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Amanda Boyle …

June 7, 2012

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



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