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Amanda Boyle …

Amanda Boyle – Z3374404

Question 4.

To publish is to make content available to the public. Additionally, it can be defined as the process of production and dissemination of literature, music and information (Wikipedia). Publishing is an instrumental development that affects almost every aspect of society as a whole. The development of publishing has had a profound impact on the education system, as its many forms have progressed, the manner in which students learn has been completely altered. Schooling with the use of the printing press in the form of books pre 1900’s juxtaposes schooling in the 21st century where advanced technologies such as the Internet and the iPad have come into play.  In order to understand the effect that both of these forms of publishing have made, it is essential to understand the society into which they were introduced.

The 15th century was a time of change. The period is sometimes viewed as the transformation between the Middle Ages, the Early Renaissance and the Early modern period. Further it saw the invention of one of the most fundamental and society altering technologies in human history. Originally from China, the printing press was first adapted into Europe in the 1450’s By German goldsmith, Johannes Gutenberg (Brown, 2007). The use of the printing press created a shift from laborious manuscript making as it allowed numerous copies of written work to be created quickly (Arthur, 2004). McLuhan (1962) defines writing as ‘ a translation of sound into a visual code (p.22). Before the printing press books were copied by hand, this was a slow and tiresome process that could take up to a year.  The very few books that were hand-written were only available to monks and scholars or those that could afford the high price. Further, because these manuscripts were handwritten there were many errors in both spelling and grammar, which led to poor education (Evans, 1998). 

When the printing press first came to use, there was large demand for religious published work. However, the demand for other books began to grow as individuals showed desire to be both educated and entertained (Farzaneh, 2009). Consequently, the invention and development of the printing press revolutionized schooling in the 15th century as it allowed widespread learning for everyone regardless of class. Historian Elizabeth L. Eisen-stein (1983) reflects this through the statement “Gifted students no longer need to sit at the feet of a given master in order to learn a language or academic skill. Instead they could achieve mastery on their own, even by sneaking books past their tutors.” Before the invention of the printing press, education was extremely oral. During class students had to create their own version of a textbook by taking dictation from teachers (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek, Vocke, 2010). Further, this also created a barrier in learning, as students were only educated in regards to their teacher’s opinions. When the printing press began creating textbooks for students, only then were they able to develop their own thoughts and views about what was written in front of them.

However, due to all of these changes, the general population became more liberal in their ideas and attitudes and had started to move away from traditional and religious values (Farzaneh 2009).  Consequently, the Catholic Church deemed this as a threat and decided to use propaganda and censorship to regain control over the domain of knowledge. As a result both schooling and society was impacted as the Catholic Church took liberty in regards to what was deemed safe to be published and therefore what was being taught at school. Further, many secular books began to be listed in church indexes as prohibited and forbidden writings (Farzaneh 2009). 

Another issue that has arisen with the invention of this technology is reflected in an article by Park (2003) as he reflects on the origins of plagiarism. “ Textual misinterpretations became much more common as mass-produced books became more widely available and there was more material to steal from”. (p.473) Prior to the invention of the printing press, the concept of plagiarism ceased to exist and everything was considered as common knowledge. Further, this is manifested through the most common form of publishing today- the Internet. Plagiarism is more common in higher education institutions because as the amount of published content rises it opens a door for plagiarism behaviour to take place.

In a society that is extremely reliant on technology, we should expect this to be reflected throughout our education system. This technology is manifested through the Apple iPad, a device that has completely reinvented the traditional printing press. This sleek and portable device, which makes even the smallest of laptops seem chunky, has completely altered the concept of a book. The iPad, which was released by apple in April 2010, has made a large impact on education as it’s being used as a 21st century learning tool.  Through the use of the iPad, Apple aims to completely reinvent the learning environment and experience in the classroom “The device that changed everything is now changing the classroom” (Apple, 2012). According to Apple, there are more than 20,000 educational apps available for the iPad. The apps explore everything from mathematics to sign language, art, music and creativity (Apple, 2012). This form of publishing, which is extremely reliant on technology, completely juxtaposes to the traditional printing press that seems so simplistic when compared.

Technology is an extremely important aspect of schooling in the 21st century. By combining words, with related pictures, sounds and video, readers construct mental models for information (Brown, 2000). This is reflected through the use of the iPad. The small tablet device offers interactive online textbooks that have the same layout as a physical book; students can flip through pages by sliding their finger along the thumbnail images of the page and can double tap words to instantaneously look up the definition (Apple, 2012). These iPad’s may be more expensive than the conventional textbook but they ultimately act as a money saver. Most schools possess a strict textbook budget, which means they are left using an outdated textbook for a few years. The iPad has revolutionised this through the textbook updates that are available every year, for a fraction of the price of a hard copy. It seems that in such a technologically advanced society the use of textbooks was not stimulating students, leaving them bored and uninterested in the learning content. The iPad overcomes this as it is engaging and appealing to students of all ages, thus leading them to pay more attention in the classroom.

Additionally, the lightweight form of the iPad is an added benefit for students. The iPad is a much easier schoolbag or handbag option that reduces the risk of back and shoulder problems that may occur through carrying heavy textbooks on a daily basis. The iPad is also adhering to green initiatives. The future of education is moving towards a paperless and fully electronic operated classroom. Apple has capitalised upon this by offering an easy environmentally friendly and paper free solution with the iPad (Gould, 2012).

Through the use of the iPad the traditional structure of a classroom has been transformed. The concept of a teacher standing at the front of the classroom delivering content from a blackboard or an overhead projector does not exist, when this device comes into play. A much more interactive experience is born.

After using iPads for a semester in elementary level classrooms, teachers found they could design meaningful and engaging lesson plans around just a few iPads. They also found that they could solve the toughest of student problems with just one device (Bennet, 2011).

Although technological advancements are inevitable, the education system needs to transform every aspect in order to keep up. A downfall for students using the iPad as their only means of learning in the classroom is that they are not practicing simple skills including handwriting.  “The downside- as we move towards information and communication technology in schools – is we are seeing a drop off in the quality of handwriting” (Giblin, 2011). Currently, the Australian Higher School Certificate is extremely reliant on this skill. On average students complete 5 courses and therefore have 5 or more 2-3 hour long written examinations. English, which is currently compulsory for students who wish to gain their Higher School Certificate, requires an extreme amount of writing. Chances are, if students are not practicing this skill throughout their education they will be unable to complete the amount of handwriting this examination requires. Further, the writing must be legible for markers to read and without practice this is becoming harder and harder. Although in the near future the HSC examinations may start to be completed online, students should be practicing their handwriting skills until then.

Further, another disadvantage that revolves around the use of the iPad is highlighted by Johnah Lehrer (2010) “My prose will always look so flawless on a screen, but then I read the same words on the physical page and I suddenly see all my clichés and banalities and excesses… I’m so used to seeing my words on the screen that seeing them in a slightly different form provides enough tension… restoring a touch of awareness to the process of reading”. If a student is using an iPad to complete all of their writing exercises they may be unable to pick up their errors after only looking at the final product on a screen.

Conclusively, publishing in it’s varying forms needs to be transformed in order to keep up with a society that is constantly changing and evolving. This is reflected through the introduction of the printing press in the 15th century and further in the 20th century through the introduction of the iPad, which is currently working to change the conventional classroom. As stated above, both these forms of publishing have impacted their respective societies in both positive and negative ways. Regardless, both the printing press and the iPad have been extremely successful in shaping the society in which we are a part of today.



Apple, (2012) Apple in Education, accessed on: 4th June 2012.



Arthur, Peter (2004) The Impact of the Printing press, accessed on: 4th June 2012



Bennet, Kristina (2011) Less than just a class set: just a few iPads in a classroom can support and enhance learning and facilitate individualized instruction, Learning and Leading with Technology, accessed on: 4th June 2012.  <>


Brown, Jennifer V (2000) Technology Integration in a High School Study Skills Program, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 634-637.


 Brown, Lorri (2007) The Printing Press, accessed on: 2nd June 2012



Eisenstein, Elizabeth (1983) The printing revolution in early modern Europe, Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.


Evans, Daniela (1998) A Critical Examination of Claims concerning the ‘Impact’ of Print, accessed on: 2nd june 2012 <>


Farzaneh, Arash (2009) The Historical influences of the Printing press, accessed on: 3rd June 2012 <>


Giblin, David (2011) ‘Computers are killing students’ handwriting skills’, The Sunday Telegraph, 19th June 2011.


Gould, Jasmine (2012) The iPad, Revolutionizing the Future of Education, accessed: 3rd June 2012



Lehrer, Jonah (2010) ‘The Future of Reading’, Wired, September 8 2010, accessed on: 4th June 2012


Mcluhan, Marshall (1962) The Gutenberg Galaxy: Routledge.


Ornstein, Levine, Gutek, Vocke (2007) Foundations of Education: Cenage Learning.


Park, Chris (2003) In Other (People’s) Words: plagiarism by university students- literature and lessons: Carfax Publishing.


Wikipedia, (2012) The History of Printing, accessed: 4th June 2012 <>


Wikipedia, (2012) Publishing, accessed: 4th June 2012



Do I have to pay attention to infotention?

Hmmm infotention, infotention, info….

Sorry, back. I just had to check my facebook for a second and then my friend told me to watch this hilarious YouTube video she just saw, and then I thought I should see if any of my favourite channels had any new videos out…

So yes… That’s right! infotention.

I find myself agreeing with online instigator Howard Rheingold, as he describes infotention as a tool that we, as complex minded human beings need to help us navigate our way through the Internet to decide what we should be focusing on and what we should be disregarding.

The Internet is a never-ending source of information, which can be accessed instantaneously. In order to decide what we should focus our time and attention on we need to take Ernest Hemingway’s ideology into consideration when he says, “ Every man should have a built- in automatic crap detector operating inside him.” Rheingold likes to think of this as crap detection 101.

Essentially, I think an example of this can be seen through social media site Twitter. Billions upon billions of text is ‘tweeted’ everyday. However, it is up to the twitter user to choose what he or she wants to view and who from. The follow and unfollow button then come into play so individuals are able to sift through the ‘crap’ and can read tweets from exactly who they want. (if only talking to people was this easy ha-ha)

A very interesting argument about this topic is made on The Aporetic as the author compares attention in the past and attention now.  A point that really resonated was the idea that attention is constant and it directs itself, therefore when it’s free it goes to whatever is available.

In saying that, tumblr is calling my name!


Picture perfect

To start things off I would just like to share my favourite example of visualisation.

Information is all around us, it can be defined as a sequence of symbols that may be interpreted as messages, signs or signals. Regardless, information is complex, wordy and can be difficult to understand.

Information graphics or infographics are essentially visual representations of information, data or knowledge. These graphics can be used to explain complex information quickly, clearly and in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Signs, maps, journalism, technical writing and education are good examples.

Without really thinking about it, we interact with many varying forms of information graphics every day. There are no signs at busy roads or intersections telling us to “slow down, stop and go” Instead the red, green and orange colours used at the traffic lights are representative of the action that we should be doing in an easy to understand way.

Further, another simplistic example is the signs that are located on restroom doors. Instead of having text stating ‘Girls, Boys and Disabled’ bathrooms generally contain stick figures that are representative of these ideas.

Both of these examples are internationally recognised which makes the portrayed information tangible even to those that speak a different language.

The iPad image I posted above at the beginning of the text is not only a depressing reminder of how rich Bill gates is (and how poor I am) but is also a perfect example of how well information graphics work to make statistical data tangible and eye-catching.  I can tell you, that if during school every piece of quantitative data was portrayed in such a way, I would have been a much more attentive student.

Ultimately, visualisation really does give a whole new meaning to the saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’.


Are social media sites more important than the news? (Debate Topic)

Although I am an avid reader of online news, I am also an avid ‘social networker’ Further, Facebook is the home page of my MacBook (I know, I know) This means I usually check my Facebook before I complete my daily, and search.  Because of this I have found out important world events through social media, this has happened many times actually.

Some of the more important issues that were made known to me through Facebook, twitter or Tumblr were: The death of Osama Bin Laden, the terrible Tsunami’s in Japan, The Christchurch earthquakes, Australia’s bushfires last year and Barack Obama being elected as the American President.

Social networking creates an immediate and effortless platform through which information can be accessed by a wide readership. This instantaneous nature has somewhat allowed social media to supersede traditional news outlets.

If an ordinary citizen views something that is considered newsworthy, the information may be shared by the individual online long before television networks are able to secure an exclusive interview for their 6pm broadcast.

This can mean by the time that the story is featured online or on TV the information has already circulated through social media.

Some examples of this are:

Sonhair Athar, a computer programmer from Abbottabad tweeted about hearing a helicopter near the Osama Bin Laden compound. He then become world famous as the guy who ‘live blogged’ the raid on Bin Laden’s compound before the press got there.

According to a New York Times bloga relative of an individual close to Whitney Houston’s hotel room tweeted about her death 42 minutes before it was featured in the press.

Further, The social networking site Twitter was developed for exactly this purpose, spreading information to a large amount of people in a short amount of time. Unlike Facebook, where your statuses can only be accessed by the people you decide to ‘friend’, your tweets can be read and retweeted so they are available to a larger and more widespread readership.

And don’t worry; I wont leave it out… Who could forget the infamous Kony 2012 A short video by The Invisible Children that became viral in a matter of days due to tweets by Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Oprah Winfrey.


Don’t be an accidental pirate. Arrrrrrrrr

Picture this, you are taking film studies as an elective at University and you miss your first lecture. You later find out that the lecture was a film viewing and that one of your major assessments is based on what you were supposed to have watched. You have never heard of this film before and neither have any of the video shops in your area. Whilst googling the film you come across a website in which you can download it free of cost. You breathe a sigh of relief and click on the free download button. You have just committed a crime.

Piracy is the duplication of a copyright protected item; it could be a video or sound file (movies and songs), a PC game, software or even a hard copy of something.

Many individuals believe that because they haven’t actually physically gone and purchased a hard copy of a duplicate copyright item, they are doing nothing wrong. This is incorrect. Downloading movies and songs through the Internet is very much illegal.

However, piracy is something that can be easily done without actually meaning too…

We all know this movie its features at the beginning of every movie and DVD and Blu-ray we own.

Well bet you didn’t know this…

The music that features in this video is actually stolen

Melchior Rietveldt, composed the tune for a local film festival when he was asked by Hollywood funded anti-piracy group BREIN Rietveldt discovered a few years later that his music was being used more than was contracted. The Netherlands-born composer is now owed an estimate of over 1.5million dollars by Motion Pictures Associates of America after they stole his song for a video, based on the repercussions of stealing intellectual property.

Is that not the most ironic thing you’ve heard in a while?


Put an Archive over here and an Archive over there.

Although I did try and convince my mum during the HSC, Archive fever is not some kind of flu you catch from prolonged interaction with too many books.

An archive can be defined as any way of arranging or storing primary information or data so that is accessible at a later time. An archive can therefore be classed as anything from the bookmarks page on a computer, to iTunes files and physical storage rooms such as libraries.

Jacques Derrida’s ‘Archive fever’, which was written in 1997, proposes the idea that new media forms and types of ‘archiving’ are inadvertently destroying older forms of archiving. I find myself completely agreeing with this idea as I have witnessed this through personal experience. As a child I was obsessed with writing letters. I’d write to whoever would read them, family, friends, celebrities, the tooth fairy, I even wrote letters and mailed them back to myself to open. Anyway my point is, whenever I would receive a letter back, after reading it carefully, I’d store it in a pretty box that I still have to this day.

Times have changed, the pretty box sits under my bed and I haven’t read over those precious letters in years. It seems that this type of archiving has been completely replaced by the new, convenient media form, Email. Through email I am able to contact my friends, my boss and my tutors and lecturers at university. Both my received and sent emails are safe and sound in my inbox and sent box and I can re-read them, delete them and organise them whenever I please.

Because archives act as an imperative part of publishing it is no wonder that the older forms are being replaced by more technical and convenient media platforms. Emailing can be quite a popular form of publishing due to it’s ability to distribute information to a wide audience quickly, with one click of a button an individual can send their whole address book the information they want to share. In juxtaposition, mailing by post is time consuming, expensive and non convenient when trying to contact a large amount of people.


Actant, what?

In my opinion, the term “assemblages” (Manuel DeLanda, Felix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze) can be simplified to mean that in order to gain a deep understanding of something or to be able to analyse it properly, one must break down the whole picture or the larger assemblage and view each of the smaller components individually. Further, these assemblages all combine to make up publishing’s relation to broader society.

Since my understanding of this theory still remains fairly basic, (I’m hoping this will change come the end of this weeks tutorial) I think the easiest way for me to reflect on these ideas is to relate them to real life examples that I do have a decent understanding of.

Paralleling this idea to publishing, an example of this ideology can be reflected through the media platform newspapers. In order to appreciate a newspaper and understand the varying elements, it is essential to understand the many components that make up the larger assemblage of this form of publishing. Newspapers would not exist without Journalist’s, or editors, or issues within society to write about. Further, they would not exist without paper, which would not exist without trees, and trees wouldn’t exist without water and sunlight. (Yes it can get as intricate as that.)

French thinker Bruno Latour came up with an idea called Actor Network Theory (ANT), which he uses to analyse the assemblages theory. Latour focuses on what Delanda refers to as ‘flat ontology’. Ontology refers to the study of being, existence or reality and the flat beforehand refers to the flattening of the hierarchy that usually places Human beings on top of any other element. Latour ‘flattens’ this theory and places humans and non-humans (actants) on the same level. This further relates to my point above about newspapers where the trees, sunshine and water have to be recognised when analysing the larger assemblage of the publishing medium.