The past two decades, beginning with the public’s use of the Internet in 1994 and continuing with the emergence of notebook computers, smart phones, tablets, e-readers, blogs, wikis, Twitter, and social media, has seen the most rapid evolution of communications and its impact on every aspect of society from commerce to education and from culture to government. Digital media are impacting every aspect of our lives, but they are more in control of us than we are of them. The ideas of Marshall McLuhan, scholar, social critic, literary critic, poet, and artist, can provide the kind of guidance we need, but sadly he is misunderstood by most. This book posits that McLuhan holds the key to our understanding of the new digital media. Marshall McLuhan was one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century. This book will set the record straight and provide a guide to and insights into the thinking of Marshall McLuhan. This book is the medium and Marshall is the message.Product Details
- Paperback: 250 pages
- Publisher: Key Publishing House, Inc., Toronto (September 24, 2013) http://www.thekeypublish.com/index.php
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1926780523
- ISBN-13: 978-1926780528
- Available in Paperback and Kindle e-Reader editions
- Amazon.ca listing: http://tinyurl.com/lqjueca
- Amazon.com listing: http://tinyurl.com/k8hlrlz
Select Reviewer comments:-
“Understanding media is not easy. Back in the 1960s Marshall McLuhan opened our eyes up and expanded our vision of the media ecology. Understanding McLuhan has never been easy either (“I don’t necessarily agree with everything I say” said McLuhan. Just imagine the rest). Thanks to Bob Logan now we can get closer to a full understanding of McLuhan’s complex and amazing vision of contemporary culture.” –Carlos A. Scolari, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain
“More than anyone else, Robert K. Logan has kept Marshall McLuhan’s thought alive over the generations. And now that the academic landscape seems finally ready for a thorough rereading of McLuhan’s work, we are deeply fortunate to have professor Logan still here with us to clarify and help us understand it. With stunning lucidity, scholarly precision and good humor, Bob Logan makes McLuhan’s thinking accessible to readers of the 21st century. His book impressively shows, and with apparent ease, how many of McLuhan’s ideas still hold relevance today. It is an essential introduction and an absolute must read for everyone interested in one of the most intriguing and provocative thinkers of recent intellectual history.” –Yoni Van Den Eede, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
“Not only does Bob Logan’s McLuhan Misunderstood not misunderstand McLuhan, and sets the record straight, but the book provides one of the best understandings of McLuhan around. Logan worked with Marshall McLuhan in the 1970s, and is one of the very few scholars who obtained his understanding of McLuhan not only from McLuhan’s writings and lectures, but from all-important conversations, the top of the line in the acoustic realm. This special savvy shows throughout the volume, and makes it required reading for all who seek to better understand the media of the 21st century.” –Paul Levinson, author of Digital McLuhan and New New Media, USAAbout the Author › Visit Amazon’s Robert K. Logan Page
Robert K. Logan is Professor Emeritus in physics at the U. of Toronto and Chief Scientist at the Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab) at the Ontario College of Art and Design. Logan has edited collections about Canadian politics (The Way Ahead for Canada and Canada’s Third Option) based on his experiences as one of Pierre Trudeau’s policy advisers. He has written about media and communications (The Alphabet Effect, The Fifth Language and The Sixth Language) based on his experience of collaborating and publishing with Marshall McLuhan. His book co-authored with McLuhan sits unpublished in the Canadian Archives in Ottawa, He has also written on the origin of language (The Extended Mind). Three new books are in the works at their respective publishers: Understanding New Media and What is Information based on work at the sLab and The Poetry of Physics based on a course of the same name that Logan has taught at U of T since 1971.
This is an excerpt from a copyrighted article of the same title published by me, Alex Kuskis, in (2011) Explorations in Media Ecology, 10(3&4), pp. 313-333. This is Part 1 and additional excerpts from this essay will be published in future postings.
“Not all of McLu is nu or tru, but then again neither is all of anybody else”. – John M. Culkin, S.J. (Culkin, 1967, p. 51)
Marshall McLuhan is best known as the father of media studies and prophet of the information age, less known as an English literature professor and literary scholar and scarcely recognized at all as an educationist or educational theorist.
His friend and colleague Neil Postman defined an educationist as: “… a person who is seriously concerned to understand how learning takes place and what part schooling plays in facilitating or obstructing it” (Postman, 1988, p. 83). McLuhan certainly was an educationist, but he disavowed being called a theorist of any kind; Eric McLuhan writes that his father’s attitude regarding theory was that when you: “Begin with theory, you begin with the answer; begin with observation, you begin with questions” (McLuhan, E., 2008, p. 26). But although he didn’t start by looking at theories formulated by others in his probes, the published results of his own educational investigations can arguably be considered as theory, especially when he repeated recurrent themes learned from his probes over and over again. Griffin (2009) provides the following intentionally broad definition of communication theory: “… it is “an umbrella term for all careful, systematic, and self-conscious discussion and analysis of communication phenomena” (p. 2). Substitute the word “education” for “communication” and it seems clear that McLuhan was formulating educational theory consistent with this definition, although it is debatable how “systematic” his analyses were.
The failure to recognize McLuhan as a serious educational theorist or educationist, his name being absent from most educational theory textbooks and research journals, is unfortunate, because his ideas on education and learning represent a considerable body of commentary and criticism on the educational systems and practices of his day, as well as throughout history. The author of this article, while studying at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), one of the Canada’s best faculties of education, at McLuhan’s own university no less, for two graduate degrees including a PhD, heard McLuhan’s name mentioned by professors but once over 10 years and that was by an external professor, Dr. Robert Logan, cross-appointed from the Physics Department to teach about computers in education. None of McLuhan’s writings on education were assigned for reading by any other professor and none of his ideas were presented for discussion by anyone but Dr. Logan (who had personally worked and collaborated with McLuhan). It is true that Marshall McLuhan was a controversial figure at his university, as many advanced thinkers are; but that does not explain the wholesale neglect of his contributions to educational thought by faculties of education in general.
Since McLuhan found so much to be critical of in the educational practices of his day, he points us in the direction towards which he thought education should go in the future. Some of his ideas have come to pass, though not necessarily as he envisioned them, but many have not. The Internet as a learning platform, perhaps the most powerful educational platform ever devised, makes many of McLuhan’s ideas about education achievable.
McLuhan was, of course, a lifelong practicing educator, spent his whole career as a student or faculty member in the universities of three countries and wrote his Cambridge doctoral dissertation on the Elizabethan writer Thomas Nashe and the trivium, the three subjects (grammar, logic and rhetoric) first studied in medieval universities; education, along with literature, was what he knew the most about. Some of McLuhan’s earliest published writings as a student at the University of Manitoba were on education, published in the student newspaper, The Manitoban (“Public School Education” (1933) and “Adult Education” (1934)). Of course McLuhan’s educational theories integrate with his probes and ideas on the changing nature of media environments. His perception was that when communication environments massively shift, as from a print-based culture to an electronic one, education must necessarily follow, since education is all about communication. It would make no sense for the educational media environment to be substantially out of synch with the prevailing world media environment, a view that is upheld by many present-day educational theorists:
“Technological innovations deeply influence our educational system. What we teach has always been embedded in how we teach. Now our teaching is also inextricably associated with technology and the traditional transmission model of teaching that some have practiced for so many years no longer answers to the demands of our knowledge-based society.” (Laurillard, & McAndrew, 2003)
McLuhan’s insights and critiques on how the new media were affecting the educational enterprise and the necessary changes that were required to maintain the relevance of educational systems placed him alongside such educational reformers of the 1960s and ‘70s as Jonathan Kozol, John Holt, Paul Goodman, Neil Postman, Charles Weingartner, Paulo Freire, Ivan Illich, Lloyd Dennis and others and his essays were included in educational anthologies of the time along with theirs (Gross & Gross, 1969; Stevenson, Stamp & Wilson, 1972). In a 1967 article explaining the relevance of McLuhan’s ideas on media and education to teachers, Professor John Culkin of Fordham University, a distinguished educationist himself, wrote:
“McLuhan’s relevance for education demands the work of teams of simultaneous translators and researchers who can both shape and substantiate the insights which are scattered through his work … McLuhan can help kids learn”. (Culkin, 1967, p. 72)
Neil Postman acknowledged McLuhan in his classic “Teaching as a Subversive Activity” (1969), where he calls him “… one of the most dangerous men around at the moment” because “he seems to be subverting traditional assumptions” (p.16). And, in a 1960s textbook on the history of education, the author, after explaining some of McLuhan’s ideas, asserts that: “McLuhan throws down a challenge that no educator should ignore” (Gillett, 1966, p. 291).
But very few educators have taken up that challenge and that kind of substantiation and examination of McLuhan’s ideas on education has not happened to any significant extent, although this is starting to change. There are few studies on this aspect of his work, which perhaps suggests the conservatism of the educational establishment in North America, its resistance to change and its unwillingness to consider criticisms from commentators outside the academic discipline of Education.
This essay, along with further work on retrieving the educational thought of Marshall McLuhan, including a book and collection of his lost and neglected educational writings, is intended to retrieve this important aspect of his work. If McLuhan’s writings and lectures on media anticipate the Internet, social media and global consciousness, his work on education and learning anticipates today’s use of instructional media, online, collaborative and experiential learning, constructivism, as well-as lifelong learning and other current trends in education. McLuhan and George Leonard noted in 1967 that: “The little red schoolhouse is already well on its way toward becoming the little round schoolhouse” (McLuhan & Leonard, 1967, p. 25), foreshadowing the arrival of the most powerful learning platform yet devised – the Internet. Traditional classrooms and the global village would give way to a global “classroom without walls”. This is a story that needs to be told, because everyone interested in education can benefit from it.
The recipient of the third annual Medium and Light Award, in recognition of the religious dimensions of the life and work of Marshall McLuhan, will be presented on Thursday, October 24 in Toronto.
Dr. Eric McLuhan, the award winning and internationally known lecturer and author on communications and media ecology will receive this award on Thursday, October 24 during the 50th Anniversary of the Opening of McLuhan’s Centre for Culture & Technology, University of Toronto.
The Award is given annually by The Marshall McLuhan Initiative at St Paul’s College, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.
The inaugural award, in 2011, was presented to the late Father Pierre Babin, OMI (1925-2012), in Lyons, France. The unique Medium and Light obelisk statuette representing the award was unveiled by Dr. Eric McLuhan during Toronto’s McLuhan Centenary celebrations that summer. It was designed by The Initiative in collaboration with Matthew McMillan of Prairie Stained Glass, Winnipeg.
Last year’s award was presented to Dr. Thomas W. Cooper, the distinguished professor of communications at Emerson College in Boston during the international conference “McLuhan: Social Media Between Faith and Culture” held at the University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto.
Further information about the award and its recipients may be obtained by contacting the current Director of the Marshall McLuhan Initiative, Howard Engel ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Built in 1903, the Coach House, 39A Queen’s Park Crescent East, has been the home of the Marshall McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto, since 1968.
By Kathleen OBrien – Wed, 10/09/2013
Professor and Director of the Coach House Institute (formerly known as the Centre for Culture and Technology under Professor Herbert Marshall McLuhan), Brian Cantwell Smith, will launch the yearlong, public Culture and Technology Lecture Series for the Institute on October 23, in celebration of its 50th anniversary.
After a warm welcome by Dean Seamus Ross, Dominique Scheffel-Dunand (Director, McLuhan Program in Culture & Technology, UofT), the Institute will launch an exhibit entitled “All media work us over completely” curated by PhD student Chris Young, followed by a Keynote address from Professor Cantwell Smith. A wine & cheese reception and storytelling about Marshall McLuhan will follow.
The inaugural speaker series will be held the next evening, October 24, by Dominique Wolton,Directeur, ISCC & Hermes, CNRS editions, Paris, France.
The Culture and Technology Lecture Series is a student-led initiative, organized by PhD and Masters students interested in the concept of information. This initiative has been planned in conjunction to the launch of the Culture & Technology concentration to the Faculty of Information Master of Information program to start in fall 2013 highlighting core research strengths in the field of Culture & Technology.
Lectures in the Series will focus on whether, and if so how, fundamental theories of information incorporate, accommodate, or abstract away from the diverse epistemic and ontological commitments of varied communities. Our target is the cultural dimension of information, that is — not merely the contextual specificity of information content and use, but cultural specificities in the notion of information itself.
Speakers confirmed in this year’s Lecture Series include:
Brian Cantwell Smith
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
4:30pm -5:45pm, with reception to follow. Coach House, 39A Queen’s Park Crescent East
Thursday, October 24. 2013
7:00PM – 8:30PM, with reception to follow. Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, Maclean-Hunter Room.
November 12, 2013
7:00PM – 8:30PM, with reception to follow. Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, Maclean-Hunter Room.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
7:00PM – 8:30PM, with reception to follow. Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, Maclean-Hunter Room.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
7:00PM – 8:30PM, with reception to follow. Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, Maclean-Hunter Room.
See more details at: http://mcluhan.ischool.utoronto.ca/culture-and-technology-lecture-series/
Date: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 17:00 to 18:00Location: Coach House, 39A Queen’s Park Crescent East Source: http://tinyurl.com/ld7lozs
On October 24, 1963, John Kelly, president of St. Michael’s College, and Claude T. Bissell, president of the University of Toronto, together decided to establish the Centre for Culture and Technology. The Centre became McLuhan’s office in the English Department at St. Michael’s College.
While McLuhan was at Fordham University during 1967 and ’68, Professor Arthur Porter, the acting director of the Centre, obtained the Coach House for McLuhan’s Centre. Upon McLuhan’s return from New York in 1968 the Centre moved into its new home at 39A Queen’s Park Crescent East.
50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE OPENING OF THE CENTRE FOR CULTURE & TECHNOLOGY @ THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 23, 2013 – Coach House Institute (Formerly, Centre for Culture & Technology), 39A Queens Park East, Toronto
5:00-5:15 p.m. Welcoming words
Seamus Ross (Dean, iSchool, UofT), Dominique Scheffel-Dunand (Director, McLuhan Program in Culture & technology, UofT, and Centre for Research on Language Contact, YorkU)
5:15-5:30 p.m. Launch of exhibit at the Coach House
Greetings: Michael McLuhan, Eric McLuhan, Anne Dondertman (Associate Librarian for Special Collections and Director of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library)
“All media work us over completely” - Exhibit curator: Chris Young (PhD Student, iSchool, UofT)
5:30-6:00 p.m. Inaugural lecture of the 2013 Culture & Technology Lecture Series
Keynote: Brian Cantwell Smith (Director Coach House Institute, UofT)
6:00-9:00 p.m. Wine & cheese - Storytelling about Marshall McLuhan
Host: Michael Edmunds (Former Executive Director, McLuhan Program in Culture & Technology)
Participants: David Nostbakken (Strategist and entrepreneur at N + N), Gerry Flahive (National Film Board of Canada), Panchal Mansaram (Artist), Steve Kline (Professor, Simon Fraser University), Adeena Karasick (Adjunct Professor, Fordham University)
THURSDAY OCTOBER 24, 2013 - Coach House Institute (Formerly, Centre for Culture & Technology), 39A Queens Park East, Toronto
10:30-12:30 p.m. Culture & Technology: A name? An idea? A place? A network?
Moderator: Domenico Pietropaolo (Principal of St. Michael’s College, UofT)
Participants: David Olson (Professor Emeritus, OISE, UofT), Derrick de Kerckhove (Professor Emeritus, UofT), Francesco Guardiani (Italian Studies, St. Michael College, UofT), Dominique Scheffel-Dunand
Local network: Louise Poissant (Doyenne, Faculté des arts, UQÀM), Gale Moore (Professor Emeritus, Former Director, Knowledge Media Design Institute, UofT)
International network: Maria Pia Rossignaud (Media Duemila)
12:30-1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30-2:30 p.m. Making sense of Culture & Technology: How prescient & relevant is McLuhan today? The next generation’s point of view
Moderator: Mark Chignell (Director, Knowledge Media Design Institute, UofT)
Participants: Brian Griffin (PhD Student, iSchool, UofT), Andrea Grassi (Master’s Student, iSchool, UofT); Mark Sedore (PhD Student, iSchool, UofT), Jenna Jacobson (PhD Student, iSchool, UofT); Adam Pugen (PhD Student, iSchool, UofT)
Senate Chambers, Glendon Campus, York University, 2275 Bayview Avenue (concurrent with proceedings at U of T)
3:00-4:30 p.m. Mondes francophones (Senate Chamber, Glendon College, York University)
Keynote: Dominique Wolton (Directeur, ISCC & Hermès, CNRS éditions, Paris, France)
3:00-5:00 p.m. Massaging Culture & Technology: How prescient & relevant is McLuhan? A suspended judgement
Moderators: Leslie Regan Shade (Associate Professor, iSchool, UofT)
Participants: Bob Logan (Professor Emeritus, Physics, UofT), Lance Strate (Professor, Fordham University), Matt Ratto (Assistant Professor, iSchool, UofT), Janine Marchessault (Professor, Film, YorkU), Joshua Meyrowitz (Professor, Communication, University of New Hampshire), Paul Hoffert (Professor, Digital Media, YorkU)
Respondent: Steve Kline
THURSDAY OCTOBER 24, 2013 – Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, Maclean-Hunter Room, 120 St. George Street, University of Toronto
7:00-8:30 p.m. 2nd lecture of the 2013 Culture & Technology Lecture Series
Keynote: Dominique Wolton (Director, Institut des sciences de la communication du CNRS, Directeur, Hermès, CNRS éditions, Paris, France) In conversation with: Guy Proulx (Professor, Psychology, Glendon College, YorkU), Hervé Saint-Louis (PhD Student, iSchool, UofT), Anthony Wensley (Director of the Institute of Communication, Culture & Information Technology, UTM)
8:30-9:30 p.m. Reception - Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto
DOWNLOAD A PDF OF THE EVENT: 50th Anniversary Brochure
Portrait of Claude Bissell outside the president’s office, Simcoe Hall, U of T
In 2011, the Information Services team at the Inforum received a donation-in-kind from the wife of Claude T. Bissell. While president of U of T, Bissell became friends with Marshall McLuhan and as friends, McLuhan often made gifts of his work to Bissell and, in turn, Bissell made sure to watch for material written about or in response to McLuhan. When Bissell passed away in 2000, he had a significant collection of material by and about McLuhan in his personal library which his wife and daughter saw fit to donate to the Inforum. The donation was a modest yet valuable collection of works by and about Marshall McLuhan. The McLuhan-Bissell collection chronicles McLuhan’s life-work and includes major works, personal letters, extensive annotations, and much more. The donated material comes in monographic, serial, ephemeral, and archival format and totals 92 items overall. The collection has been sorted into two boxes that are packaged by weight. Box one contains serials, monographs, and other materials, while box two only holds monographs. Page 12 contains a listing of the contents of each box.
You can download a pdf Finding Aid for this collection from http://tinyurl.com/pm7mg6m .
As a bonus, here’s a short biography of Marshall McLuhan in pdf written by Claude Bissell that he published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Canada, Issue 19, 1981, the year after McLuhan died: http://tinyurl.com/pzlw4rp
“Risk more than others think is safe
Care more than others think is wise
Dream more than others think is practical
Expect more than others think is possible” – Claude Bissell
CORINNE MCLUHAN: “I was doing my best to get Marshall interested in the offers he had had from universities in the States. We went to see Claude Bissell, president of the U of T. And Claude said ‘All right, Marshall, what would you think about having your own building, your own Coach house?’ Marshall was in 7th heaven”. - McLuhan’s Wake (2002)
- Born in Meaford, Ontario, the youngest of nine children.
- Graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1936
- Received Master of Arts degree in English literature in 1937.
- PhD in English Literature from Cornell, 1940.
- Served in the Canadian Army during World War II.
- Assistant professor at the University of Toronto in 1952.
- President of Carleton College (now Carleton University) from 1956 to 1958.
- Returned to University of Toronto in 1958 to become the 8th president.
- Tripled the size of the university during his tenure
- Claude T. Bissell Building at the University of Toronto is named after him.
- The country’s youngest university president when he accepted the position at Carleton in 1956 at the age of 40.
Bissell was the chairman of the Canada Council 1960-62, and the first Mackenzie King professor of Canadian studies at Harvard 1967-68. He is the author of The Strength of the University (1968), Halfway up Parnassus(1974), The Humanities in the University (1977), and a 2-volume biography of Vincent Massey: The Young Vincent Massey (1981) and The Imperial Canadian (1986).Robert Fulford Remembers Claude Bissell
(The National Post, September 5, 2000)
If you were reading the newspapers in the years when Claude Bissell was president of the University of Toronto, 1958 to 1971, you knew the place was in a bad way. Frantic expansion, overcrowded classrooms, arbitrary management and noisy radical politics: These were dominant themes of his presidency, to outsiders and some insiders as well.
But in retrospect, those years have acquired a patina of excellence. Bissell died in June at the age of 84, and on Sept. 21 his friends and colleagues will be discussing his career at a memorial gathering in Massey College. They may well speak of the Bissell era as a kind of golden age, and for good reason.
During Bissell’s presidency, Northrop Frye at Victoria College was, according to one survey, the world’s second most quoted critic in the humanities, Aristotle being the first. Nearby, at St. Michael’s College, another English professor, Marshall McLuhan, was inventing a new field, media studies. John Polanyi was working on what the Nobel committee would call, in 1986, “a new field of research in chemistry.” In the law school, Bora Laskin, later the chief justice of the Supreme Court, was consolidating his reputation as a constitutional scholar. Around the corner, Robertson Davies, the founding master of Massey College, was writing the novels that made him a world figure.
And Bissell was building a monument to his era, the Robarts Library. Many of those who thought that building much too big for its environment (I among them) have since realized that Bissell needed a lot of space to create one of the three or four best libraries on the continent, a library good enough to serve the first-class graduate school that was also in his plans.
He wasn’t responsible for the brilliance of faculty members like Frye, McLuhan, Polanyi and Davies, but he helped create the environment in which they flourished. The fact that he could appreciate both Frye and McLuhan (whose followers considered them mutually exclusive passions) suggests his breadth of understanding. The fact that he could keep so many sacred monsters more or less happy, and keep Frye and McLuhan from going elsewhere for better pay, demonstrates what one of his colleagues called “the always amiable sense of purpose” that went along with his imagination, energy and management skill.
In the 1940s, Bissell taught English literature before becoming an administrator under president Sidney Smith, first as his assistant and then vice-president. It was not an altogether happy apprenticeship. Smith was intelligent but pompous, and his reaction to a spoof in the campus newspaper, The Varsity, was typical. The editors printed the text of a speech in which he announced remedial English classes (made necessary by inadequate training in high school), but they substituted the word “sex” wherever Smith used the word “English”; they attributed the speech to president Kidney Myth. Affronted, Smith made a fuss about punishing the students and forcing them to apologize. Bissell, a man of tolerant good humour, must have looked on in horror.
He left Toronto in 1956 for Ottawa, to become president of Carleton University. During his two years in that job, he created the first Institute of Canadian Studies, an experiment that was copied across the country. Read the rest at: http://www.robertfulford.com/ClaudeBissell.html
Claude T. Bissell Building, University of Toronto
The Claude T. Bissell Building houses U of T’s Faculty of Information. The university named this building after Bissell to honour his contributions to U of T as a student, scholar and leader.
The Banff Centre is located in Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The spectacular beauty of the Canadian Rockies surrounds our campus spread over 43 acres of land on the west side of Tunnel Mountain and just a few blocks from downtown Banff.
CROSSMEDIA BANFF 2013, is a Digital MashUp of 30 of the most innovative companies and creators in motion, mobile, marketing, publishing and gaming. Using rapid-fire demos, leading entrepreneurs and academics will present their business models while discussing innovation in the future of the digital ecosystem. The program will open in the Canadian Rockies with a keynote speech by Dr. Eric McLuhan, co-author of “Laws of Media” written with his legendary father, Marshall McLuhan.
Eric’s keynote is titled Innovation Comes in Fours. Starting with a joke as his father always did, his presentation is divided into 3 parts: figure/ground theory, the Laws of Media and media as extensions of humans, and the human equation dealing with the 4 bodily postures that are equivalent to the Laws of Media. To save yourself time, start at minute 24 when Eric is introduced and follow as far as minute 45 when it ends.
Unfortunately the embedding code does not work correctly, so follow this link to view the video: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/39163756
Confronting Technopoly: Creativity & the Creative Industries in Global Perspective
Second Call For Papers
Thursday 19th – Sunday June 22, 2014
Ryerson University - Toronto, Canada
Ryerson U, in the heart of Toronto
Convention Coordinator: Phil Rose (email@example.com)
Keynote Speaker: Ronald J. Deibert
Confirmed Participants: Eric McLuhan, Paul Heyer, William Buxton, Ellen Rose, Lance Strate, Rick Salutin, Eric Peterson, Elena Lamberti, Robert K. Logan, David Cayley, Janine Marchessault, William Vanderburg, Paolo Granata, Corey Anton, Nadia Delicata
The ‘Toronto School of Communication’ represents one of the main developmental pillars of the media ecology perspective. And, in 2014, Ryerson University will host the Media Ecology Association’s 15th Annual Convention – the first to be held in the city of Toronto. The relationship between Marshall McLuhan and the former ‘Ryerson Institute of Technology’ began in the early 1950s, and the latter was later to provide the venue where McLuhan accomplished much of the work for his “Project in Understanding New Media” (1960). Completed for the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, this work later formed the basis for his internationally renowned book Understanding Media (1964). A text in which McLuhan articulates his sense of the socio-cultural role that creativity and ‘integral awareness’ must play for future human survival, the 50th anniversary of its first publication coincides with our convention, which invites papers, panels, creative projects, and other proposals presenting research and/or exploring topics and ideas related to the convention theme.
Neil Postman’s neologism ‘Technopoly’ – roughly what Jacques Ellul calls ‘La Technique’ and what McLuhan refers to as ‘technological trauma’ – is a rich concept. Denoting the digital age cultural conditions characterised by elements such as scientific management, scientism, information overload, and other forms of socio-technical conflict, it also includes the contemporary moral crisis associated with ‘autonomous technology’, corporatism, Pentagon capitalism, totalitarian technocracy, and American global hegemony. “Nature and history seem to have agreed to designate us in Canada for a corporate, artistic role,” McLuhan wrote in the late 1970s. “As the U.S.A. becomes a world environment through its resources, technology, and enterprises, Canada takes on the function of making that world environment perceptible to those who occupy it”. In the Canadian spirit, then, let us collectively probe the phenomenon of Technopoly in relation to any topics, but with particular interest in how creativity and the cultural or creative industries might evolve in relation to it, and possibly serve to neutralise its toxic effects. Though priority will be given to submissions that touch upon or reflect the conference theme, all abstracts for papers, panel proposal submissions, etc. that address media ecological topics are welcome. No more than two submissions per author will be accepted, and authors who wish to be considered for the Top Paper or Top Student Paper awards should submit complete manuscripts and indicate the award for which they are applying.
The convention site – located in the heart of Toronto’s downtown core – is easily accessed by both ground and air transportation, and proximate to most of the city’s major attractions. Those visiting Toronto from afar may also appreciate visiting nearby Niagara Falls at the Canada/U.S. border – an environment inscribed by some as one of the ‘seven wonders of the world’.
Guidelines for Submission
For Manuscripts: for MEA award submissions
- Manuscripts should be 4,000-6,000 words (approximately 15 to 25 double-spaced pages)
- Include a cover page (or e-submission page) with your academic or professional affiliation and other contact information.
- Include a 150 words abstract, with the title. Use APA, MLA or Chicago style.
For Paper and Panel Proposals:
- Include title, 250 words abstract, and contact information with your proposal.
- Outline, as relevant, how your paper or panel will fit with the convention theme.
Submission deadline: November 1, 2013.
To submit go to: https://www.easychair.org/account/signin.cgi?conf=mea2014
For submission enquiries contact Sheena Hyndman (firstname.lastname@example.org ).
For more on the Media Ecology Association, visit http://www.media-ecology.org .
Le 15e congrès annuel de la Media Ecology Association
À l’encontre de la technopolie : la créativité et les industries de création dans une optique planétaire
Appel à communications
Du 19 au 22 juin 2014
Université Ryerson – Toronto, Canada
Organisateur du congrès : Phil Rose (email@example.com)
Conférencier : Ronald J. Deibert
Participants Confirmé: Eric McLuhan, Paul Heyer, William Buxton, Ellen Rose, Lance Strate, Rick Salutin, Eric Peterson, Elena Lamberti, Robert K. Logan, David Cayley, Janine Marchessault, William Vanderburg, Paolo Granata, Corey Anton, Nadia Delicata
La Toronto School of Communication est l’un des principaux piliers du développement de l’écologie des médias. En 2014, l’Université Ryerson accueillera notre 15e congrès annuel, le tout premier à se tenir à Toronto. Les relations de Marshall McLuhan et de l’ancien Ryerson Institute of Technology ont commencé au début des années 50. C’est là où, plus tard, McLuhan effectuera une grande partie de ses travaux pour le « Project in Understanding New Media » (1960). Réalisé pour le compte du U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, ce projet constituera plus tard la base de son livre de renommée internationale, « Pour comprendre les médias » (1964). Dans les pages de ce volume, McLuhan exprime son interprétation du rôle socioculturel que doivent jouer la créativité et la « sensibilisation intégrale » dans la survie future de la race humaine. Notre congrès coïncidera avec le 50e anniversaire de la première publication de cet ouvrage.
La « technopolie », néologisme inventé par Neil Postman, – une approximation de la thèse de « La technique » postulée par Jacques Ellul et de l’idée du « traumatisme technologique » avancée par Marshall McLuhan – est un concept riche. Encapsulant les conditions culturelles de l’ère numérique, caractérisée par des éléments tels que la gestion scientifique, le scientisme, la surcharge d’information et d’autres formes de conflit sociotechnique, la technopolie comprend aussi la crise morale contemporaine associée à la « technologie autonome », au capitalisme du Pentagone, à la technocratie totalitaire et à l’hégémonie mondiale des États-Unis. « La nature et l’histoire semblent s’être entendues pour nous accorder, au Canada, un rôle artistique corporatif, écrira McLuhan vers la fin des années 70. Tandis que les États-Unis deviennent un environnement mondial par le biais de leurs ressources, de leur technologie et de leurs entreprises, le Canada a pour fonction de rendre cet environnement mondial perceptible à ceux qui l’occupent. » Creusons ensemble, dans cet esprit canadien, le phénomène de la technopolie en lien avec tous les sujets, en accordant une attention particulière à l’évolution possible du processus créatif et des industries culturelles ou de création par rapport à la technopolie et à leur potentiel de neutralisation des effets nocifs de celle-ci.
Les organisateurs du congrès donneront priorité aux communications s’inscrivant dans le thème du congrès. Nous invitons cependant tout résumé de communication, toute proposition de panel, etc., sur les thèmes de l’écologie des médias. Les auteurs souhaitant soumettre un manuscrit pour les prix « Top Paper » ou « Top Student Paper » doivent indiquer le prix visé.
Le congrès se déroulera au cœur du centre-ville de Toronto. Ceux et celles qui viendront de loin voudront peut-être en profiter pour aller explorer les chutes du Niagara, à la frontière canado-américaine – un lieu parfois décrit comme l’une des sept merveilles du monde.
Critères de soumission (Échéance : le 1er novembre 2013)
Manuscrits : soumissions mises en considération pour les prix MEA
- Les manuscrits doivent faire de 4 000 à 6 000 mots (de 15 à 20 pages à interligne double).
- La page frontispice doit inclure votre affiliation académique ou professionnelle et vos coordonnées.
- Fournir un résumé de 150 mots et indiquer le titre. Suivre le style APA, MLA ou Chicago.
Communications et panels
- Fournir le titre, un aperçu de 250 mots et vos coordonnées.
- Indiquer, le cas échéant, comment votre communication ou panel s’inscrit dans le thème du congrès.
- Les communications et les résumés en français sont acceptés.
Pour soumettre aller à: https://www.easychair.org/account/signin.cgi?conf=mea2014
Pour la soumission renseignement, s’addresser Sheena Hyndman: (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Pour de plus amples renseignements sur la Media Ecology Association, visitez notre site Web au http://www.media-ecology.org
As an important educationist during his lifetime, that is, “a person who is seriously concerned to understand how learning takes place and what part schooling plays in facilitating or obstructing it” (Postman, 1988, p. 83), Marshall McLuhan expressed concerns about the traditional classroom in its role as the principal, often only, locus for institutional learning. He frequently expressed his concern:-
“We have to realize that more instruction is going on outside the classroom, many times more every minute of the day than goes on inside the classroom. That is, the amount of information that is embedded in young minds per minute outside the classroom far exceeds anything that happens inside the classroom in just quantitative terms now.” - McLuhan, M. (1966, April). Electronics & the psychic drop-out. THIS Magazine is about SCHOOLS. p. 38.
“In the future basic skills will no longer be taught in classrooms.” Ibid., p.38.
A l’école, Jean Marc Cote, 1901 – education as knowledge transmission
“Erasmus was the first to act on the awareness that part of the new revolution was going to be felt in the classroom. He decided to direct the revolution from the classroom. I think the same situation confronts us. We are already experiencing the discomfort and challenge of classrooms without walls … We can decide either to move into the new wall-less classroom in order to act upon our total environment or to look on it as the last dike holding back the media flood. Let us consider that the flow of information into the student mind (and our own as well) which was once oral, and then printed, could easily be controlled in the classroom. Today only a tiny trickle of the information flow into the student mind can be accounted for in the classroom. For every fact or attitude which the teacher can initiate or direct, the visual and auditory environment today provides many thousands.” – (1956). Educational Leadership for a Free World: Mass Media of Communication. Teachers College Record. 57(6), p. 401.
McLuhan variously labelled his alternatives to classrooms as “classroom without walls”, “city as classroom” and “the little round schoolhouse”, to be explained another time. The reason for his concern about classrooms is that our built structures and spaces contained by them dictate how we work and interact in them. As Winston Churchill observed in 1943: “We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.”
The educational world is catching on and considering ways of taking learning out of classrooms, while not abandoning them entirely, at least not yet. Here are 3 articles that address this trend:-
1. The Flipped Classroom Guide for Teachers – “High school teachers Aaron Sanns and Jonathan Bergman were the first to flip their classrooms. The Flip started when these teachers began supplying absent students with an online lecture they could watch from home or from wherever they had access to a computer and the Internet, including school or the local library. They soon realized that if all their students could do this from home, then they wouldn’t need to lecture in class. Instead, class time could be used for expanding upon the content through collaborative learning and mastery concept exercises. In this video he explains the benefits he has experienced through flipping his classroom and in the process, will likely encourage you to delve into the world of Flipped Classrooms”. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/puaw869
2. Schools Looking Outside to Inspire Students – “Starting this fall, the Simcoe County District School Board, north of Toronto, is using music stations, giant xylophones, sandboxes, road lanes painted on concrete, stages, wooden benches and pumpkin patches in its schoolyards as part of an ambitious experiment in learning. The board will build outdoor classrooms in all 85 of its elementary schools, and experts say it is believed to be the only district in the country embarking on such large-scale ambitions. The research is clear: Getting outside motivates children to learn, keeps them attentive, builds their imaginations and improves classroom behaviour, all of which can improve test scores. This is on top of the obvious physical benefits”. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/pavg4ek )
3. Technology Transforming Classroom of the Future – “Gardner’s classroom is a glimpse at what the future holds for education, with technology impacting everything from what kids learn to how they learn, to even where they learn. It means more collaboration, but less formal space — and, in the years to come, not even as much space, because with smartphones and tablets a part of the lesson, learning will happen just as much outside schools walls as inside. “I see the lines blurring between what is school life, what is home life and the real world,” adds James Bambury, a Grade 6 teacher at Beryl Ford public school in Peel, who uses technology to track students’ learning as well as assessment … Jenson sees a future where students won’t necessarily be in the building every day, where lectures are few and far between and where subjects are combined and the school day is divvied up differently. “They might come to school every day but not sit in classrooms every day like we’ve been making them,” she said”. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/nr8mfpx )
Paul Levinson writes:-
I was interviewed in July 2012 about the relevance of Marshall McLuhan’s thinking to our current age of YouTube and social media. The interview was conducted by J. Charles Sterin for the second edition of his Mass Media Revolution, a multi-media book published in July 2013. The video contains clips of McLuhan from 1967, juxtaposed with my observations.
Dr. Levinson points out that the two most famous aphorisms that McLuhan is famous for – “the medium is the message” and “global village” – have taken on new meanings in the Internet Age, meanings that differ from what McLuhan intended by them back in the ’60s with its pre-Internet media ecology. By “the medium is the message” McLuhan meant what he wrote in this quote from Chapter 1 of ‘Understanding Media’ (1964):
“The medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium – that is of any extension of ourselves – result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology” (MIT Press edition, 1994, p. 7).
The key words are: “the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology”. It means that we should pay greater attention to the impact on the world that any communication medium has, consider how it changes society and the world both for better and worse, rather than its content, “the new scale that is introduced into our affairs”, rather than the messages that are carried.
Here’s how McLuhan described his sense of the global village: “Today, after more than a century of electric technology, we have extended our central nervous system itself in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned.”- Understanding Media, 1964.
He saw the global village as the interconnectness and resulting mutual awareness of people around the world due to electronic communication technologies (TV, satellites, movies) and inexpensive global travel (jet planes, ships, trains). I speculated in a posting on this blog last year that McLuhan might have had the Telstar communications satellite, first launched in 1962, in mind when he formulated his global village idea (see http://tinyurl.com/q387bt4 ). He wrote the following in The Medium is the Massage (1967, p. 14): “The family circle has widened. The worldpool of information fathered by the electric media—movies, Telstar, flight—far surpasses any possible influence mom and dad can now bring to bear. Character no longer is shaped by only two earnest, fumbling experts. Now all the world’s a sage”. This awareness, arrived at because of our technologies, does not necessarily lead to mutual understanding, respect, and global harmony, as Marshall McLuhan (who adopted the term from the writer Wyndham Lewis) wrote in his book “War & Peace in the Global Village” (1968). Today we tend to regard the global village in terms of social media and online communities.
by Norm Friesen, PhD ( http://learningspaces.org/bio/ )
Did Walter Benjamin’s powerful metaphor of the “constellation” wind up becoming the titular figure in Marshall McLuhan’s Gutenberg Galaxy? Benjamin and McLuhan actually have something in common besides a shared interest in recent material histories. This commonality is a personal relationship and great admiration for historian Sigfried Giedion, who coined the term “anonymous history,” who Benjamin met in Paris while working on his Arcades Project, and who McLuhan came to know early in his own career.Wandering Star: The Image of the Constellation in Benjamin, Giedion & McLuhan from Norm Friesen
EXCERPT: “The purpose of this presentation is to trace the metaphor of the constellation in the materialist modernism of Benjamin and Giedion to the more conservative theoretical constructions of McLuhan, viewing it as a kind of “travelling concept,” as Mieke Bal has described: an elastic idea or metaphor, offering “a site of debate, awareness and tentative exchange.” As Martin Jay points out, this metaphor of the constellation also travelled from Benjamin via Theodore Adorno to America and back to Europe, to re-emerge in Adorno’s postwar writings while at he was the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research. As Jay explains, in the context of this exchange, the term constellation signified “a juxtaposed rather than integrated cluster of changing elements that resist reduction to a common denominator, essential core, or generative first principle” (1984, pp. 14-15). These characteristics also generally apply to the term “constellation” as I consider it here. In the instance of travel that is my principle focus, Giedion serves as an indispensable conduit between Benjamin and McLuhan.”
UPDATED: A draft paper based on this talk is available here.
“Instead of tending towards a vast Alexandrian library the world has become a computer, an electronic brain, exactly as an infantile piece of science fiction. And as our senses have gone outside us, Big Brother goes inside. So, unless aware of this dynamic, we shall at once move into a phase of panic terrors, exactly befitting a small world of tribal drums, total interdependence, and superimposed co-existence”. – Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy, 1962
Tony Schwartz in his media lab, New York City, 1982 (Photo by Nancy Kaye)
An article about Tony Schwartz was previously published on this blog on November 9, 2011. See http://tinyurl.com/pv9sglm .About Tony Schwartz
Tony Schwartz, master of electronic media, created more than 20,000 radio and television spots for products, political candidates and non-profit public interest groups. Featured on programs by Bill Moyers, Phil Donahue and Sixty Minutes, among others, Schwartz has been described as a “media guru,” a “media genius” and a “media muscleman.” The tobacco industry even voluntarily stopped their advertising on radio and television after Schwartz’s produced the first anti-smoking ad to ever appear (children dressing in their parents’ clothing, in front of a mirror). The American Cancer Society credits this ad, and others that followed, with the tobacco industry’s decision to go off the air, rather than compete with Schwartz’s ad campaign.
Born in midtown Manhattan in 1923, a graduate of Peekskill High School (1941) and Pratt Institute (1944), Tony Schwartz had a unique philosophy of work: He only worked on projects that interested him, for whatever they could afford to pay.
For thirty one years (1945-1976) he created and produced a weekly radio program of people and sounds of New York on WNYC (AM & FM). For over 15 years he wrote a weekly column for Media Industry Newsletter (MIN).
When Marshall McLuhan met Tony Schwartz, he said he met “a disciple with twenty years prior experience!” Later, McLuhan and Schwartz shared the Schweitzer Chair at Fordham University [Note: Schwartz collaborated with McLuhan at Fordham, but did not "share" the Schweitzer Chair.]
“Documenting life in sound and pictures” is something Tony Schwartz begin in 1945, when he bought his first Webcor wire recorder and began to record the people and sounds around him. From this hobby developed one of the world’s largest and most diverse collections of voices, both prominent and unknown, street sounds and music, a collection that resulted in nineteen phonograph albums for Folkways and Columbia Records.
Schwartz began to do commercials for national advertisers, in which he revolutionized the industry: he was the first ever use real children’s voices in radio and television ads, as opposed to adults imitating children. From commercials involving children, he moved to general advertising, everything from Coke to airlines, political campaigns and public interest media — every ten years, Schwartz’s sphere of interest expanded to include new directions and new challenges, as well as continuing the old.
Credited with the single most effective and talked about ad ever produced, Tony Schwartz created the Daisy Ad, as it has become known, to highlight the dangers of nuclear arms. It was used by the Johnson campaign in 1964 to clearly illustrate his position on the use of nuclear weapons. Considering the extensive discussion that the ad has sparked, it is remarkable that the ad ran only once. (Source: http://www.tonyschwartz.org/ )
The following recent article by Michael Schmidt describes some of Tony Schwartz’s sound recording experiments:-“Nancy Grows Up,” the Media Age, and the Historian’s Craft
Recorded over the course of the 1950s and the early 1960s, “Nancy Grows Up” gives us a beautiful and stimulating portrait of growth. It is an audio montage; Tony Schwartz, its creator, continuously taped his niece from her first month of life to the age of thirteen and, later, spliced together pieces chronologically. Schwartz likened what he did to time-lapse photography: it condenses the story of thirteen years, as Schwartz said, in less than two and a half minutes.
Source: http://tinyurl.com/kj39nlp (My thanks to Graham Larkin for bringing this to my attention)
Tony Schwartz is the author of 3 books, and a subject of many others.THE RESPONSIVE CHORD (1973 paperback) defines the resonance principle in communications. Says McLuhan, “This book is the only one…which even begins to approach the problem of human scale in relation to electronic media. This is a totally untouched field and Tony Schwartz has a monopoly in this area.” [more info] MEDIA: THE SECOND GOD (1983 paperback) describes how media has changed our society and how to use it to change our society. Of Schwartz, upon reading the book, Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “Who else could write more brilliantly about media as a second god than one of the few human beings who has learned how to use it and control it?!”[more info]
Nevitt was born in 1908 in St. Catharines, Ontario and spent his early years abroad, returning to Toronto from England in 1917. From 1920 to 1930, Nevitt was involved in the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of radio equipment. Nevitt was employed as a radio operator for the Canadian Marconi Company on coast and ship stations between 1927 and 1928. For a year, he served as a bush pilot in training with the Ontario Provincial Air Service. In 1932 Nevitt went to Leningrad to work as a research and development engineer at Zavod Elecktropibor where he assisted in the development of VHF measurement techniques. In 1933, Nevitt returned to Canada and worked with the Northern Electric Company in Montreal as a manufacturing engineer of telecommunication equipment, remaining with the company until 1939. During WWII, Nevitt worked on various sensitive projects at Canadian Pacific and Defence Communications Ltd, and as an engineer developing radio teletype systems at RCA. He remained with RCA as an executive engineer until 1947.
Nevitt received his Bachelor of Applied Science, Electrical Engineering, from the University of Toronto in 1941 and his Master of Engineering in Telecommunications degree from McGill University in 1945. From 1947 to 1960 Nevitt worked for the Swedish international public utilities firm L.M. Ericsson of Stockholm as a telecommunications troubleshooter in various locales including Caracas, Venezuela, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In the early 1960’s, Nevitt served as a consultant to the Royal Commission for Government Organization, and returned to work for the Northern Electric Company and for other private and governmental bodies. In 1963, he joined the Ontario Development Corporation as a manager in research and consultative services, rising to become the corporation’s Director of Innovations.
Nevitt’s association with Marshall McLuhan began while he was a graduate student. From 1965 until McLuhan’s death in 1980, they wrote various articles and papers together. In 1968, McLuhan invited Nevitt to collaborate on the book later published under the title Take Today; the Executive as Drop Out (1972). For more than a decade, Nevitt assisted McLuhan in the conducting of weekly seminars at the Centre for Culture and Technology.
Nevitt published several works throughout the later portion of his career including: ABC of Prophecy, (1982), The Communication Ecology (1982), Keeping Ahead of Economic Panic (1985), Who Was Marshall McLuhan? (co-written with Maurice McLuhan 1993), and the self published science fiction work Captain Gulliver’s Interplanetary Travels. Nevitt died in 1995. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/kqkk9st )
This recently restored video shows Marshall McLuhan and Barrington Nevitt in conversation in front of the René Cera painting Pied Pipers All in the Coach House, University of Toronto, likely in 1972 when Take Today: The Executive as Dropout was published.
While not specifically about communication or media, this collection of essays expands our understanding of political economist and communication scholar Harold Innis who had a profound influence on Marshall McLuhan. The North is Canada’s emerging frontier as its development expands, while climate change makes the northern passages increasingly navigable by ships.
Edited by William J. Buxton
Exploring a celebrated Canadian political economist through a northern lens.Harold Innis is widely understood as the proponent of the “Laurentian school” of historiography, which mapped Canadian development along an East-West axis. Harold Innis and the North turns the axis North-South by examining Innis’s intense and abiding interest in the North, and providing new perspectives on this seminal figure in Canadian political economy and communication studies.
This collection reveals that Innis’s advocacy of the North was closely bound up with his vision of northern Canada as the site of a second industrial revolution based on mining, hydro-electric power, pulp and paper, and enabled by new forms of transportation. Long preoccupied with Canada’s coming of age as a balanced and integrated industrial nation-state, Innis grappled with the same issues about the North in the Canadian nation that we are dealing with today. Chapters explore the breadth of Innis’s northern activities, including his early studies of the fur trade, his biography of eighteenth-century explorer and cartographer Peter Pond, his review essays on the North for the Canadian Historical Review, his leadership of the Rockefeller-sponsored Arctic Survey, and his trip to the Soviet Union.
Harold Innis and the North crafts a new narrative about the nature and scope of Innis’s intellectual project and provides a unique appreciation of his multi-faceted professional identity.
Contributors include Sergei Arkhipov (North-Ossetian State University and NGO Vladikavkaz Institute of Economics) Jeffrey Brison (Queens), George Colpitts (Calgary), Matthew Evenden (UBC), Barry Gough (Churchill College, Cambridge and Kings College, London), Paul Heyer (Wilfrid Laurier), Jim Mochoruk (North Dakota), Liza Piper (Alberta), Shirley Roburn (Concordia), Peter van Wyck (Concordia), Jeff Webb (Memorial).Source: http://tinyurl.com/o478jmk William J. Buxton About Bill Buxton: http://coms.concordia.ca/faculty/buxton.htm
This is a formal revised announcement, updating the earlier announcement published earlier on this blog.
Confronting Technopoly: Creativity & the Creative Industries in Global Perspective
Call For Papers
June 19-22, 2014 – Ryerson University – Toronto, Canada
Convention Coordinator: Phil Rose (dr.philrose[at]gmail.com)
The ‘Toronto School of Communication’ represents one of media ecology’s main developmental pillars. And, in 2014, Ryerson University will host our 15th Annual Convention – the first to be held in the city of Toronto. The relationship between Marshall McLuhan and the former ‘Ryerson Institute of Technology’ began in the early 1950s, and the latter was later to provide the venue where McLuhan accomplished much of the work for his “Project in Understanding New Media” (1960). Completed for the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, this work later formed the basis for his internationally renowned book Understanding Media (1964). A text in which McLuhan articulates his sense of the socio-cultural role that creativity and ‘integral awareness’ must play for future human survival, the 50th anniversary of its first publication coincides with our convention.
Neil Postman’s neologism ‘Technopoly’ – roughly what Jacques Ellul calls ‘La Technique’ and what McLuhan refers to as ‘technological trauma’ – is a rich concept. Denoting the digital age cultural conditions characterised by elements such as scientific management, scientism, information overload, and other forms of socio-technical conflict, it also includes the contemporary moral crisis associated with ‘autonomous technology’, corporatism, Pentagon capitalism, totalitarian technocracy, and American global hegemony. “Nature and history seem to have agreed to designate us in Canada for a corporate, artistic role,” McLuhan wrote in the late 1970s”. As the U.S.A. becomes a world environment through its resources, technology, and enterprises, Canada takes on the function of making that world environment perceptible to those who occupy it”. In the Canadian spirit, then, let us collectively probe the phenomenon of Technopoly in relation to any topics, but with particular interest in how creativity and the cultural or creative industries might evolve in relation to it, and possibly serve to neutralise its toxic effects. Though priority will be given to submissions that touch upon or reflect the conference theme, all abstracts for papers, panel proposal submissions, etc. that address media ecological topics are welcome. Authors who wish to be considered for the Top Paper or Top Student Paper awards should submit manuscripts indicating the award they are applying for.
The convention site is located in the heart of Toronto’s downtown core, and those visiting us from afar may also appreciate paying a visit to the nearby Niagara Falls at the Canada/U.S. border – an environment inscribed by some as one of the ‘seven wonders of the world’.
Guidelines for Submission (Submission Deadline: November 1, 2013)
For Manuscripts: (for MEA award submissions)
1. Manuscripts should be 4,000-6,000 words (15 to 25 double-spaced pages)
2. Include cover page with academic/professional affiliation and other contact information.
3. Include a 150-word abstract, with the title. Use APA, MLA or Chicago style.
For Paper and Panel Proposals:
1. Include title, 250 words abstract, and contact information with your proposal.
2. Outline, as relevant, how your paper or panel will fit with the convention theme.
American citizens do not require a Canadian visa, however some nationalities do and should check the following for information about obtaining a Canadian visa for visitation purposes: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp
About Ryerson University: http://www.ryerson.ca/about/
For more on the Media Ecology Association, visit the website: www.media-ecology.org
Mobile learning: Technology that will take the classroom into the world
Mobile Learning (mLearning) enables the ultimate “classroom without walls” that McLuhan described.
Impact of electronic networking - Written by Gary Woodill, August 20, 2012
Mobile computing is not the beginning of computer networking, but it adds a dynamic dimension to its effects. Not only are we connected while mobile, but we change our location, an additional source of information for the network. And, because mobile devices are so ubiquitous, it is almost inevitable that someone present at a significant world event will use their mobile phone to record the event, thus acting as an information node for the rest of the world. McLuhan says that “when the globe becomes a single electronic computer, with all its languages and cultures recorded on a single tribal drum, the fixed point of view of print culture becomes irrelevant and impossible, no matter how precious.” In addition, “alphabet and print technology fostered and encouraged a fragmenting process, a process of specialism and of detachment. Electric technology fosters and encourages unification and involvement.” The world, says McLuhan, has become “one big gossip column that is unforgiving, unforgetful and for which there is no redemption, no erasure of early mistakes.”
Computer networking, especially email, has been available since the early 1970s. But, until the advent of mobile computing, a person had to log on to a computer in a fixed location in order to receive or send messages. At first this meant going to a computer center and using a terminal with a mainframe monolithic beast of a computer encased in a large air-conditioned room. Gradually, the size of computers has shrunk, and wireless communications have been developed, so that now we finally have true mobile computing. With mobile communications, messaging and access to information from the network is now anywhere, anytime. Mobile phones are usually always on when carried, so that an alert that a message has been received by a device requires no further procedures to be read than (at most) touching a couple of buttons. With voice-activated navigation, even that step is disappearing.
For the most part, it is the instant access to the entire world that has degraded the importance of classrooms and experts, as experts are not even able to keep up with developments in their specific field because of the daily deluge of information on all subjects. Teachers and parents are even less likely to keep up. Learners have the same problem; there is just too much information to memorize what is important “just in case” you need it. Instead, as an adult mobile learner, you acquire what you must know at the “point of need” based on the task at hand.
Networked mobile media has changed the very way we learn as well. In The Medium is the Massage McLuhan says,
“Electric circuitry profoundly involves [people] with one another. Information pours upon us, instantaneously and continuously. As soon as information is acquired, is very rapidly replaced by still newer information. Our electrically configured world has forced us to move from the habit of data classification to the mode of pattern recognition. We can no longer build serially, block by block, step-by-step, because instant communication ensures that all factors of the environment and of experience coexist in a state of active interplay.”
Instead of linear knowledge, networked mobile communications results in a complex swirl of information that is always changing, or at least threatening to change. “The instantaneous world of electric informational media involves all of us, all at once. No detachment or frame is possible,” argues McLuhan. This must, in turn, have a profound impact on culture and human relationships, as well as concepts such as “time” and “space.”
Reactions to change
In spite of the profound implications of a major change in the dominant media, our initial reaction to the pressure of such changes is to try to accommodate the new technology by using it in the same old ways with which we are familiar. McLuhan says that “society prefers somnambulism to awareness.” In another famous quote, he reinforced this message: “We look at the present through a rearview mirror. We march backwards into the future.”
We see this coping strategy in the initial uses of any new medium such as mobile communications. The first versions of both eLearning and mLearning were attempts to use classroom procedures and metaphors to teach with the new technologies. These attempts included “virtual classrooms,” “gradebooks” and “class organizers,” “online quizzes and tests,” and “learning management systems.” Only in the past couple of years has eLearning expanded its horizon to include networked social media, and the initial attempts at mobile learning were based on providing lectures, readings, assignments, and multiple-choice tests. But, as I documented in my book, The Mobile Learning Edge(2010), there are many new “affordances” of mobile learning that we are only now beginning to explore. These include the use of mobile devices for just-in-time information retrieval, as research tools to facilitate collecting and transmitting data, as augmented reality applications for learning more about environments, as applications for the self-tracking and recording of almost any behavior, and as platforms for displaying collaborative learning applications used by virtual teams.
The full potential of mobile communications for learning will not be realized until we stop producing learning apps or mobile websites that simple repackage classroom materials to be read or played with on a smaller screen. McLuhan warned of this when he wrote,
“Our official culture is striving to force the new media to do the work of the old. These are difficult times because we are witnessing a clash of cataclysmic proportions between two great technologies. We approach the new with the psychological conditioning and sensory responses to the old. This clash naturally occurs in transitional periods.”
What is needed is a new approach to mobile learning that uses the unique characteristics of the medium to teach in whole new ways; ways which fit with the personalized needs of employees and students. A new theory of learning and design processes are called for in order to have mobile learning realize its potential. For example, McLuhan observed that “one of the principal intellectual developments of the past century or so has been the supplanting of linear perspective by a multi-locational mode of perception.” Tracking the locations of multiple mobile learners is already easily done, but very few educational apps currently take advantage of this capability in terms of using it for learning.
Changes in education and training
McLuhan certainly foresaw the problems that education and training institutions were going to have when confronted with networked social and mobile media.
“It is a matter of the greatest urgency that our educational institutions realize that we now have civil war among these environments created by media other than the printed word. The classroom is now in a vital struggle for survival with the immensely persuasive ‘outside’ world created by new informational media. Education must shift from instruction, from imposing of stencils, to discovery – to probing and exploration and to the recognition of the language of forms.”
Even in the 1960s, McLuhan understood that young people were growing up with a different worldview and fresh patterns of thinking. With the shift from print media to digital media, such a change was inevitable.
“The young student today grows up in an electrically configured world. It is a world not of wheels but of circuits, not of fragments but of integral patterns. The student today lives mythically and in-depth. At school, however, he encounters a situation organized by means of classified information. The subjects are unrelated. They are visually conceived in terms of a blueprint. The student can find no possible means of involvement for himself, nor can he discover how the educational scene relates to the ‘mythic’ world of electronically processed data and experience that he takes for granted.”
The very use of mobile technologies changes the way we think and learn. Those of us who think and write about mobile learning face a daunting task – the reconceptualization of both “learning theory” and “instructional design” – if we are to help those who are struggling with how to train people using mobile technologies. We need to map out not only how mobile learning works as a new set of extensions of our senses, but also what we lose in the move to mobile.
Read the rest at: http://floatlearning.com/2012/08/mobile-mcluhan/