Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Media Equation

Reeves, Byron, and Clifford Nass. 1996. "Ch 1, The Media Equation," pp. 3-18 in The Media Equation. Cambridge University Press.

This post is slightly different from the other posts I have made to this blog. Chapter 1 of The Media Equation does not discuss literacy technology or deaf education, however it raises interesting points regarding the interaction of people (i.e. students) with media. In short, the article states that the "media equation" is that "media equals real life." The authors claim that people automatically react in social and natural ways to media in the same way they do when interacting with other people. In all honesty, at first I was somewhat skeptical of this claim, but the more I read and the more I thought about the implications the more I found it to be true.

As I read I began thinking about my own interactions with different types of media. Did I respond to media in the same way I respond to my friends or family? In essence, I believe I do. For example, when I watch movies I become extremely involved in the stories; I feel connected to the characters and if something sad occurs cry or if something happy occurs I laugh or smile. If I was completely disconnected from the media (i.e. movies) and did not "perceive" them as real, I would not react in such a manner. Furthermore, I began thinking about my friends and their reactions and interactions with media. One particular friend came to mind, because she would say on numerous occasions that "she and the computer did not get along." Can you "not get along" with an inanimate object? Apparently you can if you perceive it and your interactions with it to be "real" enough. This particular friend has true hatred toward computers and this leads me to believe that people do develop personal feelings and interactions with media.

Now, how can this be related to my topic of literacy technology and deaf education? I may be stretching this a bit, but I think it would be extremely important as a teacher (or designer) to consider how students will perceive technology and how students will interact with technology if we are to choose it and use it in appropriate, meaningful manners. If we automatically reaction to media in a social and natural way than these are factors that should be considered when choosing media for any students in any classroom, not just deaf and hard of hearing students. Furthermore, the media equation leads me to believe that when choosing literacy technology for deaf and hard of hearing students, teachers need to be extremely careful to choose media that students will easily and effectively interact with. Many deaf and hard of hearing students are already "turned off" literacy and teachers need to consider these social and natural (human like) reactions to media to promote effective interaction between students and the educational technology used.


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