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The Influence of Media on Learning - Essay Example

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This article is supposedly an analysis about the effects of media on learning. It touches on learning with books, learning with television, with computers, and with multimedia. The author differentiates them, and informs the reader how far research has gone in these areas…
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The Influence of Media on Learning
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Download file to see previous pages In the near future, Robert Kozma (1994) was saying, telephone, cable television, and digital computer technologies will merge (Stix, 1993). There is then the prospect of an interactive video supposedly "integrated with large multimedia databases to be distributed to people in various settings all over the world." With this announcement will probably come the threat of educational processes becoming quite expensive, complex, and made beyond the reach of most people. This is because Kozma doesn't present much defense on the significance of these changes.
If we do not soon understand the relationship between media and learning-if we have not forgedsuch a relationship, this technology may be used primarily for interactive soap operas and online purchases of merchandise. Its educational uses may be driven primarily by benevolent movie moguls who design "edutainment" products whose contribution to learning may be minimal.
There is much sense in the warnings and the hypothetical situation that Kozma (1994) gave. But much of his despair with the use of media may be caused by lack of emphasis on dialogue. A discussion on the theory of transactional distance (Moore, 1997) would be in order here. With all of these media, something has to bridge the gap between teacher and learner. Only then will media and its sophistication have any meaning (Moore, 1997).
Any communication system devoid of feedback is deficient, as is the lack of interaction with the use of media in teaching. Kozma (1994) does not underscore this but only in the light of mentioning the delivery-truck model of transforming information. In teaching, it is the same as that of the derided hypodermic model (Smith, 1997) or of the banking system of education (ARRC, 2002) where the teacher deposits information and withdraws them back again through quizzes. There is very little learning then and throughout it all, the student may not have learned anything beyond memory work, where information stored can only evaporate after the quiz.
True, "learning is a process by which the learner strategically manages available resources to create new knowledge by interacting with information and integrating it with information stored in memory" (Richey, 1989). This is why media cannot get all of the credit for the learning of the student, who still has to interact intelligently if he has to learn. On this regard, I would agree with critic, Richard Clark (1983).
Kozma (1994) quoted that "learning with media is a complementary process within which representations are constructed and procedures performed, sometimes by the learner and sometimes by the medium." Studies are needed in this aspect to determine which are those performed by the learner and which are those by the medium. This aspect is emphasized because the case presented may be likened to children's' toys. While the objective is for the child to know how to manipulate things, discover how it could perform for his needs and interests, and where something is lacking, the child himself is supposed to be challenged to think of how the thing lacking is produced. Apparently, the situation has changed to the detriment of the child's thinking because of available technology.
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