About New Tech for New Media

This course is about predicting and projecting change in media through the lens of technology. It will expose you to emerging technologies and trends that promise to further evolve the paradigm for how people access, interact with and publish information in the future. In the process, you will be better prepared for a career in which you embrace and exploit new opportunities, maybe even becoming an agent of change yourself, versus constantly adapting to or fighting external changes outside of your influence. The technologies we will research this semester include:

WEARABLES: The last 30 years reveals a progressive march toward personalized content and personal augmentation. In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, consumers moved from tactile and analog media forms to computers and laptops. The 2010s ushered in a rapid shift to mobile, with many news sites now reporting 50% or more of their traffic coming from mobile devices. With 22 percent of us carry Internet-connected smartphones in our pockets, a new wave of products and services from pioneers like Google Glass, Android Wear, Autographer and soon Apple’s Watch are moving information outside of the bounds of arms-length experiences and onto our eyeballs, ears and wrists. It can be summoned by subtle gestures and voice commands, or simply offered up at the right moment based on your observed daily patterns.

WAVEABLES: A new wave of body-responsive devices such as the Kinect depth camera and Oculus Rift promise to make information available not just at your fingertips, but from your hands and entire body. Rather than moving your fingers and mouse, you can navigate through information in a touchless way by moving your hands through the air, moving your body, or even simply looking at a screen.

FLYABLES: We think of cameras as bulky things we lug around, and recently small cameras in cell phones that we keep in pockets or purses. What happens when cameras can be anywhere in the air? The evolution of inexpensive, lightweight and semi-intelligent helicopters (also known as “drones”) creates new opportunities for aerial photography and videography. By October 2015, the FAA will have a transparent process for authorizing people and companies to use drones for commercial purposes, including journalism and media. They expect up to 10,000 drones to fill U.S. skies by 2017, and you should expect to see them here first. Just 48 miles east of Syracuse, Griffiss International Air Base is now one of only 6 FAA-sanctioned commercial drone test sites. We will examine what’s possible, fly some drones (potentially even at the NUAIR test site), and discuss privacy implications of aerial photography.

VIRTUAL REALITY:  Immersive, experiential media is now a major trend with potential to shape how we all consume and create media for years to come, and you can be a part of that wave. This trend isn’t just about games and entertainment. It will impact everything from journalism to documentary films to sports, all of which will begin to incorporate immersive VR in some way over the next decade. Fast Company says that virtual reality is “a powerful tool for education and journalism,” and futurist Amy Webb recently wrote that “immersive, reactive news stories using VR tools are on the horizon.” She points to The Des Moines Register’s Harvest of Change project as a good example. This is the project that Professor Pacheco consulted on, and we will use it as a template to learn together how to create even more compelling storytelling experiences.

SENSORS: How’s the air quality or noise level in your dorm or apartment? To answer that question right now, you need to rely on data from somewhere else – perhaps from a governmental agency or private research study. Or … you can deploy your own sensor that collects data directly and dumps it all into a database. What happens when you get hundreds or thousands of people to do this at the same time, share the data and map it out? Journalists are starting to do this kind of thing, and it’s easier than you think. We’ll explore the emerging trend of Sensor Journalism together.

Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes
● Understand the fundamental forces of technological change in media that in turn impact society and popular culture.
● Research disruptive changes in the past, how were received, what they were expected to change, and what they actually changed.
● Provide hands-on experiences with cutting edge media technologies.
● Learn how to evaluate new technologies with respect to their impact on media.
● Understand not just what’s possible, but the legal and privacy implications and responsibilities posed by new technologies.
● Engage with a global community of futurists.


Find the class schedule here.

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