It has been said of our generation that we are in the "Social Media Renaissance." What does that mean for Milton lovers? It means we're one step closer to his own world. Life in the Renaissance was changing fast. Why? (I know you love all my rhetorical questions). Fine I'll tell you. Because their way of communicating was changing.
Education specialists Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner say in their novel Teaching as a Subversive Activity,
"You seldom, if ever, have an old element plus a new element, such as a printing press or an electric plug. What you have is a totally new environment requiring a whole new repertoire of survival strategies. . . When you plug something into a wall, someone is getting plugged into you. Which means you need patterns of defense, perception, understanding, evaluation. You need a new kind of education."I could talk for days about the implications of new media on education (ask my slowly decreasing pool of non-Facebook friends), but I won't. What I will talk about is how media always has and always will play a crucial role in our learning process through social feedback.
Milton himself stressed the importance of circulation of ideas in every environment including the Church and the arts. Milton said (and you can find more specifically about the Church here)
"God is decreeing to begin some new and great period in his Church, even to the reforming of [the] Reformation itself [in order] to make a knowing people, a Nation of Prophets, of Sages, and of Worthies."The only way this "knowing people" would happen is if they were informed, and as we all know, Gutenberg gave us that gift forever. Right now we have the same turn of events only now the world of the unknown is just as boundless, but there are no limitations on who the explorers and discoverers are.
What kind of implications does this have on our education? It means education truly is free to everyone. Ideas are circulated, but more importantly, so is validation and criticism. Through the feedback of our media output, we are able to see that things we treasure are treasured by others and learn to iron out kinks in our logic by confronting opposing views. Milton, too had a lot of fans as well as critics. Don't you feel closer to him already?
For more on the effects of social media, look at Jeff Bullas's recent article "Is Social Media Only for Selfies?"
Check out my next blog post this week! I'll talk about some discoveries I've made to increase feedback efficiency via social media. Thanks for reading!