Three members of PART will be at the English Subject Centre Renewals Conference at Royal Holloway, 5-7 July 2007. Jess Laccetti, Kate Pullinger, and Sue Thomas will be presenting two sessions on transliteracy – a panel on Thursday and a hands-on workshop on Saturday. We're looking forward to sharing our research with the English subject community and to gathering their feedback.
Regardless of the practicalities and merits of this particular proposal, what is interesting to me is that it appears to show a transliterate mindset in that pre-existing technologies are bolted together (mashedup if you like) and used to solve problems and create new media for expression. I'm interested in vernacular transliteracy: the ways in which people use transliteracy in their everyday lives. This proposal strikes me as classic case of adapting pre-existing technology on a "what works basis." It's also interesting that the proposal has been put together and disseminated via YouTube and the blogosphere in a "word of blog" fashion.
How Can We Improve Online Reading? — The University of California Transliteracies Project
Browse, jump, search, filter, aggregate, bookmark, annotate — these signature reading practices of the Internet are both our history and future. History, because recent research in the history of the book, history of reading, and cognitive science fields shows that "extensive" reading across an amplitude of texts (contrasted with intensive, holy, or close reading) have had a long evolution. They were complaining about information overload as early as the 17th-century. Future, because even amid the flood of multimedia, text is extending in new ways. Much of so-called "Web 2.0" is text-centric: e.g., blogs, wikis, social networking, folksonomical tagging (not to mention ever-present email).
[A screenshot of my iGoogle homepage. Just to be really immersed I've set it as my desktop too.]
I've decided to try living in Google for the summer. That should be a pretty transliterate experience! After 2 years of having Bloglines as my home page, I've switched to iGoogle as my home page and to Google Reader as my aggregator. iGoogle has lots of pointless plugins, as well as a few useful ones, and offers a great opportunity to waste many hours fiddling with them. Furthermore, since I won't be getting to the ocean much this summer, I've set my iGoogle page to a Beach Theme, and told it my timezone so that the sun and moon move across my Google horizon in tune with my body clock. Nice.
Our Women, Business and Blogging Conference last Friday 8 June 2007 pulled together an interesting group of people – mostly women, mostly business but some academic and education researchers – for an extremely lively conversation about where blogging fits into business practice. One of the delegates, Vijay Singh Riyait, heard mention of transliteracy at the conference and wonders what it means, so I've suggested he take a look over here at PART.
Since the conference I've been thinking about the relationship between transliteracy and business. This came up at our May colloquium too. I do think that, whether they realise it or not, companies are already seeking transliterate people to employ. I'm going to take a look at some random job adverts to see whether there is any evidence to support that idea.
James Panton, writing in Spiked, challenges us to think more carefully about the meaning of the word 'dyslexia' as a scientific label. His article is a response to Prof Julian Elliott's comment in the THES that dyslexia 'serves an emotional, not a scientific, function'. Panton writes:
By teaching children to understand that their problems are 'natural', we are implicitly shifting the focus of education away from pushing children to achieve to the best of their abilities
Possibly. But let's take that a step further. Are these phenomena really 'problems' at all? Or are they perhaps manifestations of evolutionary transliteracy?