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J. Waterhouse, Tristram and Isolde


"The most powerful attribute of any medium is its ability to enable and constrain methods. The methods you can use with computers are very different than the methods you can use with video and this is because of the unique capabilities of the computer vis-a-vis video."

"You could in fact choose not to use these capabilities. Indeed, Clark would contend that the only true test of the medium would be to use the same method for both video and computers (in this case). In this situation you would not be allowed to use a method for the computer that you could not use with video. If there's a difference in the result, it would be due to the medium. As Clark points out, there typically is not a difference and he uses this to argue that media do not make a difference. But of course you are not going to find differences--you haven't provided a true test of the medium. Unless you use the unique capabilities of a medium you shouldn't expect there to be a difference."

"Indeed, it's when you change the whole system--the method, the curriculum, and the assessment--in ways that are enabled by the medium that you are likely to find differences."

Bob Kozma

I think it is apparent that media makes a difference in learning, though it seems extraordinarily difficult to prove. At the very least I would propose the following: If the learner PREFERS a particular medium to another, or simply LEARNS BETTER through one, then it makes a difference. I, for example, learned a great deal more from the music appreciation class that brought me to a live concert than from the one which remained in the classroom listening to cassette tapes.

Clark's argument to this is that there is never just one way to present the material of instruction, and that any of the media is just as good as any other. Again, my last example seems to indicate that this is not so, that in fact the media CAN HAVE a great impact on learning. I think it must be stressed that it is variable with potential, and is not an assured factor! It is different with every learner, with every subject, with every event of instruction. Answer this question, then: If this text had a pretty background and your favorite music in the background, and maybe some interesting animated graphics around the border, and the pitch size of the font was perfect for your vision, and the script was easy to read, wouldn't that affect your learning? I will happily provide an example.



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