The study of media in education implicitly assumes that each medium entails some particular attributes that matter in learning depending on the symbol system it involves (Salomon, G.1981). Media are our cultural device for selecting, gathering, storing, and passing knowledge on in representational forms. Representation, as differentiated from direct experience, is always coded within a symbol system. If one attempted to remove picture from film, cartography from maps, or language from texts, what would be left? Media without symbol systems are as inconceivable as mathematics without numbers. According to the cognitive theories of learning all cognition and learning is based on internal symbolic representation. If symbol systems are central to media of communication and to thinking, then the interactions and interdependence between the two systems cannot be disregarded. For an example, it is possible that symbolically different presentations of information differ as to the mental skills of processing that they require. It is also likely that the major symbol systems of the media cultivate mental skills differentially and that one learns to use media’s symbolic forms for purposes of internal representation. Symbol used in the media and in thought is quite striking (Salomon, G.1981). Bruner (1964, p.1) considers “that the development of human intellectual functioning from infancy to such a perfection as it may reach is shaped by a series of technological advances in the use of the mind. Growths depend upon the mastery of techniques and cannot be understood without reference to such mastery. These techniques are not, in the main, invention of the individuals who are “growing up”; they are rather skills transmitted with varying efficiency and success by the culture-language being a prime example. Cognitive growth, then, is in a major way from the outside in as well as from the inside out.”
It is difficult to ignore the possible role media’s symbol systems play in the cultivation of mental skill not just as a carriers of information about skills or as carriers of skill-models, bur rather as the mental-skills-to-be. As Bruner argues (1964, p.2), internal representation of the environment depends on learning “precisely the techniques that serve to amplify our acts, perceptions, and our ratiocinative activities”. Media to whose we all are heavily exposed, must surely be included among these techniques. Our era, the twenty-first century, can be characterized as the age of media and technology. As channel for information and entertainment mass media surrounds us day and night. Vygotsky´s theories of social interactionism inform us about that learning takes place through engagement with contextualised and situationalised socio-cultural environments and thorough ´contact with a culture of material and social resources that everywhere supports cognitive activity´ (Crook 1994, p.32). Therefore analyzing and defining what is media and how it’s impact on society affects and shapes our environment will be the intention of this chapter.
The term “media” comes from the Latin for middle. Media for that reason stand between different groups in society but do not occupy (in terms of opinion and power) an exact place mid-way between ´dominant´ and ´subordinate´ classes, if such a point could be found. The media, defined as those institutions and techniques used to disseminate symbolic content to audience, include radio, the press, television, the music industry, film and in some accounts advertising (Price, S., 1997, p.141).
John Fiske in his book Introduction to communication Studies (1982) divides media into three main groups which he calls presentational, representational and mechanical. He describes presentational media as face, voice or body communication – in other words as communication both verbal and nonverbal in a face-to-face relationship. Representational exist once they have been created even without further human involvements, so this group includes writing, painting, photography, music composition, architecture and even landscape gardening. These media all have their aesthetic conventions and practical techniques; they can record acts of communication (e.g. writing can record speech as a permanent record). Mechanical media, for example radio, television, video, cinema, the press, telephone are used to transmit communication or as described above - they stand in the middle. Not seeing the media in the middle but that media are any extension of man which allows them to affect other people who are not in face-to-face contact with him, Marshall McLuhan in his book Understanding Media (1964) takes another point of view. Thus to him, communication media include letters, television, film and telephone, and even roads and railways are the extensions by which one man can communicate with another. Leaving the traffic congestion, of roads and railways, out I shall now in the next section describe different form of media and the development of the audiovisual media. Look at how the audio-visual medias developed into being a tool for instruction for a large group of people, define what it is we call educational media, mass media, examine the impact of development in the computer and communication technology and how it change the way education can be conducted in situated or distance settings.
of the audio-visual media a brief history
The audiovisual movement advanced early in the century, focusing on the machines and materials, rather than the learner. This thought was concerned with the effects of devices and procedures, which were seen as acting as a remedy to the extreme verbalism of traditional methods (Spencer, 1991). The rapid development in the field came during and after World War ll, in the 1940s. The military personnel had to be trained for their own survival and the war effort. To meet this need, a thousand of training films and other mediated learning material was distributed. 16mm projectors and filmstrip projectors were purchased and given out. Still photographs, audio recordings, transparencies, and slides were used for instructional purposes (Sharon, 1995).
Many of the individuals hired by the military to work on the wartime training were well established researchers (Baker,1973; Reiser, 1987) and the military training became an example of what a well-funded research and development (R&D) effort, directed toward education, could accomplish.
In the 1960s the field for instructional development grew very fast, it had its base in behavioral approaches. What was distinctive at this time was the articulation of the components of instructional systems or the ´system approach´. Leaders among educational professionals who had considered themselves primarily media specialists began to lobby actively to broaden the field of audio-visual (AV) instruction to embrace the larger concept of instructional development and technology (Schuller, 1986). From this school of thought Skinner’s linear teaching machine derived and Postlethwait devised the Audio Tutorial system.
The development in the mass media were quite rapid at this time and the development of television were to have a major effect of how western households conducted their daily live. There was a great expectation for TV as an educational medium and after the emerge of video, in the 1970s, the potential became apparent. The influence of cognitive psychology for the refinement of instructional design was noted at this time (Sharon, 1995).
The advent of microcomputers in the 1980s and the development in computerized education, in the 1990s, is the field educationalists are occupied with today. Interactive video, CD-ROM, developments in communications and other storage systems, with instructional programs are becoming more sophisticated in their adaptation to the idiosyncrasies of individual learners (Centry, Csete, 1995).
Romiszowski (1997) refers to Seigel and Davis(1986) three waves of the technology and the related know-how, when he talks about the development in computers:
“The firs wave was related to the new technology itself-the design and programming of computers and computer application. This involved a relatively small proportion of the population, who requires highly technical, job-specific training in the sciences of computing and programming. The second wave came with the advent of the cheap microcomputer and its use by a much greater section of the population (including many teachers). This lead to a ´hobbyist´ approach to computing, everyone ´having a go´ at programming and the growth of a movement in education towards ´computer literacy´ for everyone (although what this means is different for just about every writer on the topic). Finally, the ´third wave´ (which is just engulfing us) is characterised by permeation of all sectors of social and professional activity by computer systems. This wave brings with it the need for a variety of new skills and attitudes, which will enable us to use these tools and systems efficiently, without necessarily being expert in the skills of programming, or having any specialist knowledge of computer science. In this ´third wave´ people will use computers as they today they use cars or television sets or telephones” (p.299).
The technology in communication and delivery systems has changed the way education can be performed. Satellite television and Internet connection have transformed the means of how an education can be conducted.
The evolution of the Internet started, in the late 70s, with a research project in the U.S. Department of Defense to find a way to make computer networks more reliable. Linking government and university labs soon advanced into an efficient means of exchanging information, an unanticipated bonus (Hackbarth, 1996). Computers equipped with modems or ISDN cards through a telephone line can join the networks or the cyberspace.
Mass media has steadily been expanding since the beginning of the century and is one of the most influence factor in what we call the information society so what is mass media?
Identified by D Mcuail in Towards a Sociology of Mass Communications (1969) mass media can be characterized as follows:
Although made 1969 this definition seems still relevant. Media clearly influence our live, therefore it is important to understand the key aspects of the term media – the ideology; how they are organized; how they construct and communicate their message; and how we as audience react to the message. When talking about mass media the media referred to is:
Print media, films, broadcasting and recorded music can be identified as passive in the sense that the recipient passively receives the message without having any influence on the incoming message whatsoever whereas with the Internet the receiver has the opportunity to interact with the incoming message and construct a new one.
In the history of mass media four main elements can be recognized: a technology; the political, social, economic and cultural situation of a society; a set of activities, functions or needs; and people-especially as formed into groups, classes or interests. These four elements have interacted in different ways and with different orders of primacy, sometimes one seeming to be the driving force or precipitating factor, sometimes another.
What kind of relationships exists between the media and ideologies?
To answer this question it is necessary to draw together several aspects of media studies
· The media communicate ideas
· The media represent outside reality to audiences.
· All texts are produced by people
· All individual producers of texts and media institutions have viewpoints.
· No text can exist without offering its consumers a position, or ´point of view´ to adopt.
· Audiences make meanings and sense from texts in accordance with their existing knowledge
· Somebody owns all media institutions.
Like many media texts, ideology is structured to appear to be seamless. It is sometimes hard to see accurately how and where the component parts are joined together, as the development of the narrative diverts the audience’s interest away from the ideological structure. Yet it is the structure of the text that can give the researcher of the media the best insight into the ideologies, which run through text. For example, choices of how technologies are used to represent race, gender or age, the way characters are lit or shot and the actions that we see them carrying out can all reveal something about the ideology encoded in images. The kind of story, what is included or omitted, and whether the text fits into a particular genre are all the results of a choice and these choices contribute to the ideological viewpoints expressed. (Downes, B., & Miller, S., 1998)
The characteristics of mass media can be divided as follows:
1. They normally require complex formal organizations.
2. They are directed towards large audiences.
3. They are public – the content is open to all and the distribution is relatively unstructured and informal.
4. Audiences are heterogeneous – of many different conditions and widely separated from one another.
5. The mass media can establish simultaneous contact with a large number of people at a distance from the source and widely separated from one another
6. The relationship between communications is ´collectively unique to modern society´. It is an ´aggregate of individuals united by a common focus of interest, engaging in an identical form of behaviour, and open to adversion towards common ends´, yet the individuals involved, ´all unknown´ to each other, have only a restricted amount of interaction, do not orient their action to each other and are only loosely organized or lacking organization. ((Downes, B., & Miller, S., 1998, p.5).
The history of modern media begins with the printed book that was in its sense only a technical device for reproducing the same or rather similar range of text that had previously been handwritten. With the technology of printing, text could be distributed to a much larger population than before. Almost two hundred years later the newspapers could be distinguished from the handbills, pamphlets and newsletters of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries (Curran,J., Gurevitch, M., 1997).
technology, rising literacy, commerce, democracy and popular demand all played a
part in the extension of newspaper reach to the ´masses´ beyond the educated
elite or business class (MacQuail, D., 1997).
In a sense the newspaper was more of an innovation than the printed book.
Its distinctiveness, compared to other forms of cultural communication,
lies in its individualism, reality orientation, utility, secularity and
suitability for these needs of a new class: town-based business and professional
people. Its novelty consists not in its technology or manner of
distribution, but in its functions for a distinct class in changing and more
liberal social-political climate. What
characterize the newspaper as a medium is:
The late-nineteenth-century bourgeois newspaper was a high point in the press history and contributed much to the modern understanding of what a newspaper is. It was the product of several events and circumstances: the triumph of liberalism and the absence or ending of direct censorship or economic constraint; the emerge of a progressive capitalist class and several new professions, thus forging a business–professional establishment; and many social and technological changes favoring the rise of national or regional press of high information quality.
The main features of the new prestige or ´elite` press which was established in this period were: formal independence from the stable and from the vested interests; recognition as a major institution of political and social life; a highly developed sense of social and ethical responsibility and the rise of journalistic profession dedicated to the objective reporting of events. Many current expectations about what a ´quality´ newspaper is still reflect several of these ideas and provide the basis of criticisms of newspapers which deviate from the ideal, by being either too partisan or too ´sensational´ ( MacQuail, D., 1997).
The mass newspaper has been called ´commercial´ for two main reasons: it operates for profit by monopolistic concerns, and it is heavily dependent on product advertising revenue. The commercial aims and underpinnings of the mass newspaper have exerted considerable influence on content, in the direction of political populism as well as support for business, consumerism and the free enterprise
At the end of the nineteenth century film began as a technological novelty. It transferred to a new means of presentation and distribution an older tradition of entertainment, offering stories, spectacles, music, drama, humor and technical tricks for popular consumption. As a mass medium, film was partly a response to the ´invention´ of leisure – time out of work- and an answer to the demand for economical and usually respectable ways of enjoying free time for the whole family. Thus it provided for the working class some of the cultural benefits already enjoyed by the social ´betters´.
The film as a medium can be identified by:
The film as ´show business´ in a new form for an expanded market is not all what it was. The film for the use of propaganda is important, based on its great reach, supposed realism, emotional impact and popularity when applied to national and societal purposes. The news films from the Second World War are good examples of that.
turning points in the film history were the coming of television and the ´Americanization´
of the film industry and film culture in the years after the First World War
(Tunstall, 1977). The relative
decline of the potential European film industry reinforced of the World War II
contributed to a homogenization of film culture and a convergence of ideas about
the definition of film as a medium. Television
took away a large part of the film- viewing public and diverted the social
documentary stream of film development and gave it a more congenial home in
television. A notable turning point is also the reduced need for ´respectability´,
the film became more free to cater to the demand for violent, horrific, or
pornographic content (MacQuail, D., 1997).
Radio and Television – The broadcast media
Radio and television grew out of pre-existing technologies such as; telephone, telegraph, moving and still photography, and some sound recording. Radio has a history of seventy plus years and television about forty years. Although an obvious difference regarding content and use, both seems to have been a technology looking for a use, rather than a response to a demand for a new kind of service and content
(MacQuail, D., 1997). As stated by Williams (1975, p.25), ´Unlike all previous communications technologies, radio and television were systems primarily designed for transmission and reception as abstract processes, with little or no definition of predicting content´. The content of radio and television borrowed from already existing media –film, music, stories, news and sport.
The main innovations common to both radio and television have been based on the direct observation, transmission and reception of events as they happen. Another distinctive feature of radio and television has been high degree of regulation, control or licensing by public authority – initially out of technical necessity, later from a mixture of democratic choice, state self-interest, economic convenience and sheer institutional custom. A third and related historical feature of radio and television media has been their center–periphery of distribution and the association of national television with political life and the power centers of society, as they have become established as both popular and politically important. These contacts to power, radio and television have hardly anywhere acquired, as a right, the same freedom that the press enjoys, to express views and act with political independence (MacQuail, D., 1997). The broadcast media radio and television can be characterized by:
The recording and replaying of music began around 1880 and were fairly rapidly diffused, on the bases of the wide appeal of popular songs and melodies. This popularity related to the already established place of the piano (and other instruments) in the home. Much radio content since the early days has consisted of music, even more so since the rise of television (MTV). Although there has been tendency for the ´phonogram´ to replace the private making of music, there has never been a large gap between mass mediated music and personal and direct audience enjoyment of musical performance (concerts, choirs, bands, dances, etc.). The phonogram makes music of all kinds more accessible at all times in more places to more people, but it is hard to distinguish a fundamental discontinuity in the general character of popular musical experience, despite changes of type and fashion (MacQuail, D., 1997).
Changes in the broader character of the phonogram have been noticed and the first one can be related to the radio broadcasting. The radio broadcast of music increased the range and amount of music available and extended it to many more people than had access to gramophones. The change of radio from a family to an individual medium in the post-war ´transistor´ revolution was a second main change. This opened up a new market of young people for what became a growing record industry. Since then, portable tape players, Sony Walkman, the compact disc and music video have all developed and given the spiral another twist, based mainly on young audience (MacQuail, D., 1997). This has resulted in a mass media industry that is very interrelated, concentrated in ownership and internationalized (Negus, 1993). In spite of this, music media have significant radical and creative stands that have developed regardless of increased commercialization (Frith, 1981).
Music and its relationship to social events has always been recognized and occasionally celebrated or feared. From the time when the rise of the youth-based industry in the 1960s, mass-mediated popular music has been connected to youthful idealism and political concern, to supposed degeneration and pleasure-seeking, to drug-taking, violence and antisocial way of thinking. Music has also played a part in various nationalist independence movements (e.g. Ireland or Estonia). It has never been easy to regulate the content of music although the distribution has been in the hands of established institutions. Most popular music has continued to express and response to rather enduring and conventional values and personal needs. The recorded music (phonogram) media can be distinguished by:
The Internet refers to what is sometimes called telematic media telematic because they combine telecommunications and informatics. The telematic media have been heralded as the key component in the latest communication revolution that will replace broadcast television, as we know it. The Internet is a multifaceted mass medium, that is, it contains many different configurations of communication. Its varied forms show the connection between the interpersonal and mass communication (Morris, Organ, 1996). Since the 1970s this new media have been widely taken up as a mass media (MacQuail, D., 1997). Several kinds of technology are involved: of transmission (by cable or satellite); of miniaturization; of storage and retrieval; of display (using flexible combinations of text and graphics); and of control (by computer). The main features by contrast with the ´old media´ as described, are: decentralization –supply and choice are no longer predominantly in the hands of the supplier of communication; high capacity – cable or satellite delivery overcomes the former restrictions of cost, distance and capacity; interactivity –the receiver can select, answer back, exchange and be linked to other receivers directly; and flexibility of form, content and use.
Not only does this new media facilitate the distribution of existing radio and television it also offer computer video games, virtual reality and video recordings of all kinds. CD-ROMS (standing for compact disc, read only memory) offer flexible and easy access to very large store of information, by way of computer-readable discs (MacQuail, D., 1997). In general, the new media have bridged differences both between media and also between public and private definitions of communication activities. The Internet communication takes many forms, from World Wide Web pages operated by major news organizations to Usenet group discussing folk music to E-mail message among colleagues and friends. The Internet’s communication forms can be understood as a continuum. Each point in the traditional model of the communication process can, in fact, vary from one to a few to many on the Internet. Production, for example, need no longer be concentrated in large centrally located organizations (typical of film and television), nor so centrally controlled. The sources of the message can range from one person in E-mail communication, to a social group in a Listserv or Usenet group, to a group of professional journalists in a World Wide Web page. The message themselves can be traditional journalistic news stories created by a reporter and editor, stories created over a long period of time by many people, or simply conversations, such as in an Internet Relay Chat group. The receivers, or the audiences, of the message can also number from one to a potential millions, and may or may not move fluidly from their role as audience members to producers of message (Morris, Organ, 1996).
What distinguish the telematic media is:
Roundstone the band see their site here
Some photos from Iceland see here
Sólrún B. Kristinsdóttir © 2001 Síðast uppfært 21.10.2008