Course Description

Course: “Shaping Media – Pedagogical Media Theory”

“Shaping Media” can be read both as active and passive, as “the medium that shapes” or “the medium that is to be shaped”. This seminar will use the notion of medium as an artificial, but hardly visible conceptual space, formed by personal expectations, cultural conventions and technical restrictions. A medium is a “possibility space” (Will Wright / Niklas Luhmann) which can be created or be used for creation, to foster e.g. learning.
New media – networked digital media – is not simply about new channels for educative content. It is a change from a receptive, interpretative, centralised form of communication to a configurative, collaborative, decentralised one. Both its’ traits, digitality – supporting its role as recursive media-simulating metamedium – and networking – supporting its role as global social medium – may influence the way we perceive information, knowledge and learning.
This seminar deals with media theory in general, and has a focus on ludic simulations, known as games and toys. These share some traits with digital media, but also may shed light on two inherent antagonistic sides: Rule-bound compliance and stability, as well as an appropriatable and configurable space of possibilities.
This seminar strives for connections, not just for definitions.

An introduction to aspects of pedagogical media theory.
Drafting and realisation of a project for learning or art, based on the theories and personal interpretations; or adding a pedagogical media theory perspective or approach to an existing or developing project of yours.
The project does not have to be based upon digital networked media.

This seminar consists of three interwoven parts:

  1. Reception and connection of texts and other media.
    We will use texts, comics, videos, pictures etc. (see the “Starting Points”) – I hope you’ll get the ideas and we will come up with a small illustrative collection – to get a grasp of the specifics of a medium, and how it may be used for learning. There are some texts or excerpts from books which I would like to set up as starting points for the topics of “medium” and “learning”. First, there is Heinz von Foerster’s “ethics and second-order cybernetics” (1995), this is followed by Marshal McLuhan’s “Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man” (1964), Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art” (1993). Optional there’s Gregory Bateson’s “Steps to an Ecology of Mind” (1972) and Katie Salen’s (2008) “The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games and Learning”.
  2. Communication, discussion and documentation of ideas and  concepts.
    Since this is a distance learning seminar, communications will be based upon the blog for asynchronous exchange of more complex thoughts and as an archive, and script- and video-chat for synchronous communication (Mail and Adobe Connect)
  3. A project or draft of a project based upon these ideas and concepts.
    Since the project’s topic – medium design for learning purposes – is quite open for different interests or specifications, feel free to bring in your own interests, competencies and experiences.
    Group work is encouraged, especially between students speaking the same language.

This seminar will be worth 3 credit points, and another 2 credit points for the project, which should include draft, documentation, reflection of design decisions, and possibly ‘working’ prototype.
Workload will be distributed over three months.

You may reach me at any time via eMail, I’ll be there to help you (and maybe vice versa).

One Response to Course Description

  1. Pingback: Notes on the chat-session from May 23rd | Shaping Media | Pedagogical Media Theory

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