[OLPC-SF] Microsoft Is Joining Low-Cost Laptop Project - New York Times

Mike Travers mt at alum.mit.edu
Sun May 18 03:15:17 EDT 2008

On Sat, May 17, 2008 at 10:13 PM, Sameer Verma <sverma at sfsu.edu> wrote:
> jim wrote:
>> thank you, ed.
>>    it might help that someone remind mr
>> negroponte that the medium is the massage.
>> in other words, part of one's education
>> comes from the values of the channel that
>> deliver the educational content.
> I think mixing the medium and the message is myopic. Does reading a
> paper-based book intrigue people to learn about making paper and learn
> about book-binding?

The point of McLuhan's catchphrase is that a medium bears meaning
which is independent of the surface content.  Television, for
instance, conditions us to be relatively passive viewers, conditions
us to watch imagery on our couch in our home (differnt from movies,
which are a more social experience).  It's not that you are watching
"Gilligan's Island", it's that you are *watching*.  Newspapers and
other forms of media have their own, different message.  And the
Internet, of course, is a medium with a radically different message --
a more interactive and participatory one.  McLuhan's framework is
especially apt for the OLPC since the project has focused so much on
the medium (laptops and networks) and less, so far, on "content".  But
the choice of operating system seems like a relatively minor element
of the medium/message/massage, compared to the fact of connectedness
and interactivity.

Mike Travers

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