Is the medium the message?

Posted By etremblay on Oct 10, 2017 | 0 comments

From Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press, William Henry Fox Talbot and Jacques-Louis Daguerre’s near simultaneous invention of photography, Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, right up through the creation of the CBC, communication continues to advance and become more entertaining, more absorbing, more realistic and even easier to comprehend…or so it seems. Marshall MacLuhan’s revolutionary statement “the medium is the message” certainly had some validity in its time especially at the in history when media was switching from radio to television. Inarguably, technology has infused and improved the ability of educational institutes. Smartboards, vitual classromms and other digital methods of communication have crept their way up to be the focus of modern learning. With so many media options to source learning, it seems to me that customizing education and technologies(according to individual students) can only improved, speed up or stimulate how we learn.







However, as we have come to understand, learning is not the receptive response to instruction’s “delivery.” Rather, learning is an active, constructive, cognitive and social process by which the learner strategically manages available cognitive, physical, and social resources to create new knowledge by interacting with information in the environment and integrating it with information already stored in memory (Shuell, 1988). From this perspective, knowledge and learning are neither solely a property of the individual or of the environment. Rather, they are the reciprocal interaction between the learner’s cognitive resources and aspects of the external environment (Greeno, 1988; Pea, 1993; Perkins, 1993; Salomon, 1993) and this interaction is strongly influenced by the extent to which internal and external resources fit together (Snow, 1992).





However, when learners have difficulty providing representations and operations that are sufficient for learning, either because of limited prior knowledge, limitations in working memory, or other reasons, they will likely benefit from the use of the capability of a particular medium to provide or model hese representations and operations. Over time, these representations and operations become internalized such that students can generate for themselves what was generated for them by the medium (Salomon, 1993)

From the Jasper Project at Vanderbilt I found that the use of film/video to observe just how the students processed and especially recalled the information. This is especially interesting for me as I use a screen reader to listren to the articles we read in LRNT523 so I believe trhat my mind organizes the information completely different than if I could see. I would, based on my experience, say that I recall the concepts better than I do the literal satements.

“data on how it is that groups of students decompose and solve problems and how it is that they use video to do this: How often do students generate questions and what kinds are they? Do they use the video to answer these questions? If they do not search the video, is the information that they generate recalled from a previous viewing or is it based on general, world knowledge? If they use information in the video what information is used and how do they search for it? How does this information, in turn, influence subsequent questions or the discourse among students? Research on this project would also benefit from controlled studies in which groups of students receive similar information embedded in text-based or video-based stories. How do students process these stories differently? How do they search them differently? What information do they remember from each and is it structured differently?

Answers to questions such as these provide both a list of elemental, media-related causal mechanisms and descriptions of how they”



Kozma, R. (1994). “Will media influence learning: Reframing the debate.” Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(2), 7-19.        


Clark, R. E. (1994). “Media will never influence learning.” Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(2), 21-29.



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