It would be better, perhaps, to talk simply of the acquisition of communication skills as one gains competence with our various communication tools - the tools of the second generation being simply a subset within the toolkit. This would prevent the privileging of the second generation by squeezing all communication into its linear framework of "literacy" and the preservation of the academy within its outmoded "straight"-jacket of talk-and-chalk. This would not only encourage the use of the tools of the third and fourth generations but also of the first generation. Back to the basics would really be back, not to the 3Rs of the second generation, but to the real basics, the first generation of communication. Speaking and listening have been squeezed out of the curriculum by writing and reading. Listening is least-listed and most-practiced in traditional education. Education would be based on the acquisition of the explaining and understanding skills of all four generations of media (see Figure 4).


      Each of the four generations of media can be applied in each of the four communication settings in the university. Any cell in the resultant 2x2x2x2 matrix could, and no doubt will, serve as the topic of many doctoral theses. Whereas the four communication settings have always existed, the four generations of media have emerged over time. What is new is the emergence of a fourth generation of media. This generation can be used in each of the communication settings in the university. For example, multimedia is introduced into my lectures in the form of a HyperCard stack, which is provided to the students in hard copy, so that they don't need to mechanically copy my outlines, figures, and references, and projected to the students using an electronic blackboard, so that we have a common visual space. It is used in my seminars in my Smart Room, a simulation of the seminar room of the future, which contains a system for pulling in information from other computers through a modem, from CD ROM discs, from videodiscs, and from my own hard disk. It is used in my tutorials by subcontracting the outside-in information-providing aspect of teaching to my siliclone (a silicon clone of myself), setting me free for the inside-out inspiration-creating aspect of teaching.

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