Public history

Entangled Media Ecologies: The Nexus of Education and Mass Communication from the Perspective of UNESCO (1945-1989)

Numerous studies and handbooks in the history of education are devoted to the history of educational media and the evolution of educational technologies. This chapter puts an explicit focus on the implications and conceptual background of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization´s (UNESCO) technology-driven idea of education, which already took shape before the 1957 Sputnik shock. Eager to establish strong bonds between mass communication and education, UNESCO by the late 1940s had already begun to set up a powerful internal apparatus for media policy which soon closely collaborated with its Education Division. From the late 1970s, UNESCO set out to establish a New World Information and Communication Order to further stabilize its global role in education and media policies.
This chapter posits that textbooks, radio, TV, film, and computers were serving as interconnected elements of UNESCO’s educational mission. By looking at these specific technological ecologies of education, I connect research into the history of education with research into UNESCO´s media policies. This conceptual history approach demonstrates that education is not only based on ethical norms, teaching, and learning but is also connected to technological properties that offer access to knowledge and its acquisition. In addition, and when studying UNESCO, it becomes evident that the organization´s education-technology-nexus is also very much connected with the media and publishing industries.

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