A tribute to and a lament for Marshall McLuhan.  Five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, I present one of McLuhan’s observations and talk about its relevance today.  300 ideas. 300 days.  300 posts.

Education at high speed

Marshall McLuhan (May 1959, age 47).  Consumers are now producers

As I was saying yesterday my efforts to enlighten the Winnipeg Ad and Sales Club about the new business rules in our electronic age were not entirely successful.  If the only constant today is change, I told them, you will remember, it’s obvious that at the high speeds we are living at everyone is switching roles to keep up.  This is not a prediction it is an observation.  Just as producers are becoming consumers, the corollary is that consumers are becoming producers.  They gave me a puzzled look.  So I gave them something else to be puzzled about.  What I asked do Alexander the Great and Winnie the Pooh have in common?  Give up?  They both have the same middle name.

Me (December 2009, age 57).  What about in education?

“A lot of education,” says the writer of a letter to the editor of the Montreal Gazette, “takes place outside of school, and much it is self directed.” (Wednesday, December 16, 2009.)  Marshall McLuhan would have agreed that most education takes place outside school, but I believe he would have disagreed with the idea that it is self-directed.  In fact it is media-directed.  The difference is profound and if true disturbing. (We continue the examination of education tomorrow.  Hang on to your mortar boards.)

If most education today takes place outside the classroom, what is the content of the current curriculum?  Who or what sets the curriculum?  What do you think is the greatest difference between the education that goes on today inside and outside the class room?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading for this post

Letters of Marshall McLuhan, 1987, pp. 252-255.

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Michael Hinton Friday, December 18th, 2009
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Education, Vol. 1 No Comments

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