The main course of the first week works nice for me to help me set my feet on the field by noticing certain fundamental issues that have leading the discussion and research: attitude toward media and learning, theories or conceptualization that makes the media and learning related domain in education distinguished from other similar or related domains, and issues of research methodology in this field.
Obviously the first two aspects are tightly connected. People's attitude changes based on understanding of the phenomena of certain subjects. That happens many times in human history in geography, physics, math, biology, chemistry, etc. The debate of if or not media influences learning has a history, such as Cobb (1997) vs Clark (1983, 1984), and Clark vs Salomon (1994) etc. The debate helps me to be balanced in questioning either side of support or oppose. I like the dialectic way of Cobb (1997) in his argument in questioning Clark's statement. That supports my attitude if I would be part of the discussion: to understand the bigger picture of media and learning awaring the social and technology environment and to count the advantage and disadvantage of the media in influencing learning. I would say the readings provide me two sides of the debate but both of them are in short of enough supporting evidence.
I highly doubt Clark's statement will last long. As the technology evolving, the media taking richer, colorful and exciting forms which are very attractive and challenging to human brain, and the form of education evolving from traditional classroom (more teacher centered) to distance learning, online learning, home-education, independent study and many other forms (more learner centered), Clark's absolute statement of media usefullessness sounds static and too limited to provide any constructive suggestion to more effective teaching and learning process to meet the current era of information explosion.
For the other side of the debate represented by Cobb, there is a demand of more empirical study guided by actively evolving theories to make this statement stronger.
I take my position that media makes a difference in what or how people learn. But my position is based on the understanding that this issue is highly influenced by several variables of stimulus, cognition, individual difference, psychological functions, and task. I will take the constructivist lens to in my understanding of the issues in this field which are situated for different person/learner/student.
Clark, R E. (1994). Media will never influence learning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(2), 21-30.
Salomon, G. (1989). Learning from texts and pictures: reflections on a meta-level. In H. Mandl & J.R. Levin (Eds.) Knowledge acquisition from text and pictures (pp. 73-82). Amsterdam: North-Holland.
Cobb, T. (1997). Cognitive efficiency: Toward a revised theory of media. Educational Technology Research & Development, 45(4), 21-35.
Petkovich, M., & Tennyson, R.D. (1985). A few more thoughts on Clark’s ‘learning from media.’ Educational Communications and Technology Journal, 33(2), 146. [First response to Clark...]
Kozma, R.B. (1994). Will media influence learning? Reframing the debate. Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(2), 7-20. [Another response to Clark]
Borges, J. L. (1964). Borges and I. In Labyrinths: Selected stories and other writings (pp. 246-47). New York: New Directions..
MacNeice, L. (1965). Conversation. In M. Roberts (Ed.). The Faber book of modern verse (pp. 250 - 251). London: Faber and Faber.
MacNeice, L. (1965). Snow. In M. Roberts (Ed.). The Faber book of modern verse (p. 250 - 251). London: Faber and Faber.