On 9 November 2012, the Pan-Eu Youth ambassadors Luboš Perniš, Luboš Ondráčková, João Pedro, Iva Miteva and Ioanna Karkani participated in the “Transliteracies: issues of citizenship and creativity” colloquium, which was organised at ENS Cachan (near Paris) by STEF (ENS Cachan-IFE) and CREW (Sorbonne nouvelle-Paris 3). The participation of these five youth panellists was made possible by the kind support of Vivendi.
Before the beginning of the conference, Eric Bruillard, director of STEF (Sciences Techniques Education Formation), showed the STEF Research Lab to the young participants. There, the Insafe youth panellists learned more about several on-going research projects on the crossroads of technology and education, such as Castor Informatique, an international contest which aims to increase insight in young people’s ICT literacy. Afterwards, the Youth Panellists talked in more detail about their offline and online media habits and preferences with several members of the STEF team.
The actual conference started in the early afternoon, with academic presentations from two pioneers in the so-called transliteracy movement: Professor Sue Thomas (De Montfort Univeristy, UK) and Professor Alan Liu (UC Santa Barbara, US-CA). As explained by Sue Thomas, transliteracy is “the ability to read, write and interact across a wide range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks.” In her presentation, she also introduced her newest book, with the thought-provoking title “Technobiophilia: nature and cyberspace”. Alan Liu followed a somewhat more philosophical path, and shared his ideas on how the book will look like in a digital future. He also shared some examples of recent digital projects – including the RoSe (Research-oriented Social Environment) at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
In the second half of the colloquium, Insafe youth panellists were given the floor to share and discuss their views on how young people’s daily media experiences are nowadays changing. Firstly, Luboš and Tereza each introduced one of their online projects, Teen IT.sk and Kybersikana.eu. More detailed information about some other youth ambassadors’ online activities was shared in advance on the conference website. As turned out, the academic audience had plenty of questions to ask about the young people’s perspectives on online risks and opportunities. As always, our youth panellists were fully competent in showing that young people themselves have quite an elaborate view on on-going digital and technological developments. The afternoon session closed with a presentation by Marlene Scardamalia (University of Toronto) who talked about the co-construction of knowledge.
To conclude, the youth participants were very grateful to Vivendi for the opportunity to participate in the colloquium. For them, it was an interesting first encounter with the academic world. Even if some of the academic presentations were a bit long and complex, all youth panellists were still able to pick out some key ideas which were relevant for them. The conference was very successful in bridging part of the gap between academic theory, on one hand, and young people’s daily digital experiences, on the other.