The classification of source and destination as one or many yields a useful taxonomy of communication settings. Within the academy, three of the resultant categories are clearly defined (see Figure 3). However, the little-discussed fourth category is - from the point of view of the student (surely, despite appearances, the most important point of view) - the real-life situation in which students find themselves. As the one destination, they are dealing with many sources - their various textbook writers and professors, whether in tutorials, seminars or lectures, their family and friends, and the various mass media. They have to integrate the often-contradictory information from those myriad sources and by interacting with this information put it in context to gain knowledge, understanding and perhaps even wisdom.

      As a conception-day gift, when your father's sperm penetrated your mother's ova to create the zygote which unfolded into you, you received a vast store of information, accumulated by our species over billions of years of evolution. The ontogenetic information each of us acquire in our individual life-times is a minor footnote to this phylogenetic information. This footnote was added initially by extragenetic means through speech. We then acquired the tricks of storing information (print and photography), of transmitting information (telephone and television), and of both storing and transmitting information (multimedia) extrasomatically. Education could be considered as the process of supplementing our phylogenetic information with ontogenetic information, using our four generations of media.

      1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11