Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cal State East Bay Communication Students visit The Institute For The Future

Students from my research methods and organizational communication courses attended a talk at the FutureCommons, a public forum initiated by the Institute For The Future last year that features speakers in industry, academe, and IFTF on forces shaping the future. The turnout by students exceeded my expectations. As my student Jennifer Medina put it; "it's about time for us to see this Institute you speak about in your classes!". For some students, it was the first time they had set foot in Palo Alto; for others, it revealed a new type of workspace for thinking and creativity--a loft like setting with no cubicles and comfortable spaces for collaboration.

It was great to see San Jose State anthropology professor, Jan English-Lueck, who worked with IFTF on a study of the impact of new media on Silicon Valley life.

Andrea Saveri, one of the directors at IFTF and one of its leading anthropologists, welcomed us and had everyone introduce themeslves as we settled in for a fascinating talk by professor Sue Thomas, Professor of New Media in the Institute of Creative Technologies and the Faculty of Humanities at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK.

She spoke on the subject of Transliteracy:
Transliteracy: crossing divides
Transliteracy involves the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks. It is not a new behavior but has only been identified as a working concept since the internet generated new ways of thinking about human communication. To date, the concept has largely been developed by Professor Sue Thomas and her colleagues at the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University, England, but it is an open source idea ripe for expansion. This talk discusses examples from history, orality, philosophy, literature, and ethnography and asks whether transliteracy could provide a unifying perspective on what it means to be literate in the twenty-first century.

We even viewed scenes from Singing in the Rain as an example of actors struggling to transition from working in silent films to the talkies, a period of learning new literacies. I can't wait to take more students across the bay to explore IFTF and other sites of interest connected to new media and organizational communication! This energized me!