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

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
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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
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What’s new pussy cat?

Me (February, 2011, age 58).  Apparently quite a lot …

On June 25, 1967, forty-five TV control rooms around the world joined together to create by satellite the world’s first global TV program.  In Toronto Marshall McLuhan was asked by the CBC’s Stanley Burke “Can you say what message the medium has around the world this afternoon?”  Here is his answer.

Marshall McLuhan (June 25, 1967, age 55).  And yet …

“Everyone will look at this program as if it were something they had already seen before with just a little addition of this or that.  Because that is the inevitable way we look at everything. It’s the same old thing with a little item or two added.”

Cordially, Marshall and Me

P.S.  Many people we imagine have never seen anything new ever.

 

Reading:

Or rather viewing: http://bit.ly/aDWkXA

 

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Michael Hinton Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011
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How did Russia beat the U.S. into space?

Marshall McLuhan (August 24, 1964, age 53).  They didn’t have a nineteenth century.

The Russians are people of the ear rather than the eye.  They didn’t have an Industrial Revolution.  They went directly from an oral age to an electric age, skipping the mechanical age.  This acted like a sling shot to fire them into space.

Me (February, 2011, age 58).  Again, no wonder his colleagues at Toronto University thought he was nuts.

And on this one I’m inclined to agree with them.  And yet it is a thrilling idea.  And certainly a more entertaining one than, say,  the Soviets were good at engineering and math and not shy of spending resources on a space program their economy couldn’t sustain.

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 Tuesday, February 1st, 2011
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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

Do kids read alone and silently for fun anymore?

Marshall McLuhan (1970, age 59).  The book took us to silence.

In the Middle Ages, as is well known, there was no such thing as silent reading.  It was only with the advent of the book that “silent, solitary reading” took hold.

Me (January, 2011, age 58).  The electric age has opened our ears.

If books and silent reading go hand in hand is it any wonder that today’s electronically-wired kids find silent reading a challenge?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, Counterblast, 1970, p. 73.

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Michael Hinton Thursday, January 20th, 2011
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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
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