Gilberte Furstenberg, Senior Lecturer Emerita, was born and educated in France where she received her Agrégation. She taught English at the University of Paris-Nanterre, then moved to the United States where she became a correspondent for the French news magazine L'Express (from 1970-1978). Her next career move brought her to the Foreign Languages and Literatures at M.I.T. where for thirty years, she taught French language and culture, and developed innovating multimedia and web-based materials for fostering students' active, experiential linguistic and cultural learning within authentic contexts
Her research interests have focused on the development and use of interactive multimedia technology for learning French and acquiring a better understanding of its underlying culture. She is the principal author of A la Rencontre de Philippe, a pioneering interactive fiction, and of Dans un quartier de Paris, an interactive multimedia documentary which have both won national and international awards. A la Rencontre de Philippe, initially published in videodisc format by Yale University Press, has been redesigned as a CD-ROM and is currently published by CLE Int. in Paris.
Since 1997, she has been involved, along with Sabine Levet and Shoggy Waryn, in the development of Cultura, a Web-based intercultural project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, whose goal is to bring culture to the forefront of the language class. With Cultura, MIT students taking a French class interact with French students at a French University or Grande Ecole, gradually and collaboratively constructing with each other an in-depth understanding of each other's cultures, via on-line forums, The dynamic Cultura methodology has been adopted by many Universities across the US and the world, and has been adapted to many other languages and cultures.
She has given numerous presentations, lectures and workshops in the U.S. and abroad, focusing on (1) the many uses of multimedia (2) the place of intercultural communication in the foreign language curriculum and its underlying methodology, (3) the subsequent new emerging roles of the foreign language earner and teacher. She is the author and co-author of pedagogical guides, articles, and chapters in books.