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Week 3: Models, Methods and Meanings

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Felix Lo

on 7 February 2014

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Transcript of Week 3: Models, Methods and Meanings

Week 3 Tutorial: Models, Methods and Meanings
General Info
Felix Lo
Contact
: lofelixl@sfu.ca K8661
Office hours
: K8661 Friday 10:30am to 11:20am and by appointment

Attendance & Participation

Readings (they will be in the exams)

Written Assignment

I am here to help
Class Presentations
Length: ~10 - 15 minute

It should cover:

The thesis of the article

A summary of his main points

What you find enlightening by your reading

What you disagree with

A couple of open-ended questions for class discussion

Discussants: prepare questions to ask the presenter
Ice Breaking Exercise
Split into groups of 2, and tell your partner

your name

why you take this course

which story from the lectures that you found the most amusing

what you did during the winter break

In big group, tell the class what your partner has told you.
Communication Models
Action/Interaction/Transaction Models
Action Model
One-step Flow Model
Two-step Flow Model
Interaction Model
Transaction Model:
Continuous series of information transfer; senders & receivers at the same time
e.g., the tone of the mother and the ongoing nonverbal feedback from the child

James W. Carey: Transmission/Ritual Models
Transmission Model: Communication is the process of moving messages from a sender through a medium to a receiver
Ritual/Culture Model: Communication is the construction of a shared space or map of meaning within which people coexist
Katherine Miller calls this model 'constitutive model'
Neil Postman
History of Communication Media: key inventions of media technologies
Writing → _____(~1450 ) → ______(~1920) → _____ (~1980) → _____ (~1990)

Which of the following is closest to your belief in the past? Has it changed after reading the article?
Technology is neutral; its good and harm depends on the uses made of it.
Technology is a blessing to society;
Technology is a burden to society;

Writing as a technology
How is the “technology” of writing described in the article? (p.16)
Have you ever thought of “writing” as a technology” What does the example of writing as a “new technology” tell you about the relationship between technology and reality?

In the article, Postman mentioned that our perception of reality changes. One example is the definition of memory vs recollection, wisdom vs knowledge. What is the difference in meaning between memory and recollection, and between wisdom and knowledge?

Postman says: “The uses made of any technology are largely determined by the structure of the technology itself – that is, its function follows its form.” (p.18) Can you explain what does this statement mean?
Neil Postman
Which of the following is closest to your belief in the past:
Technology is neutral; its good and harm depends on the uses made of it.
Technology is a blessing to society;
Technology is a burden to society;

Postman's argument against the neutrality of technology:
“The uses made of any technology are largely determined by the structure of the technology itself – that is, its function follows its form.” (p.18)
What does this statement really mean?
Technology of Writing
Thamus' description of the “technology” of writing:
“bring things to their remembrance by external signs instead of by their own internal resources” (p.16)

How writing changes human perception of reality:
Loss of memory (p.17)
Creating new definitions of old terms without our being fully conscious of it (p.18)
“Memory” vs “Recollection”
“Wisdom” vs “Knowledge”
Technology of Writing
Memory vs Recollection
Memory: passive state
Recollection: active process, a kind of search for, exteriorization of memory

Wisdom vs Knowledge
Knowledge: having clarity of facts and truth
E.g. Technical knowledge, i.e., knowing the ins-and-out of a technology, such as knowing how to search on Google
Wisdom: the ability to make good judgement
“Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” - T. S. Eliot.
Main Ideas in Postman's article
New technologies alter
the things we think about
the things we think with
the context in which thoughts develop

All communication involves the transmission of ideas, or symbolic representation of reality, and not reality itself.
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