Unit One Prompt: Attention, Information and Learning

There has been a considerable amount of debate in recent years about the proper place of media technology in the classroom (ranging from powerpoint slides through to personal laptop and tablets.) Some, like Davidson, have argued that the introduction of such technology is a necessary compliment to learning to survive in the contemporary information-saturated world (while Hayles suggests that their presence requires educational institutions to adapt.) Others, like Clay Shirky, have argued that the presence of such technology is a dangerous distraction that reduces the ability to transmit information and critically reflect on that information that is at the heart of educational institutions.

For this unit’s writing assignment, you are asked to draw upon the ideas from the readings to explore an example of the integration (or lack of integration) of media technology into learning environments broadly understood (meaning classrooms, but it could also involve learning in every day life.). You should base your discussion on a specific example; this example can be contemporary or historical.

As part of exploring this example, you should outline how this use of technology models the transmission and reception of information, including the place of interpretation (i.e. what assumption does this use of technology make about how people receive and intepret information.) By way of conclusion, you should determine whether, using the concepts from the reading, this is a beneficial or detrimental development in how communication takes place in learning environments.