Before committing 90 minutes to watching Frontline’s latest documentary, Life on the Virtual Frontier, I gathered an hour’s worth of reading material, opened up two word documents- one for noting bits to share on this blog, another for editing a paper- heated up my dinner and turned the TV on to watch the Olympics on mute. Although everything I need to know about life I’ve learned through PBS, I doubted these segments would teach me anything my New London-inspired courses hadn’t already covered. I was wrong. The documentary raises new questions about digital life beyond the classroom and about our generation of “highly-evolved multitaskers.” It forced me to question the read/write/watch/listen/eat equation and ask where, in this complex set of variables, was my ability to think? Although I’m not backing down from my new literacies podium, I realize I’ll need more than a few James Gee articles to defend this changing digital landscape.
The link above connects to ten segments which explore a range of technology territories, from “internet rescue” camps in South Korea to virtual meeting spaces in Second Life to brain scan laboratories at MIT. Take it from me, you don’t need downhill skiing and a microwave burrito to make it any more stimulating than it is on its own.