How is the website medium used

The media term

To start with, a brief overview: definition, properties, types and classification of media.

The word "Medium" and means translated from Latin "center"(Duden). A medium in interpersonal communication is therefore a mediating element, which can consist of language, signs or symbols. This medium transports a message from one person to the next (cf. Pürer 2014, pp.68ff). A medium can therefore be anything that people use as a sign (cf. Swertz 2009, p. 30 ff), which means that every educational activity takes place through a medium.

In everyday language, the term "media" usually means mass media such as newspapers, television, radio, film and the Internet. The special thing about them is that they can reach a large number of people at the same time and in this way convey content to a broader public. Often terms such as "new media" or "digital media" are also used in media education, but what exactly is meant by this?

Classification of the media

There is no uniform differentiation between media. Different scientists have set themselves different priorities and tried to categorize media:

The Harry Pross categorization is often used. In 1972, he divided the diversity of the media into the following categories (see Pürer 2014, pp.68ff):

  • Primary media: are media of "elementary human contact", that means language, facial expressions, gestures and posture and much more. The interaction partners communicate directly with each other.
  • Secondary media: Some of the interaction partners use technical devices to communicate. This can affect posters, from smoke signals to newspapers and books.
  • Tertiary media: Both sides of the interaction need technical aids to be able to communicate with one another. Telecommunications, electronic mass media, radio, TV, computers, etc.
  • Quaternary media: were subsequently expanded by Burkhart and believe that sender and recipient need an internet connection. With this type of media there is no longer a classic sender-receiver role, but communication is interactive.

A distinction is often made between analog and digital media. The terms "new media" and "interactive media" often appear here.

  • Analog media: The user actively interacts with analog media by switching on, switching off and reading, etc. These are print media (media in printed form, such as books, newspapers, magazines, posters, etc.), audio cassettes, VHS cassettes, CDs, records, etc.
  • Digital media are electronic media that react to the user. Interaction between user and medium is possible. These can be used for recording, storing, displaying digital content and much more. These are, for example, PCs with internet access, tablets, computer and console games, smartphones, digital television and much more. (see Leopold 2018, p. 43).
  • new media: The term has been used for a long time to describe innovations in communication technology, i.e. newly released media. In the 1970s this was the picture cassette (see Scharpe 2012, p.2ff).
  • Interactive media: Media can also be differentiated according to the users' ability to participate. The term interactive media therefore expresses that this media has a high degree of interactivity potential (cf. Jarren 2017, p. 63).

Furthermore, due to their technical characteristics a distinction can be made (cf. Jarren 2017, p. 62ff.):

  • Print media (newspaper, book)
  • Broadcasting (radio, TV)
  • Online media are "non-objective media that are made accessible via internet services" (Wikipedia online media). These are e.g. e-mail, messenger, online newspapers and online stream services.

Media transport different sign systems and can therefore be used in different Communication channels a distinction can be made (cf. Saxer 1998, p. 54):

  • Auditory media such as radio, audio cassette, CD, MP3, etc.
  • Visual media such as print media and photos
  • Audiovisual media such as television and video

In the area of ​​elementary education, it makes sense to use the term media very broadly, as this is where the foundations for building media skills are laid. Dealing with facial expressions and gestures, interpreting symbols and dealing with pictures and picture books are just as much a part of media education as talking about, dealing with and designing auditory, visual and interactive media.


Duden: "the medium" (accessed on August 4, 2020)

Leopold, Marion (2018): Digital media in day care. Everyday media education in educational practice. Herder publishing house.

Jarren, O .; Donges, P. (2017): Political Communication in the Media Society. VS Verlag Springer

Purer, Heinz (2014): Journalism and Communication Studies. A manual. 2nd Edition. UTB publishing house

Saxer, Ulrich (1998): Media Society: Understandings and Misunderstandings. In:
Sarcinelli, Ulrich (Ed.) (1998): Political mediation and democracy in the media society: Contributions to the culture of political communication. West German publishing house.

Scrape, Ja-Felix (2012): Recurring expectations of interactive media. (accessed on August 5, 2020)

Swertz, Christian (2009): Medium and Media Theories. In: Meder, Norbert; Allemann-Ghionda, Christina; Uhlendorff, Uwe: Environment. Social education / media education / intercultural and comparative education / environmental education. Handbook of Educational Science Volume III / 2: Ferdinand Schöningh: Paderborn et al., Pp. 751-780. Retrieved from: (on August 4th, 2020)

Wikipedia Online media: (accessed on 08/05/2020)

Wikipedia Digital media: (accessed on 08/05/2020)