Lev Manovich - Alan Kay's Universal Media Machine

Here is a chapter from Manovich's book, Software Takes Command.

You can read an interview with the author here and here.

    • Tabitha Colon
      Tabitha Colon

      Based off the reading from Alan Kay in Manovich’s writing, it is only right to say that technology is changing every day and is helping and benefiting us in many ways today in 2017. Technology helps us all, we are able to find answers right away, we can communicate with people who live far away, and even those with disabilities, are able to use technology to help communicate with others (in school and in the real world). Today’s technology is getting better compared to when it was first introduced to our society, and now more than ever, people are really starting to see the benefits and are enjoying the perks that it has.

      In this article, there is a lot of talk of technology coming from the artistic side “media processors”, and how all this is positive. “The brief answer – which will be expanded below - is that Kay wanted to turn computers into a “personal dynamic media” which can be used for learning, discovery, and artistic creation in order to collaborate with other people.” This is very interesting, without reading this article I already assumed that media and technology was invented to put into use the collaboration with other people. When we think of technology, we think of means of communicating with others while working on work. When I hear the word “collaborate”, I think of my students where I student teach, the entire school works off of Google. Every child is given a laptop and they sign into Google Classroom where they submit assignments and COLLABORATE with their teachers and peers on projects. Students have the ability to work silently at their seats while speaking through Google Slides or Google Doc. Not only are students using Google, but there are other websites where students can collaborate and take tests online together while it pops up on the SmartBoard. These are different ways to “bring out learning, discovery, and artistic creation in order to collaborate with other people”.

      When I was in middle school, there was no such thing as Google Classroom or collaborating through the computer. If you had a project with a group member, you were either meeting up after school or speaking to them on the phone. Now, students have the opportunity to work on the computers simultaneously because of how technology has evolved. It is also interesting when you are raised in an era where there is little technology in the classroom, and how now, there is technology all over the classroom. While I was getting closer to applying to colleges for Education, I told myself, “I won’t be the teacher who uses technology, old school is the way”. But, in reality, technology is here, it is staying, and only advancing by the minute. It is imperative that I understand technology and how to use it in my classroom. There is no law saying not to use “old school” methods, but there are many things that I can do with my classes that can help them better understand. Also, it doesn’t help that these generations are being born with technology in their hands, it is just forcing us, teachers, more to use technology, it is the only thing the students really understand.



      • Kendall Stevenson
        Kendall Stevenson

        Knowing our past will help guide us into the future. When I was a younger man, back in the late 70's computers were a tool that only did complex processes. My first computer job was working for a clothing manufacture, I process and stored data using a “Tandem” reel to reel magnetic drive.

        image along with a “Wang computer system” image We thought that we had the best of the best. It would take us eight hours to process and back up data instead of the old key punch cards that took a lot longer then eight hours. Today, the same amount of data can be process and stored on your PC or your Cell phone. Because of People like Douglas Engelbart, Wes Clark and Allen C. Kay just to name a few we’ve come a long way. The real question is where do we go from here.


      Computer Science for Teachers Spring 2017

      Computer Science for Teachers Spring 2017

      The online home for the Spring 2017 CS for Teachers course