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Ecological Model of Communication Christian Metrick, Steve Nowak Power Point adapted from original by Cindy Campbell, Loralea Carruthers and Christian Metrick . Agenda. Description and brief summary of the Ecological Model of Communication (Christian) Case Study Situation (Christian)

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Ecological Model of Communication

Christian Metrick, Steve Nowak

Power Point adapted from original by Cindy Campbell, Loralea Carruthers and Christian Metrick

  • Description and brief summary of the Ecological Model of Communication (Christian)
  • Case Study Situation (Christian)
  • Go animate (Steve)
  • Analysis (Steve)
  • Discussion/Questions (Christian/Steve)
ecological model of communication
Ecological model of communication

Proposition 1

  • all communication is mediated
  • messages are constructed with language

Proposition 2

Communication includes 3 characteristics

1) message

2) languages of the message

3)medium (how the message is transmitted, stored, or processed)

  • messages encoded with language and processed, stored and transmitted via media
ecological model continued
Ecological model continued…

Proposition 3

people are either:

  • 1) creators of messages to be interpreted or
  • 2) consumers of messages – try to create meaning

Proposition 4

  • communication represented in messages

Proposition 5

  • messages represented using language and media

Proposition 6

people must learn language and media to create/interpret messages

  • different languages and different types of media
ecological model continued1
Ecological Model Continued…

Proposition 7

  • people create (invent and evolve) languages and media
  • language is an artificial construct, it is a shared system of meaning
  • mutually created
  • media is an artificial construct, changes and evolves

Proposition 8

  • medium determines what kinds of languages will be useful within that medium

Proposition 9

  • consumption of messages allows consumers to form perceptions/establish relationships with creators of the messages “formation of human ecologies”
case study situation
Case Study --Situation
  • The case study that will be examined relates to a situation where a teacher was responsible for creating a unit plan on the topic of Life Systems. The teacher was a new teacher and had never created a unit plan for the topic of Life Systems. He was having difficulties coming up with ideas for this unit plan and had to network to connect with his friends and other teachers. Using a combination of bulletin board systems, email and text messages, and technologies like SMART exchange he was able to reach out to his colleagues and brainstorm ideas and suggestions for coming up with a unit plan.
  • The teacher becomes the creator of the messages by asking his colleagues for their opinions ideas for the topic of Life Systems. Over time his colleagues offer their suggestions and link their suggestions with ideas from a multitude of websites. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and SMART exchange expand the narrowly focus of the conversation as the teacher posts his comments to others through these different mediums.
  • Finally the teacher through numerous conversations with friends, other professionals, and colleagues he has a multitude of material that can be used for his unit plan on Life Systems. Furthermore, through the conversation he established a network of individuals who expanded the original focus on a unit plan for Life Systems and expanded into a conversation of how this could tie in with a unit plan for Language Arts, Drama, and Music..
go animate video
Go animate video
  • Proposition 9 of Davis Foulger’s Ecological Communication theory outlines the “formation of human ecologies”. In the situation, the teacher was having difficulty in producing a new and unknown unit.
  • That teacher, like all teachers, was part of a greater network of like-minded professionals – a human ecology. These networks are not necessarily formally organized groups, rather they are most often colleagues, friends, friends of friends, etc.
  • In this case, the teacher choose to exploit the use of modern mass communication technologies (twitter, Facebook, blogs, email, text)in an attempt to solicit information on the subject in both a quick and diverse manner.
  • The use of modern communication avenues allows a user, in this case the teacher, to instantly overcome geographical, time zone, and economical barriers. Equally as important is the return of information. Links, PowerPoint’s, pdfs, text documents, assessments, videos, and virtually all resources (except physical media – ie, lab equipment, models, etc.) can be returned instantly via the same path it was sent.
analysis continued
Analysis continued…


  • Sends request for assistance (via Facebook, text, twitter, blogs, email,)
  • Sent as electronic media/message encoded electronically

Consumer (Network friend/colleague):

  • Observes and interprets message….decides if they can help (yes/no) -Yes

-becomes Creator

-sends message back along the same electronic avenue with requested information.


-interprets message. No further action required

  • The teacher creates a single message to send to their network/ecology. Consumer receives message and takes appropriate response. Consumer becomes creator and returns message plus additional attributes. Original creator (teacher) who sent one original message now receives many responses.
thank you any questions
Thank you…any questions?
  • Please see our references on the class wiki.