Thursday, April 5, 2012

Impact of publishing on education

Expanding my transliteracy skills has been a bonus in this class, albeit a frustrating one at times. But as a teacher, it is imperative that I do this - as my assignment clearly concludes in its review of how publishing pre 1900 and post 1960 impacts education. I decided to tackle the podcast and prepared the script based on my research.

It might be the time of academic year, but I began the week with a bad case of laryngitis. My best time in the week to give to this course has been the later part of the week and the weekend - but I was not  speaking above a whisper and had to wait out this week to get my voice to a point where I could talk for five minutes without coughing.

I managed to wrestle Garage Band on my Mac to create one. Emailed it to myself at work and played it successfully there.  But I could not determine how to embed it in the blog, despite a call-out to others who are much more adept at the technical than I.   The final recommendation was to put the podcast into i-movie and create a video. Which is what I did.  But when I got it into i-movie, of course I had to redo the audio.

So, here is my video that reviews how the printing press and the Internet have impacted education; even though I knew Gutenberg's invention was important, it's impact on the classroom was interesting.  Teachers today will tell you how much the Internet is a distraction in class, but I had never considered that text books might have been viewed in a similar light by earlier teachers who had been accustomed to being the only source of knowledge in the classroom.  But I do believe the printing press had a more significant impact on society than the Internet,  because of how it opened the doors to education for everyone.  The Internet has just expanded that.

 The research on retention of material read on the screen versus paper intrigues me and while it is entirely possible that we will adapt and become better at the screen than paper, the value of understanding transliteracy as Bobbi encouraged us to this past week was clear to me in the end.  Teachers... and students, need to be transliterate in both the online and offline worlds.


Arthur, Peter (2000). The impact of the printing press. Retrieved March 28, 2012.

Bates, T. (2000).  Managing technological change: Strategies for college and university leaders (1st ed ed.).  San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Baum, S., Payea, K. (2005). Education pays, The benefits of higher education for individuals and society, Retrieved March 30, 2012.

Dede, C. (May/June 2008). New horizons: A seismic shift in epistemology. Educause Review.

Einstein, E. (1980). The printing press as agent of change. Cambridge  University Press

Nokes, R.S. (2008). Before the printing press. Retrieved March 28, 2012.

Kreis, S. (2000). The printing press. The History Guide, Lectures on Modern European Intellectual History.  Retrieved March 28, 2012.

Li, A. (2012). Study finds textbooks outperform e-books, Waterloo Region Record, March 29, 2012. Arts & Life, B7.


  1. Kim, I agree with your point about online information allowing students to challenge not only the knowledge of the instructor but also the knowledge contained in printed textbooks. It probably pushes us further down the path of "guide on the side" rather than "sage on the stage".

    This point reminds me of Seth Godin's theory about scarcity, and how traditionally many industries/institutions were based on a model of scarcity, which in many cases is no longer valid. I think he's spoken about this in relation to publishing and recording - but if you look at education this way, it also applies. Information is no longer scarce - meaning that the instructor's role as keeper-of-information - and the textbook's place as source of information - is up for debate. This doesn't mean a diminished need for instructors - just a different need. Instructors are needed to help students navigate a world of abundant information and learn to see it in meaningful frameworks. The future of textbooks is less clear to me, though I believe that there is still value in the editing and filtering provided by textbook editors.

  2. Interesting presentation Kim - I'd love to weave it back into some of ideas of monopolizing of education through emerging communication technologies (ie both of our videos). Interesting point on the e-reading (I always think I read more quickly on an e-reader - maybe cause I missing a ton! To Linda's question on textbooks, I think there is some merit in the context being "fixed". The reader does not have to worry about finding and re-finding the information. The text provides a sense of permanency to the content - not always true via internet information.

  3. Wonderful post Kim, you provide some very thought provoking comments related to the changing work of teachers as a result of advancements in communications technologies. I'm glad you discuss the concept of anyplace, anytime learning because that is something that is being discussed increasingly in education circles. I wonder though if people in Guttenberg's time might have spoken more about anyplace anytime learning? Clearly the role of teacher might have been in question then as it is to some now.

    I spent a fair amount of time helping students who were working on distance education modules for a course that wasn't being offered at our school. It seemed to me that the young adult would lose out on a lot of contextual elements, important precursor knowledge review and teachable moments with the absence of a teacher. The presentation of knowledge is only one simple purpose for a teacher. This can be replaced by a book as effectively as it can be replaced by a computer - so why wasn't the role of teachers wiped out with the advent of textbooks. Because, the real value of teachers is in the intangibles. In the ability to diagnose learning difficulties, to prescribe quickly and efficiently course corrections and to provide the important role of mentorship or compassion. As I consider important challenges to the teaching profession in the 21st century, it is not that the internet will reduce the need for teachers, but that the important role of teachers will need to be promoted more effectively.

  4. Jonathon - thanks for the reflection. You raise a really important point about the need to promote the role of teachers more effectively. But I think it will be a challenge.

    You are correct that simple data can be communicated via a textbook or the internet, but knowledge about a subject matter may be different. This is making me think of our discussions in our Knowledge Management course where we looked at the challenges of communicating tacit and explicit knowledge. It might be easier to communicate explicit knowledge but tacit knowledge requires something else – it’s the sum of experience and knowing that is gained from years of working with information. Communicating the tacit knowledge that teachers bring to the classroom will be, in itself, a tacit knowledge challenge. Although ‘people’ tend to think they know what teaching is about because ‘people’ have attended school at some point in their lives, it is like any job. No one really ‘knows’ what is involved until they do it.

    I look at our college classroom and the appreciation that our students express for the experience that teachers bring to the classroom. I think of the many conversations I have had with students who pop into my office and end up sitting and chatting about ‘stuff’ that has nothing to do with the curriculum I am teaching, but somehow something was still ‘learned’. The intangibles you mention. But on paper none has the same impact as the experience itself has.