A tribute to and a lament for Marshall McLuhan continues. If he had lived Marshall would have been 100 on July 21, 2011. Join me in the countdown to his centennial, and an exploration of more of his observations on the way media work in the electric age in which we live.

Education

Bless the Beatles!

Marshall McLuhan (1969, age 58).  Why?

“For reaffirming that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

Me (March, 2011, age 58).  Get it?

A pun certainly (“rocks”) but more than that, a joke with a point.  Who was it that raised TV kids in the sixties?  Not their parents, Marshall is saying.

Who is rocking the cradle today?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, Counter-Blast, 1969, p. 29.

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Michael Hinton Wednesday, April 13th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Culture, Education, Uncategorized No Comments

Who’s your teacher now?

Marshall McLuhan (1969, age 58).  Ads!

“The metropolis today is a classroom; the ads are its teachers.”

Me (March, 2011, age 58).  What’s on the curriculum?

This is an idea McLuhan returned to many times, ads do far more teaching than selling.  It’s easy to find some disturbing teaching in ads, which certainly increases ones concern about the lessons we pick up inadvertently in the marketplace.  Here’s one that gently makes a case for consumerism as the path to the good life.  Well, perhaps gentle is not the right word …

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDk_TEM257k&feature=related

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, Counter-Blast, 1969, p. 12

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Michael Hinton Tuesday, April 5th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Education No Comments

Kids need new kinds of teachers

Marshall McLuhan (March 3, 1959, age 47).  The electric age creates a demand for new teachers.

“As we extend our educational operation by television and videotape we shall find that the teacher is no longer the source of data but of insight.”

Me (February, 2011, age 58).  With Google the demand for the new teachers increases.

What is needed, says Marshall, are “more and more profound teachers.”  That is “Two or more teachers [in each class] in dialogue with each other.” But are we still trying to do things the old way?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, “Electronic Revolution:  Revolutionary Effects of New Media,” address to American Association for Higher Education Conference, March 3, 1959, in Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Me: Lectures and Interviews, 2003, p. 10.

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Michael Hinton Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Education, Uncategorized No Comments

Welcome to the classroom without walls.

Marshall McLuhan (March 3, 1959, age 47).  Have you turned on your teacher today?

“One effect of the commercial movement of information in many media is that today we live in classrooms without walls.”

Me (February, 2011, age 58).  Education is a snap.

You want answers?  Your wish is the medium’s command. . .

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, “Electronic Revolution:  Revolutionary Effects of New Media,” address to meeting of the American Association for Higher Education, March 3, 1959, in Understanding Me: Lectures and Interviews, 2003, p. 7.

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Michael Hinton Thursday, February 3rd, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Education, Technology No Comments

What did McLuhan talk about at the Centre for Culture and Technology in the 1960s?

Marshall McLuhan (August 24, 1964, age 53).  Here are three problems we’ve been discussing:

First, our world and its problems are the creation of specialists.  The solutions we so desperately require, however, can only come from generalists who can see how everything fits together.   Second, it is widely agreed that scientists are befuddled by abstract art.  We can develop ways to help them appreciate abstraction.  Third, parents have long wondered how their children can do their homework with the radio blaring.    We’re close to a breakthrough on this one.

Me (January, 2011, age 58).  No wonder his colleagues at Toronto University thought he was nuts.

Cordially, Marshall and Me

 

Reading:

David Thompson, “How to learn economics in a rowboat,” Toronto Daily Star, August 24, 1964.

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Michael Hinton Saturday, January 29th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Culture, Education 1 Comment

So you think you’re creative?

Marshall McLuhan (August 24, 1964, age 53).  Education as we know it is obsolete.

Naturally we must experiment with alternatives to book-based, classroom instruction.  Here are a few of the questions – which I mentioned to a reporter for the Toronto Star – that I am wrestling with now which may well bring about a breakthrough:

  • How well could you learn economics in a rowboat in an alligator-infested swamp?
  • Or in a bamboo hut in a tropical forest?
  • Or in a triangular-shaped pink room in downtown Toronto?

Me (January, 2011, age 58).  Takes your breath away, doesn’t it?

How did he come up with such incredibly odd but brilliant ideas?  Here’s one answer:

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

David Thompson, “How to learn economics in a rowboat,” Toronto Daily Star, August 24, 1964.

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Michael Hinton Friday, January 28th, 2011
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How fast can you learn?

Marshall McLuhan (August 24, 1964, age 53).  How about a Ph. D. in six weeks?

“A person of good intelligence could acquire a doctorate level of awareness in aspects of various subjects in just six weeks.”

Me (January, 2011, age 58).  How so?

McLuhan explains that to do so you need engage in “intense discussion with top scholars in various fields.”  Stop memorizing things and don’t limit yourself to “written data.” Not a bad strategy.  Maybe you need to go to graduate school?  But then do you have what it takes?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXvv5sTqNa4

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

David Thompson, “How to learn economics in a row boat,” Toronto Daily Star, August 24, 1964.

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Michael Hinton Thursday, January 27th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Education 1 Comment

Who is doing the teaching?

Marshall McLuhan (1951, age 40).  The ad men.

“The thoughtful observer will find some cause for dismay in the disproportion between the educational budget of the advertising industry and that for the education of the young in school and college.”

Me (January, 2011, age 58).  And what are they teaching?

This for instance.

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, The Mechanical Bride, 1951, p. 72.

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Michael Hinton Saturday, January 15th, 2011
Permalink Business, Communication, Education No Comments

The problem with teachers.

Marshall McLuhan (1951, age 40).  Americans don’t respect them.

The fundamental problem with American education is that teachers are looked down upon in the community because they have turned down the opportunity to earn the high incomes their education would have allowed them to in the private sector.  The assumption is that teachers are weak or anti-American or incompetent.

Me (January, 2011, age 58).  So what?

What hope is there for the education of our children if parents view teachers as failures?  Here is one teacher’s view of the problem today.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpog1_NFd2Q

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, The Mechanical Bride, 1951, p. 126.

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Michael Hinton Friday, January 14th, 2011
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What is learning today?

Marshall McLuhan (1970, age 59).  Pattern recognition!

“Today, again, after a period of classified consumption, learning in a comprehensive world is becoming play, pattern recognition, discovery.”

Me (December, 2010, age 58.)  For example …

Something beautiful for this wintery eve [see especially comments at minute 2]:

Cordially,  Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, Culture is Our Business, 1970, p. 118.

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Michael Hinton Friday, December 24th, 2010
Permalink 1970s and 80s, Education No Comments