Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Preface: Education as Technological from the Start

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pp. vii-xii

Connecting my work in educational media and technology with a background in the humanities has led me to some startling realizations. One of the most important of these is that the presence of technology in education is not something new. As I show throughout this book, technologies have always been indispensable to education. These range from the tablet to the classroom itself—both of which have been in evidence, in dif­ferent forms, for millennia. As I demonstrate in chapters 1 and 2, writing tablets have been used for student learning and everyday communication going back more than 4,000 years. The classroom, the...

Part I: Education and Media, New and Old

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pp. 1-2

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1. No More Pencils, No More Books?

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pp. 3-16

Asking someone who can read to “thank a teacher” is admittedly a bumpersticker slogan or cliché, but it contains a grain of truth. Mastering reading (and also writing) does not happen spontaneously; it requires a teacher, and often an active parent. It typically happens at a desk and in a school. Focusing and honing these same skills further—reading and writing essays, computer code, equations—continues well into college. In fact, for some, such as writers, editors, researchers, and other professionals, it continues over a lifetime....

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2. Writing Instruction in the Twenty-First Century: 2000 BCE versus 2000 CE

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pp. 17-34

In the previous chapter, I emphasized the centrality of writing to education and schooling. Writing and textual media generally have a special relationship to matters academic, and, if Hoskin is correct, writing and education also share a history. However, to understand the history of education as the history of writing, it is important go back to the beginning—or at least as close as we can get. Writing as a medium or technique for recording events is a prerequisite for history: the beginning of writing in this sense is the vanishing point of history. But can...

Part II: Media, Psychology, and Theory

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pp. 35-36

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3. Psychology and the Rationalist “Transcript of the Mind”

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pp. 37-46

Writing as a medium is closely intertwined with education and its history— or rather, its histories. Writing instruction was the basis for a “curriculum” in Nippur millennia ago and for recognizable patterns of instruction in traditional Chinese and Jewish education as well. And, of course, writing instruction is still the basis for special curricula, materials, teaching techniques, and ruses around the globe today. Seen over the longue durée, education as “the systematic instruction of children” appears inseparable from writing. But how...

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4. The Romantic Tradition: “A Cry of Nature”

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pp. 47-54

The period following the seventeenth century saw the emergence of a strong counterreaction to the rationalist tradition and its belief in the logical and decipherable nature of mind and world. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, famous both as an early romantic and an educational theorist, did much to establish the foundational elements of education as a “romantic enterprise”—elements that remain important in education and educational media and technology to this day. Chapter 1 quoted Rousseau as saying, “I hate books; they only teach us to talk about things we know nothing about.” Rousseau starts his...

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5. Romantic versus Rationalist Reform

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pp. 55-66

Thus far, this book has focused on the past: first the longue durée of the history of writing and then approaches to language and reading instruction that have arisen since the printing press. The point of this focus was not to learn from the mistakes of the past. The histories I’ve presented are not about grievous errors that were made once and that are now to be avoided. Pestalozzi was not wrong when he developed his phonetic method. The rational language that so excited Galileo and Descartes was not a mistake in need of correction. Instead, Pestalozzi’s approach is still known and valued today as phonics. And Chomsky...

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6. Theorizing Media—by the Book

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pp. 67-84

Marshall McLuhan, once seen as potentially “the most important thinker since Newton, Darwin, Freud, Einstein, and Pavlov”1 is regarded rather differently today. McLuhan has been forgotten and neglected not once, but twice. The first time was after his meteoric rise in the sixties—the decade when journalist Tom Wolfe compared him to some of the world’s greatest scientists and asked breathlessly, “What if he’s right?” McLuhan was interviewed in Playboy magazine and even appeared briefly (playing himself) in Woody Allen’s 1977 movie, Annie Hall. Almost two decades of obscurity followed. But in 1996,...

Part III: The Textbook and the Lecture: Re-forming the Book and Performing the Text

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pp. 85-86

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7. A Textbook Case

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pp. 87-109

Thomas Kuhn, physicist and historian of science who famously coined the phrase “paradigm shift,” does not mince words when it comes to the textbook. Textbooks, he says, show us only the most clichéd sites and local color of the expansive terrain of science. Kuhn is not alone in sounding impatient or dismissive about textbooks. John Dewey, Ivan Illich, and Marshall McLuhan, to take just a few familiar examples, were similarly critical. Dewey denounced the “text-book fetich [sic]” of the university classroom of his day; Ivan Illich decried the “textbook racket” of commercialized schooling. And finally, Marshall...

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8. From Translatio Studiorum to “Intelligences Thinking in Unison”

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pp. 110-125

The academic lecture, with its single speaking mouth and many listening ears and writing hands, is the second case study that I present. The lecture has a history that goes back hundreds of years, and during that time it has reflected how writing, speaking, and printing have shaped education. It has also integrated successive waves of new media—from the phonograph to the iPhone— that have interacted with teaching and learning as well. The lecture has adapted to medieval, early modern, romantic, and postmodern educational philosophies and priorities. It could even be said to serve as a kind of nexus point for...

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9. The Lecture as Postmodern Performance

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pp. 126-138

Lectures are all but indispensable to the intellectual and cultural history of the twentieth century. Consider Sigmund Freud and his 1917 Lectures on Psychoanalysis. We still draw on the terminology of these lectures every day—when we speak of fixation, free association, and of course, the Freudian slip. The later decades of the century produced many other important examples, such as the inaugural “Reith Lectures,” given by Bertrand Russell (figure 9.1), and the lectures of Michel Foucault over a period of 11 years at the Collège de France.
There is an important difference, however, between these last two examples...

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Conclusion: Educations and Generations

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pp. 139-152

Michel Foucault, historian and lecturer extraordinaire, theorist of discourse and the formation of the self, did not write a great deal about education per se. He did briefly describe the school as a space for ordering “docile bodies” in his study of prisons and other disciplinary institutions, Discipline & Punish. He also had a great deal to say about the development of selfhood through myriad practices and devices—from sexuality to surveillance. However, education as such— as a system, as a set of values and functions, as specific discursive practices—is not treated in a conspicuous or sustained manner in his work. The quote that...

Notes

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pp. 153-164

Bibliography

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pp. 165-174

Index

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pp. 175-178