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TECHNOLOGY AS MEDIA

Emphasizing the mediative aspect of technologies we view the effects of technologies as operating to a large extent through the ways that they alter the environments for thinking, communicating, and acting in the world.

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Thus, they provide new media for learning, in the sense that one might say land provided new media for creatures to evolve. This view of media  encompasees, but extends, the familiar idea of media as a place to put information. Today, interactive, multimedia technology provides us with a new way to draw upon children's natural impulses.
These new media hold an abundance of materials including text, voice, music, graphics, photos, animation, and video. But they provide more than abundance. Bringing all these media together means that we can vastly expand the range of learning experiences, opening up the social and natural worlds. Students can explore the relations among ideas and thus experience a more connected form of learning. Perhaps most importantly, these new media are interactive, and conducive to active, engaged learning. Students can choose what to see and do, and they have media to record and extend what they learn. Learning is thus driven by the individual needs and interests of the learner.
We chose the term "media," rather than "tool," "program," or "application," for several reasons. We wanted to shift the focus from the features of hardware or software per se to the user or learner. "Media" suggests the mediational function of technologies, which link the student to other learners, teachers, other technologies, ideas, and the physical world. Moreover, as technologies become embedded in social practices, they tend to become invisible; we focus less on the fact that they may be consciously employed as a tool to do a task, and come to see the task itself as central, with the technology as substrate.

Finally, it is only a small stretch to extend the familiar notion of media for expression, construction, and communication to media for inquiry. Rest of the paper by Bertram Bruce Educational Technology: Media for Inquiry, Communication, Construction, and Expression

Summary from the International Reading Association

Educators today want to go beyond how-to manuals and publications that merely celebrate the many exciting new technologies as they appear in schools. Students are immersed in an evolving world of new technology development in which they are not passive recipients of these technologies but active interpreters of them. How do you help learners interpret these technologies as we all become immersed in the new information age?

Editor Bertram C. Bruce provides this collection of 32 Technology Departments from the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy covering the 1998 to 2002 volume years, which examines critical aspects of literacy in the new information age and the complex issues surrounding the use of new technologies. The pieces build on specific examples from classrooms, Web use, and other experiences with new digital information and communication environments.

Bruce has grouped the chapters conceptually rather than chronologically into the following six sections: Historical Perspective, New Media Practices, Personal Meanings, Ethical and Policy Issues, Learning Opportunities, and Community. The book also addresses issues such as credibility, access, and privacy, and most centrally an understanding of what new media mean for teaching, learning, and literacy development.

Educators feel the challenge of preparing students to live productively within this emerging world and deciding what learning experiences can best prepare students for becoming literate in today's world. This collection will provide the tools for you and your students to explore the way new literacies are evolving as they become ever more central in your lives.

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