Friday, September 07, 2007

Is the Medium the Message?

I must say that I am having a wonderful time reading and responding to the blogs that my students in our Emerging Instructional Technology course are writing. Different students are evolving in their expressions at different levels and it is exciting to see how things are growing. Some students are introducing themselves to the world in their early postings. Some students are sharing emerging technologies (complete with direct links to the sites under discussion.) Some students are reflecting on how we are exploring the exploding world of Emerging Technologies.

One such blog where the student is exploring her world of learning is Put Up Your Dukes.
Sarah is explaining how she is finding direct comparisons between the technology environments found in k-12 with the corporate world. She says that the comments/experiences/problems she is hearing from the Tech Coordinator of Maine about the 1:1 computer initiative is quite similar to her experience in the business world.

Perhaps the most exciting part of her postings is her reactions to learning about things through different forms of media. She has listened to the podcast about 1:1 computing in Maine. She watched and listened to a PowerPoint presentation from Boston College about their research into the differences that providing 5th graders with laptop computers for 24/7 use can make on their learning. She says that listening to the discussion engaged her better than reading a textbook or article. She isn't talking about the content but rather about the medium through which it is delivered.

In 1964, Marshal McLuan said that "The medium is the message."
He was stating that the content was almost irrelevant and that it is the medium through which the content is delivered that "changes our consciousness." This student who is engaged with content because she "can multitask, reflect, make connections, talk to people, hear or see things I wouldn't have come up with on my own."

There is a great deal to be considered here. It sounds like a cliche, but in the multimedia world, we need to engage our students by sharing content with them through media that are important to them and that correlate with their learning conduits.

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