A blog written in September, 2006 by Kristina Woolsey, (she is referred to as the ‘Mother of Multimedia’) presents interesting terminology that can be used when considering how, as she says (and I’ll let her take it from here): “..changes in technology are drastically altering our methods of fundamental communications… Our experiences of space and of time have been changed forever..
To gain traction on this dynamic force field I have chosen to focus on five quite different experiences of space and time which I believe will be key to success in the digital era:
REALSPACE. This is the face-to-face domain where neighborhoods and communities have been traditionally defined, where places are designed, and physical artifacts exist.
PAGESPACE. This is the traditional medium of schools, where text and print are used to communicate important ideas and emotions. It also includes the two dimensional worlds of painting and drawing.
SOUNDTIME. Music and the spoken word exist in this temporal domain, where intonation and rhythm and beat and progression are key elements.
SCREENTIME. This is the world of slide shows and cinema and interactive media where visual elements and sounds and texts combine in temporal patterns.
CYBERSPACE. These responsive worlds, enabled by computers, let us transcend physical constraints and program new human activities. Video games and virtual realities and robotics and other if-then explorations frame these opportunities.
Expertise within and fluidity between these different domains becomes key to successful participation in the emerging global culture, as this palette of opportunities for action, communications and invention is substantial. They key becomes the choice of an appropriate domain for a particular goal, and the connection between available domains.
Interestingly, computers are currently central to all of these domains, not simply that of cyberspace. PageSpace has been changed drastically by the introduction of digital technologies, for example. Newspapers have moved off of paper, blogs and IM have evolved new styles of writing, clickability is common even in traditional pdf documents, and audiences for print materials has been extended greatly. Though the predominant element in these materials is still text, the computer context creates new opportunities for the text format.
In ScreenTime, there are more producers than ever before, as the approachable technology tools make it possible for individuals to casually produce movies and to extend these into the interactive domain in presentations and web postings. Podcasts have given new extended reach to the oral tradition, as technologies have supported new publishing opportunities in the SoundTime domain. Even one’s experience of RealSpace has changed with digital devices, as mobile cell phones and computers have drastically changed methods of navigation and convening in the world, and provided methods to gain access to the attributes of objects and events in real space.
In identifying these five different domains — RealSpace, PageSpace, SoundTime, ScreenTime and CyberSpace — I hope to provide a framework that let’s a number of individuals produce activities which extend youth’s capabilities in these domains. I hope that RealSpace is supported rather than set aside in our excitement about digital tools; it is the interaction of new digital tools and traditional design approaches and face-to-face communities that I think holds great promise. I hope that it is acknowledged that traditionally most of our compositional skills are in text rather than rich-media, and that the temporal dimension of compositions — in SoundTime where traditional aural skills are important and ScreenTime which provides new opportunities for the non-professional — will require very new skill sets for most and will require a systematic sustained approach. And finally, I hope that we all acknowledge that experiences in the creation of interactive environments and in the immersion in them are very important for everyone to have; CyberSpace is too important an environment for only a few to visit and to create within.
This is a shortened version of Kristina’s eloquent blog. Read it in its entirely here. She wrote it for a project she began in partnership with Burt Arnowitx and David Arnowitz called New Media Thinking. ‘A multi-faceted project that addresses the power of media literacy in our schools.’
I must note Kristina has many irons in the fire and she has many more contributions she has made before and since. I thank her for her insight and eloquence.