McLuhan Was Right: U of Virginia Case for Educating Differently

A study conducted by Dr. Jane Healy concluded that we are rearing a generation of “different brains.” She saw subtle but significant changes in the way children learned.  Such changes put children in direct conflict with traditional methods of teaching.

.. Frank Lanham suggested that hypertext returns learning to rhetoric, that is, as a conversation between computer and student. Teachers are familiar with the use of rhetorical devices to interact with students, but computers would allow far more interactive learning.


A Hypertext Field Guide to McLuhan Understanding Media

The annotations in the left column are provisional glosses of my own. Highlighting can be very distracting to readers, especially when it is someone else’s, so I have tried to use it sparingly. Highlightings are a lot like scent-markings, a staking out of territory: lime denotes an interesting passage, yellow a central theme. This field guide began life as a self-help project. While it is entirely possible others may find it useful, I have tried to observe a strict discipline in interpreting McLuhan’s book: to write exclusively for myself; for I noticed that as soon as I began to think of these notes as product (rather than process), the adventure of free association failed and I lost touch with the material.

.. McLuhan did not index his books; he was a firm believer in the part played by intervalin human understanding and he may have felt that a specialist approach to his ideas would isolate and strip them of their rich elliptical associations.

Table of Contents

The medium is the message

A light bulb does not have content in the way that a newspaper has articles or a television has programs, yet it is a medium that has a social effect; that is, a light bulb enables people to create spaces during nighttime that would otherwise be enveloped by darkness. He describes the light bulb as a medium without any content.

On the subject of art history, McLuhan interpreted Cubism as announcing clearly that the medium is the message.