Week 3


Does the reading this on a computer change the message that is being sent?  Perhaps if this were a book or newspaper the information being conveyed would interpreted differently.  Maybe if this were on a billboard or canvas the message would seem more profound.  What if the font were different? Or color? Or size? There are a number of factors that play a part in how an intended message is received.

If someone writes in all cap letters is the message changed?  Marshall McLuhan would probably say yes.  Sensory input is influenced by the very instruments that convey the stimulus (McLuhan, 1967).  All caps email communication is likely to have a different impact than an all caps book title, even if it’s all the same words.  Interpretation of the message is impacted by mediums which produce the stimulus, whether its a sound, image, smell, taste or feel. 
The devices that allow us to experience sensation beyond limitations are extensions of these senses (McLuhan, 1967).  Billboards are an extension of the eyes; radio stations an extension of ears; deodorizers an extension of nose; haptic devices an extension of skin, and molecular gastronomy an extension of the tongue.  Perhaps more than allowing the world come to us, technology allows us to go into the world.  We like for those extensions to feel as familiar as the previous extension (McLuhan, 1967).  Therefore, cellphones work similar to rotary phones; IBM Thinkbooks have the same keyboard as an IBM Selectric; iPod ear buds are similar to Sony Walkman headphones.  The technology changes, but the need to feel comfortable with it remains the same.

Medium of transmission plays a role in the interpretation of messages.  Different media impacts perception in varying ways.  The goal of new media is transmit information in a similar way to it’s predecessor because there is a level of comfort in the familiar (McLuhan, 1967).  McLuhan would likely interpret our current state of technology as a way to bring our increasingly globalized world back to an intimate tribal feeling.


McLuhan, M., Fiore, Q.  (1967). The Medium is the Massage.   San Francisco: Hardwired.




Week 2

Citizenship has had many meanings since the ideas was first established.  In ancient times it simply meant to belong or be part of a group, whether a military troop or an established city state (Ohler, 2010).  As nations grew, its meaning took on a more specific definition, linking a person to a country or place which endowed the citizen and government with certain duties and responsibilities (Ohler, 2010).  As the borders are eroded by electronic connectedness, individuals are able to interact freely across the globe, the idea of citizenship has again become  less about a specific place, and more akin to the original idea of belonging freely to a group.  Despite the fact that digital citizenship now expands the globe, very little has been done to prepare digital citizens.

Based on recent data from the Media Literacy Project , little is being done to include the ideas of digital citizenship in school curriculum.  Children today are digital natives, growing up in a world surrounded by these technologies, as opposed to earlier generations that immigrated or assimilated to these ever evolving innovations (Ohler, 2010).  This proposed curriculum focuses on more than just the nuts and bolts and technology, but how people interact via the digital world.  Schools generally teach social appropriateness even if it’s not part of the official curriculum.  This is not necessarily true for digital interactions.

One group has created nine elements of digital citizenship—access, communication, commerce, literacy, etiquette, law, security, rights and responsibilities, health and wellness (Ribble, 2014).  Each of these elements have curriculum that is taught to children so they can understand and navigate the digital world safe and effectively (Ribble, 2014).  This needn’t be difficult as many of the same real life skills can be applied to digital interactions.

Media literacy and digital citizen go hand-in-hand and could be taught as a single course.  There are numerous resources for schools looking to teach about media literacy, but very few include in their curriculum (How To Teach Media Literacy in the Classroom , 2014).  Many of the elements of digital citizenship listed above could be crossed with media literacy to create a curriculum that covers both.

Despite the initiative to increase technology use, most schools do not provide education on navigating the digital world.  In a world where everyone with access to the internet is in contact with an ever expanding digital audience, the ability to understand and navigate this world is imperative.  In a digitally connected culture, how the individual represents him/herself online may be as important, if not more important, than how he/she acts in face-to-face interactions.

Works Cited

How To Teach Media Literacy in the Classroom . (2014, Feb 2). Retrieved from Understand Media: http://www.understandmedia.com/index.php/ml-pta/26-how-to-teach-media-literacy-in-the-classroom

Ohler, J. (2010). Digital Community, Digital Citizen. Corwin.

Ribble, M. (2014, Feb 1). Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship. Retrieved from Digital Citizenship: Using Technology Effectively: digitalcitizenship.net

Rose, F. (2012). The Art of Immersion. New York: Norton & Company.


Week 1 Post

The human species is amazingly resilient when it comes to communicating narratives.  People seek out ways not only to communicate, but ways to expand both width and ease of communication.  Though originally meant to transfer information, narrative became a form of escapism and entertainment.  From campfire stories to Twitter postings, people have evolved mediums of communication, and the technology has evolved mankind.

Most information was originally transmitted orally.  Not until the establishment of agrarian societies that needed to keep track of ownership and trade did written communication take root.  Even after writing existed, illiteracy was the norm with the majority or communication still verbally based.  Guttenberg’s printing press allowed wider dissemination of uniformed information (Isbouts, 2011). 

Early narratives focused on establishing a protagonist who had to overcome obstacles or conflict to reach an outcome.  From these stories grew myths and legends as stories were transmitted from one person to another, each adding their own interpretations and experiences.  Orally transmitted stories were subject to the ideas and imagination of each speaker (Bartlett, 1920).  Written communication decreased the likelihood of stories of changing.  Aristotle, seeing how unwieldy narratives could become, proposed simple, narratives that allowed for easy communication and understanding (Wagoner).

Printed narratives allowed people experience information in a new way.  The Bible, not surprisingly, was the first major narrative to be widely published.  For centuries, most printed books were non-fiction.  Fiction was mainly reserved for plays.  One of the first works of fiction to be printed was Daniel Defoe’s The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe that fictional novels began to gain acceptance (Rose, 2012).  In fact, Defoe originally declared it a work of nonfiction to get in published.  Printing allowed books, newspaper and pamphlets to be used for communication.

Until the late 1800s, print or stage remained primary forms narrative communication (Isbouts, 2011). This period saw a relatively quick change in narrative communications.  With electricity came a host of new communication forms.  Radio created a new way to bring oral communication back as a way of disseminating information.  What has been presented on stage, such as plays, opera and vaudeville, could now be done via radio.  Narrative could be told using words, sounds and music (Isbouts, 2011).

Within decades, film was a popular new medium, eventually combining both visual and auditory narrative (Isbouts, 2011).  These elements allowed people to change how stories were told.  Moving pictures allowed communication in a way never before considered.   Linear storytelling was no longer a necessity.  Elements like lighting and film speed could be used to tell a narrative, and artists used these to their advantage (Isbouts, 2011).  Changing technology allowed the audience to not only be consumers, but participants as well.  Personal recording and/or playback devices allowed consumers to alter how the narrative was consumed—such as in part or out of intended sequence.  Some media allowed users to alter the narrative such as books, games and movies that relied on consumers to determine what happened in the narrative.  Though this worked out well for games, movies that attempted it did not find a sustainable audience (Rose, 2012).

The current state of technology has blurred the lines between narrator and audience. With today’s immersive media, almost everyone is a participant (Rose, 2012).  Easy access to digital cameras and sources of dissemination, like Facebook and YouTube has allowed everyone who wants to express their narrative to a global audience.  The creativity for presenting narrative is only limited to the imagination of the user (Rose, 2012).

Based on history, people will look for new ways to communicate their narrative.  New technology will allow people to adapt and adopt to ways of expressing narrative.  It’s difficult to know exactly how or when the next evolution will occur.  Sometime understand how narrative has changed requires a look back rather than a look forward.


Bartlett, F. (1920). Some experiments on the   reproduction of folks stories. Folk-Lore, 30-47.

Isbouts, J. O. (2011). From Aristotle to Augmented   Reality. In K. Dill, The Oxford Handbook of Media Psychology. Oxford:   Oxford Publishing.

Rose, F. (2012). The Art of Immersion. New   York: Norton & Company.

Wagoner, B.  (n.d.). Culture and mind in   reconstruction: Bartlett’s analogy between individual and group processes.