06 SES 04, Ecologies of Learning and Media Theory
The Digital Age is well underway and yet in many cases we still lack the proper terms and concepts to describe and understand it, especially vis-à-vis the changing challenges of education, socialization and learning. This seems to be true of the term „media“ or „digital media“, about which there still is an ongoing debate not only limited to the educational sciences. The focus on the role of media, a working definition of what media as a concept should be and what the (educational) consequences of them are, seem to be essential questions. Any educational theory that lacks any concept of media thus seems oddly outdated. This proposal aims to discuss a concept of media that are not just another aspect of world to look at, but rather play a non-circumventable, integral role in how we interact with and perceive the world, other people and ourselves.
The theory of Strukturale Medienbildung (Jörissen & Marotzki 2009, based upon a theory of Strukturale Bildung formulated by Marotzki 1990), aims to define Bildung (as suggested by Humboldt) in close relationship to media, especially current digital media. Empirically its focus are media structures or architecture of various types of media and their effects on Bildung, understood as the continuous effort to construct and reconstruct self and world relations.
In this sense a concept of media cannot be limited to a certain category of technologies. In my dissertation (Holze 2017) I argue for a broad concept of media and mediality based on the work of Innis and McLuhan, in an attempt to shed light on their consequences for a modern concept of knowledge. Especially McLuhan’s claim „The medium is the message“ has far reaching implications for a concept of a medium Internet. One specific idea of McLuhan concerning media in general is that „the ‚content‘ of any medium is always another medium“ (McLuhan 2001, p. 8), which seems to be evident in digital media, where many types of media (e.g. text, images and sound) are encapsulated in the general infrastructure known as the internet and its services. Cyberspace itself therefor is comprised of media within media in a great variety of combinations, with every combination leading to a different set of what McLuhan calls effects (McLuhan & Fiore 1967). Using McLuhan's tentative approach of the media tetrad (McLuhan & McLuhan 1988) such effects can be explored and maybe even mapped out.
Theoretical analysis of aforementioned concepts in context of my dissertation, which explored the idea of a digital knowledge and how digital media influence established theories of knowledge.
Based on the theoretical discussion I propose a concept of media that is fundamentally connected to the human nature (arguing with McLuhan’s notion of media as extensions of man) and thus an influence on any educational endeavour. Focusing on the form and architecture of media in contrast or addition to an idea of “content” seems to be a necessary step for understanding how media and societies interrelate. Against the background of a concept of digital mediality (Jörissen 2014) and an ever growing complexity of media services that seems evident I will therefore argue that McLuhan’s ideas and theories are far from outdated. In contrary I would assert that his approach to media in general can be used specifically to address the Internet as a complex media architecture and that those theoretical reflections should inform empirical approaches.
Holze, J. (2017). Digitales Wissen: bildungsrelevante Relationen zwischen Strukturen digitaler Medien und Konzepten von Wissen. Magdeburg. Jörissen, B. (2014). Digitale Medialität. In C. Wulf & J. Zirfas (Eds.), Handbuch pädagogische Anthropologie (pp. 503-513). Wiesbaden: Springer VS. Jörissen, B., & Marotzki, W. (2009). Medienbildung - Eine Einführung: Theorie - Methoden - Analysen (1 ed.). Stuttgart: UTB. Marotzki, W. (1990). Entwurf einer strukturalen Bildungstheorie. Weinheim: Deutscher Studienverlag. McLuhan, H. M. (2001). Understanding Media (Routledge Classics). New York: Routledge Chapman & Hall. Mcluhan, H. M., & Fiore, Q. (1967). Medium Is the Massage: An inventory of effects (1 ed.). London: Penguin Books. McLuhan, H. M., & McLuhan, E. (1988). Laws of Media. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
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