#INF533 Critical Reflection

In my first blog post (Bailie, 2016, July 25) and my reflection on Digital Literature experiences (Bailie, 2016, August 28) I was struggling with whether or not you are really reading literature if the literature is presented as a video. Back then I decided that reading literature had to incorporate the decoding of at least some text. I have come to see that the broader term “experiencing literature” is more useful and this doesn’t have to mean decoding only words. Digital storytelling to me has a more fluid, less rigid meaning. Stories can be told verbally, through pictures and sounds, by reading words or even through maps as I discovered in creating my Digital Storytelling Project. Are these stories literature? Well, not necessarily (Walsh, 2013), but their value for learners to both experience (Matthews, 2014) and create (Sukovic, 2014; Tolisano, 2015) cannot be denied.

Even though I am a social media enthusiast and can no longer imagine my life without Twitter, I have not previously combined it with my fiction reading. However, I have readily engaged with writers who I read in a professional or academic capacity, including for other subjects in this course. As a connected learner it is second nature for me to share my learning so the reviews for Experiencing digital literature were no exception. I shared my review of Upgrade Soul with its creators via Twitter and their Facebook page and had quick and positive responses.

Facebook post

I thoroughly enjoyed the digital storytelling project, I think mostly because, for the first time in this course, I was able to immerse myself in something which I have a deeply personal connection with, not just a professional one. Much of the research for A stranger in the town (ASITT) was completed when I did a local history project for my HSC in 1981. I believe I have transformed the content into something that could not have been imagined back then. In particular:

  • Technology now allows images to be scanned, enlarged and enhanced making them not only look better than the original but able to be shared. Previously only one original copy was held somewhere (hopefully) safe and poor quality photocopies had to suffice.
  • The use of interactive maps as a storytelling tool. This is explained further in the Context for digital storytelling project.
  • The ability for the story to shared widely. I remember showing my grandparents my original project but that was as far as it went. My father has already emailed the ASITT link to many Yandell and Bailie relatives. I used the facility in Atavist to set up Facebook and Twitter sharing, editing the text for post to both platforms.

Here is the original handwritten project:

I consider myself fairly savvy with digital tools and find most things easy to use and navigate. The simplicity and elegance of the design of Atavist digital magazines appealed to me and I believed using the finished product to be self-explanatory. However, I shared the story with my family to proofread and from their feedback discovered that some of the features of the platform are not necessarily intuitive for the new user. The simple symbol where audio is embedded wasn’t obviously clickable, likewise the slideshow navigation arrows don’t stand out so only the first image was viewed. I’ve since added in specific direction about viewing the slideshows and listening to the audio. This was a lesson in not assuming anything about users’ facility with technology.

Like a previous student of INF533 I hope my story might inspire others to digitise their family photographs and record their memories so they can be shared more widely (Clark, 2015). For my original HSC project I spoke with my grandparents and Aunty Margaret but I didn’t record anything (even if I had it’s unlikely the media would have survived, cassette player, anyone?) and they have all since passed away. How wonderful it would be to hear their voices in this project too. My dad is nearly 80, I’m so happy to have had this opportunity to record some of his memories and I hope these will survive.

Completing the project, which was very broad, made me see value in smaller stories. If I was starting again I might instead turn the story of my grandfather setting out to be a travelling salesperson at the age of 4 into an interactive book like The Artifacts or use the story of Robert and Lilly’s first meeting and wedding as the basis for creating a story told through Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

INF533 has really opened my eyes to the possibilities of digital storytelling and I hope to be an active creator both personally and professionally. Likewise, there is enormous potential for students to use narrative technology (Hall, T. 2012) to be active creators of content, instead of passive consumers (Morra, S., 2013) and I will help my school move forward by become a digital storytelling evangelist among my colleagues.


Bailie, H. (2016, July 25). #INF533 Blog task [Web log post]. Retrieved http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2016/07/25/blog-task/ 

Bailie, H. (2016, August 28). Critical Reflection of Digital Literature Experiences [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2016/08/28/digital-literature-experiences/

Clark, G. (2015). The Backstory To My Backstory On The Late Antonio Giordano (1907-1984). Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/cloudingaround/2015/10/12/my-social-history-backstory-on-the-late-antonio-giordano-1907-1984/

Hall, T. (2012). Digital Renaissance: The Creative Potential of Narrative Technology in Education. Creative Education, 3, 96-100. doi: 10.4236/ce.2012.31016.

Matthews, J. (2014). Voices from the heart: The use of digital storytelling in education. Community Practitioner, 87(1), 28-30. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1474889132?accountid=10344

Morra, S. (2013) Eight steps to great storytelling. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.edudemic.com/8-steps-to-great-digital-storytelling/

Sukovic, S. (2014). iTell: Transliteracy and digital storytelling. Australian Academic & Research Libraries, 45(3), 205–229. Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.1080/00048623.2014.951114

Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment (Ch. 13). In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers. Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA). Retrieved from https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/walsh-m3.pdf

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