Media Pedagogy

Media Pedagogy: Media Education, Media Socialisation and Educational Media.
In the most recent Seminar.net (Vol 4[2]), Lars Qvortrup presents an outline of ways to understand the discipline of “Media pedagogy”. A short six minute video on the site introduces his paper, and the complete paper is available.

[Qvortrup] sketches out a variety of perspectives on media education, how it has been researched upon, and how it has been considered as an intellectual field, as well as an area of practical application. Qvortrup presents this within the theoretical framework of Niklas Luhmann. Lars Qvortrup is a professor in media studies, and was formerly the director of KnowledgeLab.dk. He is presently the rector of the Danish “Royal School of Library and Information Science” in Copenhagen. Professor Qvortrup is also a co-editor of Seminar.net.

Personal highlight of the paper. On ‘media socialisation’, and learners as ‘non-trivial machines’:

All teaching presupposes that the teacher makes a “picture” of the pupil. If the objective of teaching is to change pupils into certain directions, i.e. to meet the aims of the curriculum and to make the students learn certain things, then the teacher must act as if the student is a simple device.

However, the teacher knows that this isn’t the case. Students or pupils are not simple devices or trivial machines, but non-trivial devices. When students are influenced by the interaction of the teacher, they will react in non-foreseeable ways. “Their reaction on impulses will always be mediated through self-reference. That is: They will ask themselves what they can do with – or should understand – a certain input, and they can react on the same input in different ways at different moments.”

Thus, often the teacher interacts with the students or pupils as if they were, what they are not: Trivial devices. He asks them what two times two is, knowing that there is one correct answer, or he asks them when Homer was born, knowing that the one and only correct answer is: “That is not known”. Translated into categories of knowledge, the teacher interacts with students as if all knowledge is factual knowledge, although it is well-known that this is not the case

This, thus, represents another inherent dilemma of the educational system: That teachers interact with students as if they were trivial devices, knowing that in reality they are non-trivial devices. They communicate with students as if communication is transportation of knowledge, knowing that the basic condition of communication is double contingency: The teacher cannot observe the learning processes of the student, and the student cannot observe the intentional processes of the teacher’s selection of communicative utterances.

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