timothy falconer's semantic weblog
Big Fractal Tangle

computer literacy

Our overall goal with Waveplace is to teach children to become digital storytellers. Just what that means, and can mean, is really the crux of where we’re headed. I’ve been thinking a great deal about this.

Most schools define computer literacy as being able to operate Microsoft Office and maybe do a little web design. They’re missing the point. That’s like saying, ‘If you know which end of a book to hold up, and you know how to turn to Chapter Three, then you’re literate.’ Literature is first and foremost about having ideas important enough to discuss and write down in some form. So you have to ask, “What is the literature that is best written down on a computer?” One answer is to make a dynamic simulation of some idea that you think is important, a simulation that you can play with and that you can learn from.
– Alan Kay

To aid in my explorations, I’ve been researching the early days of film, learning how they created the conventions we now take for granted, such as reverse angle shots and zooms. To us it seems obvious, but to them, each baby step away from “point the thing at a stage and film the actors” was a breakthrough.

I’ve also been researching interactive fiction, which began in the 70s as text adventures, but has progressed quite a bit, though it’s largely unseen unless you use the word “game”.

What’s the future of digital storytelling? How we will evolve past pre-computer modes of expression? What will our children’s children look back on as obvious that we ourselves cannot yet see?

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