I have been thinking a lot about the space of multimedia authoring in higher education lately, and it just seems to me that most universities I have been at are grossly under-prepared for the challenges that freshmen over the next ten years are going to represent in terms of “non-traditional” authoring. In fact, Gardner’s Donne Seminar podcasts are one example of incorporating a “non-traditional” (whatever the hell that means) media authoring tool into a 16th and 17th century Brit Lit college classroom. As it has been recently claimed, if technology is understood as a heuristic then we must consider how such techniques for learning and discovering shape the context in which we learn and, hence, the content that we learn.
I have been particularly interested in these questions because over a year and a half ago I turned my then 14 year old nephew on to Sorenson Squeeze, he has since discovered how to edit films quite impressively – moreover, he has just started publishing them on his very own blog! Wow, here’s a kid who is developing a filmic vocabulary that is allowing him to communicate ideas, emotions, and his own life experience quite effectively through numerous mediums to a potential audience of millions.
There is no question that universities privilege the written word over all other media, yet there is a question as to how long this can and will remain the case. We are, indeed, embarking on a brave new world characterized, at least for the moment, by a popular digital-authoring movement (just go check out youtube.com if you don’t believe me)- but are we at all prepared here in higher-ed? Not by a long-shot!