury is still out on the effect on attention span, as it is on the effects on literacy. There are so many confounding factors it is hard to attribute any effects to just TV alone. Video games are an example of a potential confounder.                                                                                           

No discussion of modern mass media is complete without mention of McLuhan’s message versus media concept. The full sentence from which “the message is the medium” was drawn is as follows: “in a culture like ours, long accustomed to splitting and dividing all things as a means of control, it is sometimes a bit of a shock to be reminded that, in operational and practical fact, the medium is the message” (McLuhan, p 203, 1964).  On the same page he notes “..the content of any medium is always another medium” e.g., the written word is content of print media.  He would say then, I presume, that for radio, the listened to word is the content of radio and the moving picture and sound is the content of TV?  But further in that passage, he reframes it as follows, “for the message of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs”. I think what he means is that the message not the medium is what alters the human landscape. In support of that concept, McLuhan (p 206, 1964) gives an example of a Bedouin with a battery radio and how he is impinged with much new conceptually but he points out” Western man himself experiences exactly the same inundation as the remote native”.   On the contrary side of this, everybody wants it now is a philosophy widely infiltrating the masses—we are spoiled, and want different perspectives on lots of issues as they happen on the frontlines.

In closing, Andy Worhol said in 1968 “in the future, everyone will be (world) famous for 15 minutes”.  This may be coming to pass in a way for those using the Internet to post their blogs, video and music, though a new phrase has been coined to meet today’s times to the effect that everyone will be famous to 15 other people—a tongue in cheek to social networking. Radio and TV continue to both influence society in many ways and the effects of them are still under study due to the difficulty of isolating their influence on the listeners and watchers.

References

 Beatty, P. CBC Speech Archives (1998). Coping with Convergence: Social and cultural change in the age of digital technology. March 20 Lecture to UWO. Accessed online October 19, 2009 at :

http://www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/speeches/19980320.shtml

Kramer, E.M. (1991). A supplementary chapter to accompany: Understanding Human Communication 4th ed. By Adler, R and Rodman, G. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. Accessed October 19, 2009 at:

http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/K/Eric.M.Kramer-1/download/papers/masscomm1991.pdf

History of Radio. Accessed online October 19, 2009 at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_radio#Beginnings_of_radio

CBC –Radio-Canada Archive Website; 1901-1939. Accessed online October 19, 2009 at: http://www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/history/1901-1939.shtml

CBC –Radio-Canada Archive Website;1940s. Accessed online October 19, 2009 at: http://www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/history/1940s.shtml

CBC –Radio-Canada Archive Website; 1950s. Accessed online October 19, 2009 at: http://www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/history/1950s.shtml

CRTC Website. Accessed October 23, 2009 at: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/home-accueil.htm                                               

TV events: 1950s. Accessed October 19, 2009 at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1950_in_television#Events

Ong, W. J. (2002) Orality and Literacy. Routledge, London and New York.

Vukmirov, D. (2005). Radio and communication. Accessed October 19, 2009 at: http://www.brain.hr/Mind&Brain3/ABSTRACTS/Vukmirovic.pdf

War of the Worlds- radio show. Accessed online October 20, 2009 at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_War_of_the_Worlds_(radio)#Background

Kozma, R.B. (1993).Will media influence learning? Reframing the debate. Educational Technology Research and Development. Vol 42, No. 2 pp 7-19. (print published in 1994). Accessed online October 14, 2009 at:

http://mmtserver.mmt.duq.edu/mm416-01/gedit704/articles/kozmaArticles                                                                                 

Marshall McLuhan. [n.d.]Accessed online October 20, 2009 at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_McLuhan#Understanding_Media_.281964.29

 

Unesco Education Project; Bangkok. [n.d.]. Accessed October 18, 2009 at: http://www.unescobkk.org/education/apeid/news/news-details/article/ict-transforming-education-ready-get-set-go/

Marshall McLuhan.  Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man 1964

 NY McGraw-Hill Publishing Co., May 1964. Excerpt from NEWMEDIAREADER, II, 13. MIT Press, Cambridge and London, 2003. Accessed online October 18, 2009 at www.newmediareader.com/mcluhan-medium.pdf

Andy Worhol. [n.d.]Accessed online October 21, 2009 at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Warhol

 

October 25, 2009   No Comments