Archive of ‘INF533’ category

INF533 Reflection Assessment 4 – Part C

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Literature in digital environments (INF533) has challenged participants to incorporate digital environments into their schemata for both the literature genre and literacy pedagogy. Throughout the modules in this course, we were challenged to consider questions such as:

  • What impact has the digital revolution had on books, reading and literature?
  • What challenges and opportunities might digital literature bring to the classroom?
  • What are the policy and practice considerations for including digital literature in school library collections?

These questions have been considered in the reflection on learning in INF533 that follows.

Changing definitions

Once upon a time storytelling was an oral tradition. Due to Gutenberg’s press, it evolved to include print. The Third Industrial Revolution has expanded the mediums of storytelling yet again and the narratives and dialogues of human experience are now also shared via interactive, transmedia, digital spaces. In the twenty-first century, when someone tells us they are reading a book, it can no longer be assumed that they are turning paper pages from the beginning to the end of a story. While this may be the case, they might also be plugged in, clicking, swiping, pinching, listening, viewing or interacting (Sadokierski, 2012). Lamb suggests that a book can now be defined as a published collection of related pages or screens (2011, p.13). As discussed in a blog post on this topic, titled Digital storytelling – distinguishing features, these new forms of storytelling not only change our definition of the physical book but also require new conceptions of author, editor, publisher and reader. Associated with this shift is a new breed of reader who, with the availability of connective technologies, is vocal, social, creative and collaborative resulting in reciprocal relationships between authors and readers (James Kennedy, as cited in Valenza & Stephens, 2012, p.78). Further to this, new technologies are changing our view of literature. An author goes beyond the classical definition of literature when they integrate digital and literary features in authentic ways and a synergy is formed between textual, artistic, multimodal and functional elements (Walsh, 2013, p.187). Consequently, the very nature of narrative and story are changing because of digital environments (Unsworth, 2008, p.63). These new definitions of book, reader and literature hold important implications for those involved in school libraries where literacy is the goal and the focus of our life work is to educate young people for successful futures.

Changing literacies

The emergence of digital literature means that new reading environments are now connected and participatory and this has implications for our understanding of what it means to be literate. Digital literacy broaches the idea that participation in contemporary society requires a set of skills beyond those of traditional literacy that included reading, writing, listening and speaking. Rowan states that “this is not just a question about working on screens rather than on paper, it is about moving between different forms and different genres with a degree of confidence. It is about editing and production” (2012, p.112). It follows then that literacy pedagogy also needs to be examined and Walsh’s research confirms that literacy needs to be redefined within current curriculum contexts (2010, p.211).  As discussed in the blog post titled The place for digital storytelling in the classroom, incorporating digital texts and storytelling into classroom programs has the potential to provide students with opportunities for comprehending narrative elements, engagement in collaborative and explorative production practices and building digital competencies. Exposing students to multimodal literature and an opportunity to experiment with producing such stories is one method of digital literacy pedagogy explored in INF533 via the Digital storytelling project.

The digital story experiment

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Through the Digital storytelling project, I was required to create a digital text, experiment with digital tools and platforms, experience social-networked literature and incorporate digital media texts into reading and literacy experiences in the school context. Pushing beyond my comfort zone, I chose to create a fan fiction response to John Green’s The fault in our stars on Instagram. Among the students for whom this project was designed, Instagram is the social media tool of choice and was therefore selected for this project. As a platform for digital storytelling, Instagram presented a number of challenges. These included copyright considerations, embedding multimedia elements and offering the reader an opportunity to interact with the story. These challenges and the creative problem solving used to overcome them are discussed in the blog post: Fan fiction on Instagram – the digital story experiment.

Changing professional practice

The reality that the digital revolution is changing books, storytelling and reading is a fact teacher librarians need to embrace because it has implications for our pedagogy and library management. These implications are discussed in three blog posts written for INF533:

In essence, the world is now characterised by ubiquitous connectivity and change resulting in the need for school library practitioners to redefine reading, remodel collections and rethink pedagogy in order to support students’ literacy development and promote lifelong reading practices.

References

Fora.TV. (2009, September 23). Once Upon These Times: New Stories for New Audiences [Video file]. Retrieved from http://fora.tv/2009/09/23/Once_Upon_These_Times_New_Stories_for_New_Audiences

Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning and leading with technology, 39(3), 12-17. Retrieved July 25, 2015, from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/ login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=67371172&site=ehost-live

Rowan, L. (2012). Imagining futures (Ch. 13). In L. Rowan, & C. Bigum (Ed.),Transformative approaches to new technologies and student diversity in futures oriented classrooms: Future proofing education (pp. 217-225). Dordrecht: Springer Science +Business Media B.V.

Sadokierski, Z. (2013, November 12). What is a book in the digital age? [Web log post]. Retrieved October 02, 2015, from http://theconversation.com/what-is-a-book-in-the-digital-age-19071

Unsworth, L. (2006). E-literature for children: Enhancing digital literacy learning. Oxford, UK: Routledge.

Valenza, J. K., & Stephens, W. (2012). Reading Remixed. Educational Leadership, 69(6), 75-78. Retrieved fromhttp://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ulh&AN=73183267&site=ehost-live

Walsh, M. (2010). Multimodal literacy: What does it mean for classroom practice? Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, (October), 211-239. Retrieved September 27, 2015, from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=dde702e8-c9f2-48d8-add4-a9b0e0ccf596%40sessionmgr4004&vid=1&hid=4101

 

 

 

Fan fiction on Instagram – the digital story experiment

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The project

This digital storytelling venture endeavoured to create a fan fiction response to The fault in our stars by John Green and consisted of Instagram posts from Hazel Grace Lancaster, the protagonist of this story and a connected website containing author notes.

It was a conscious decision to make the reader aware that the Instagram posts were a fan fiction response because fandom is a theme presented in the novel and because John Green himself has commented on fan fiction, social media and the relationship that exists between an author and reader.

Two interviews I discovered with John Green prompted this idea for a project that combined social media, fanfiction and The fault in our stars. The first was an interview by Zuckerman (2014), in which John Green states:

“I am really interested in fandom because I am a fan myself”;

and

“I think in the age of the internet – in the age of social media – it’s just much harder to separate the artist from the art. Particularly when the artist is constantly inserting himself into the conversation on Twitter or Tumblr or whatever”.

Secondly, in this extract from a Youtube interview with John Green on the red carpet of The fault in our stars film premier, he discusses the future of media and the relationship between the author and the reader. Both of these concepts have been of particular interest to me throughout the course of Literature in digital environments (INF533).

The challenges

Among the students for whom this project was designed, Instagram is the social media tool of choice and was therefore selected for this project. As a platform for digital storytelling, Instagram presented a number of challenges:

  • Firstly, it was time consuming to produce images that were my own creations or licensed for reuse. One solution I found was the Canva platform that proved very useful for the creation of original images to use throughout the story. Creative Commons images were also a good resource for this project.
  • A second difficulty with using the Instagram platform is that, on face-value, it is quite superficial. In order to go beyond image sharing, and create the multimedia elements Lamb describes as necessary for a transmedia story (2011, p.15), I had to research how to use and incorporate other apps such as Flipagram.
  • Finally, creating the opportunity for interactivity and collaboration between author and reader is a feature of digital storytelling that allows the audience to become part of the journey (Fora, 2009, 24min,10sec). To provide an interactive facility in Instagram beyond ‘liking’ posts required some thought and the resultant comments and posts from readers were a highlight of the project.

The highlights

For me, the biggest highlights of the project occurred when readers interacted with the story. These included:

Occasions when readers spontaneously responded to a post:

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Reader responses to questions that were embedded into the text of posts:

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Content contributed by readers when invited to share with a hash tag:

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Comments and questions added by readers to the forum in the connected website:

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My favourite response was when two readers discussed and issue raised with one another:

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It may never end ……..

When discussing Instagram with the students in my class, they have a very strong opinion that one post per day is the accepted convention when using this social media. Adhering to this convention meant that only twenty-seven posts were achieved for this project. As a fan fiction piece, this story will persist as long as the author (the fan) wishes to continue interacting with the text this way. Because the reader has become involved in the story, the author also loses some control over the structure of the narrative, and as observed by Fitzgelrald, the digital story may not have a narrative conclusion (2013, 8min50sec). As an assessment piece for a university subject, this also poses an interesting conundrum to the notion of a due date. The story present at the time of submission may in fact be different to the story read at the time of marking.

References

Beyond the Trailer (Director). (2014, June 5). The Fault in Our Stars interview 2014 : John Green, Hank Green, Wyck Godfrey [Video file]. Retrieved September 22, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gt-e7Nwj3Bk

Fitzgerald, L. (2015). Literature in Digital Environments [INF533 Module 6.1]. Retrieved October 13, 2015, from Charles Sturt University website: https://interact2.csu.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-510015-dt-content-rid-1113506_1/courses/S-INF533_201560_…

Fora.TV. (2009, September 23). Once Upon These Times: New Stories for New Audiences [Video file]. Retrieved from http://fora.tv/2009/09/23/Once_Upon_These_Times_New_Stories_for_New_Audiences

Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning and leading with technology, 39(3), 12-17. Retrieved July 25, 2015, from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/ login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=67371172&site=ehost-live

Zuckerman, E. (2014, May 06). ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ author John Green on fandom and his favorite YA romances. Wire. Retrieved October 12, 2015, from http://www.thewire.com/entertainment/2014/05/the-fault-in-our-stars-author-john-green/361732/

 

 

Context for Digital Story Telling Project

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Introduction

Teachers in the digital age are becoming increasingly aware that technology is having an effect on the traditional definitions of reading, learning and literacy and this necessitates changes in reading literacy pedagogy (Felvegi & Matthew, 2012, p.41). New technologies, however, do not reduce the value of literature studies in the new millennium and the need to spend time reading and discussing stories remains important for freedom of thought, cultural continuity, and engaging imaginations (Robinson, 2001, pp.1-8). The fact is, new realities are expanding the meaning of reading a book and have come to include electronic literature (eLiterature) as works with important literary aspects (Rettberg, 2012, para.4). The emergence of eLiterature provides an opportunity for teachers to combine digital literacy and literature studies in the classroom. This digital storytelling proposal explores one way that this may be done in a secondary school setting.

The school context

The school context for this proposal is a Catholic secondary independent girls’ school that caters for approximately eight hundred and ninety (890) students ranging from years seven to twelve (7-12). Because of the school’s inclusive enrolment policy, these students are made-up of a diverse range of learning styles and needs. In terms of technology integration, the school has a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) model and supports a philosophy of digital participation, acknowledging the need for digital learning environments in order to adequately prepare students for life and work outside of school. The role of the school library (also known as the iCentre) is to support the school in the delivery of library and information services. Supporting literacy development is one such service provided by the iCentre. In line with the Australian School Library Association (ASLA) Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians (2014), the iCentre works collaboratively with teaching teams “to plan and implement information literacy and literature programs that result in positive student learning outcomes” (standard 2.2).

Proposal topic

In year seven, eight and nine at the school in which I teach, an integrated curriculum approach is taken and Core Studies is a class that incorporates the English, History, Geography and Religion curriculums.

This proposal is designed for year 8 Core Studies. In this subject, students undertake a literature unit called “Book Club”. This unit has traditionally required students to read five novels and complete a creative response task to each. After consultation with the team leader of Core Studies, it is proposed that one of the reading choices for this unit be a piece of eLiterature and one of the creative response choices be a digital story. As the Teacher-Librarian, I will provide a reading list of eLiterature options available through the iCentre that students can choose from. I will also create a digital story as an example for students. This digital story will be in the form of a fan fiction response to The fault in our stars by John Green and will consist of Instagram posts from Hazel Grace Lancaster, the protagonist of this story and a connected website containing author notes. It is a conscious decision to make the reader aware that the Instagram posts are a fan fiction response because fandom is a theme presented in the novel and because John Green himself has commented on fanfiction, social media and the relationship that exists between an author and reader.

Proposed digital tools and/or spaces to be used

After surveying the Year 8 students, I have chosen to use Instagram as the platform for my digital story as this seems the most popular choice of social media in our school context. This Instagram account will be supported by an ‘Author notes’ website that includes a forum page for interactivity. The purpose of this website is to experiment with creating a story, like those described by Alexander (2011, p.228) that requires a reader to negotiate across multiple platforms such as hyperlinking, media embedding and browser tabs. I have also chosen to make my story a spin-off from The fault in our stars by John Green as most students in this year level have read the story or seen the film and will have prior knowledge or familiarity with the character of Hazel Grace Lancaster. This project would fit within the Literature strand of the Australian Curriculum (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2013) and provide opportunities for students to:

  • respond to literature
  • experience eLiterature
  • develop storytelling skills
  • create in a digital environment
  • experience fan fiction
  • build digital literacies

References

Alexander, B. (2011). Storytelling: A tale of two generations, Chapter 1. In The new digital storytelling: Creating narratives with new media. ABC-CLIO.Retrieved from http://CSUAU.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=678297

Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2013). Overview: Literature. Retrieved September 15, 2015, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/english/content-structure/literature

Australian School Library Association. (2004, December). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved July 25, 2015, from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/standards.aspx

Beyond the Trailer (Director). (2014, June 5). The Fault in Our Stars interview 2014 : John Green, Hank Green, Wyck Godfrey [Video file]. Retrieved September 22, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gt-e7Nwj3Bk

Felvégi, E., & Matthew, K. I. (2012). eBooks and Literacy in K–12 Schools. Computers In The Schools29(1/2), 40-52. doi:10.1080/07380569.2012.651421

Rettberg, J.W. (2012). Electronic literature seen from a distance: the beginnings of a field. Retrieved from http://www.dichtung-digital.de/journal/archiv/?postID=278

Robinson, M. (2001). Standing on the faultline: The value of literature in the new millennium. In Books up front: Investigating the value of literature [ed. S. La Marca] (pp. 1-10). Carlton, Victoria: School Library Association of Victoria.

 

Considering copyright for digital environments

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As teacher librarians we are charged with the stewardship of school libraries and the resources within them. This stewardship translates to the task of ensuring the conservation, organisation and responsible use of information, cultural and physical resources. One core responsibility that falls under the umbrella of stewardship is understanding, protecting and teaching copyright. The Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians, stipulate excellent teacher librarians will do this by: applying information management practices and systems that are consistent with national standards (Australian School Library Association [ASLA], 2004, standard 2.3); and modelling the sharing of knowledge within their community (ASLA, 2004, standard 3.4).

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights holds that “everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author” (United Nations, 2015, Article 27). Robert Levine argues that such protection of creators’ rights is well provided for by copyright (2013, 7min45sec). However, managing copyright in the digital age has become a very complicated and confusing arena that requires careful consideration for creators and consumers alike (Levine, 2013, 13min27sec). Issues facing teacher librarians in this area include copyright legislation, Digital Rights Management (DRM) and licensing agreements (Fitzgerald, 2015, para.1). In my school library, tasks impacted by copyright and digital platforms include the loaning of eBooks and audiobooks, the use of digital textbooks, digital video resources, software use, publishing content on the library website and social media accounts and educating teachers about fair use for resources uploaded to Moodle, the Learning Management System (LMS) used by our school.

While the stewardship of resources is important, most teacher librarians would consider the student and their learning as the primary focus of all that we do. For our students, copyright is something we need to teach if we are preparing them for successful futures, particularly as the workforce they are entering will require them to produce and publish content on websites and via social media. In these environments, it is essential that students understand their ethical and legal responsibilities when using the work of others. It is also important that they know what rights they have to their own creative content. One method of applying this knowledge to the classroom is requiring students to publish online because this carries attribution expectations beyond a bibliography. When students are required to find images and media licensed for reuse or create and license their own media, they begin to appreciate intellectual property and creative rights and the implications of copyright infringement. We have found that accessing resources that can be reused, shared or remixed via Creative Commons has been an essential skill. We also advocate students use the Creative Commons licensing tool to exercise control of their own creations. This, I believe, is a key literacy for the 21st century and when students are allowed to participate in digital environments, do they understand the connotations of ethical use.

References

Australian School Library Association. (2004, December). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved July 25, 2015, from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/standards.aspx

Fitzgerald, L. (2015). Literature in Digital Environments [INF533 Module 6.1]. Retrieved October 13, 2015, from Charles Sturt University website: https://interact2.csu.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-510015-dt-content-rid-1113506_1/courses/S-INF533_201560_…

Levine, R. (Director). (2013, January 31). Rovert Levine on copyright, content and the digital economy [Video file]. Retrieved October 10, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYiSWMnUSJQ

United Nations. (2015). The universal declaration of human rights. Retrieved October 11, 2015, from http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

Image Attribution 

Geralt, Email Keyboard Computer Copyright Author, CC0 Public Domain

 

 

The place for digital storytelling in the classroom

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Embedding digital literature into classroom pedagogy is common practice throughout the world (Nilsson 2008 in Bjørgen, 2010, p.162). In Australia, the use of digital literature in the classroom is supported by national curriculum documents that stipulate literature is one of the three essential strands within the F-10 English curriculum. Furthermore, it is expected that Literacy and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) are two general capabilities that are integrated across the whole curriculum (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2015). Incorporating digital texts and story telling into classroom programs has the potential to provide students with the opportunities for comprehending narrative elements, engagement in collaborative and explorative production practices and building digital competencies.

Comprehending narrative elements

The high value of conventional literature and storytelling in the education of a child is universally recognised. Now that we live in a society rich in technology, it is also important to incorporate digital literature into this view. Malita and Martin draw on the work of Jonassen et al. (2008) to assert that through digital storytelling “students begin to comprehend how all the elements of writing a narrative work together and how to manipulate them for the best effect in readers and viewers” (2010, p.3061). It may be argued, however, that this is also achieved when students are asked to tell a story via text and images on paper. A key consideration though, is that the multimodality and interactivity of digital literature introduces new narrative structures and ways of reading that students can only learn through opportunities to engage with literature ‘outside the book’ (Walsh, 2013, p.192).

Engagement in explorative production practices

Digital story telling can come in many forms and be used in a variety of ways within classrooms. Cox tells us that some of the ways teachers can use digital story telling is to introduce a new concept, explain a difficult idea or summarize a unit (2009, 3min18sec). Furthermore, teachers might require students to create a digital story to demonstrate their understanding of a topic or idea (Cox, 2009, 3min26sec). When such activities take place, students not only connect to content, but also express themselves in artistic and creative ways and this enhances their learning of that content (Zalesak, 2010, 2min25sec). Bjørgen’s research supports this point, finding that when students are permitted to use the multimodal production practices familiar to them from their activities outside of school, they are more engaged in the topics studied (2010, p.171).

Building digital competencies

For some time now, we have been talking about the need for Information and Communication (ICT) capabilities in our schools and that we must establish ways of embedding these into our curriculums and pedagogies, as it is important to the success of our students at school and beyond (ACARA, 2014, ICT capability across the curriculum, Para 1). A number of learning institutions are investigating how digital storytelling can provide one method for this to take place. An example of this is the University of Houston who state that one of their goals for using digital storytelling is to develop students’ “ability to appropriately evaluate and use online content and electronic tools as a means of personal expression” (Educause, 2007, para.6). The process of creating a digital story requires students to assemble media and technology, such as text, music, audio, images, animations, video, code or hyperlinks in various file formats or on apps. Such learning meets the future looking educational agenda outlined by Rowan who believes that we need to move students from being passive consumers of information towards becoming participants in learning communities and producers of new knowledge (2012, p.219). By engaging in such processes, students are improving their digital literacies by becoming designers, listeners, interpreters, readers, writers, communicators, artists, and thinkers (Kajder as cited in Malita and Martin, 2010, p.3061). As such, digital storytelling production may be seen as one method of building digital competencies and the literacy of participation.

References

ACARA. (2014). Information and Communication Technology (ICT) capability. Retrieved April 28, 2014, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/information-and-communication-technology-capability/introduction/introduction

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (downloaded from the Australian Curriculum website on 25 September, 2015). General capabilities in the Australian Curriculum. Retrieved September 25, 2015, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/generalcapabilities/overview/general-capabilities-in-the-aust…

Bjørgen, A. (2010). Boundary crossing and learning identities – digital storytelling in primary schools. Seminar.Net: Media, Technology & Life-Long Learning, 6(2), 161-178.

Cox, A. (2009, June 20). Digital Storytelling in Plain English [Video file]. Retrieved fromhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zP6CeGLPuOY

Cox, A. (2009, June 20). Digital Storytelling in Plain English [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zP6CeGLPuOY

Educause. (2007). 7 Things You Should Know about Digital Storytelling, (January 15). Retrieved September 27, 2015, from https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7021.pdf.

Malita, L., & Martin, C. (2010). Digital Storytelling as web passport to success in the 21st Century. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2(2), 3060-3064.

Rowan, L. (2012). Imagining futures (Ch. 13). In L. Rowan, & C. Bigum (Ed.),Transformative approaches to new technologies and student diversity in futures oriented classrooms: Future proofing education (pp. 217-225). Dordrecht: Springer Science +Business Media B.V.

Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment. In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers (pp. 181-194). Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).

Zalesak, L. (Director). (2010, January 25). Digital storytelling in the classroom [Video file]. Retrieved October 9, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufVnMDVskLo

Image Attribution

Pixolga, Kindle Paper White Book Device Glasses E-Book, PP0 Public Domain

 

Digital storytelling – distinguishing features

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An important question for those interested in literature is: Has storytelling changed since the birth of electronic media? To answer this question, it is important to define what we mean by story and digital storytelling. When considering the definition of story, Alexander deduces that “for a given audience, a story is a sequence of content, anchored on a problem, which engages that audience with emotion and meaning” (2011, p.13). He also maintains that digital storytelling is simply telling stories with digital technologies (2011, p.3). Yet, after exploring a range of digital storytelling, I wonder about the simplicity of his definitions and have questions about the impact of digital technologies on the nature of story. These questions include:

Is the digital construction and delivery of the story the only thing that distinguishes digital storytelling from other forms of storytelling?

How does storytelling in a digital environment impact the production and consumption of stories?

How does storytelling in a digital environment impact the relationship between author and reader/audience?

How does storytelling in a digital environment impact the structure of a story?

When seeking answers to these questions, a number of interesting points are noteworthy:

  • “creating stories in a world of ubiquitous computing may no longer rely on the Romantic model of a single creator” (Alexander, 2011, p.227).
  • An example of multiple authors is a Twitter story featuring multiple characters, each with a separate author (Alexander, 2011, p.228).
  • It is possible to tell a digital story across multiple platforms, moving through hyperlinking, media embedding, browser tabs etc. (Alexander, 2011, p.228).
  • Interactive fiction requires repeated textual input in order for the text to progress (Ciccoricco, 2012, p.475).
  • The ability of digital fiction to combine multiple modes of text, image, sound and video into one surface create “mixed media” art and this “necessitates an enlargement of what we think of as literary and indeed, our conception of literacy itself” (Ciccoricco, 2012, p.476).
  • In digital story telling, an author can have a real time relationship with an audience and construct a character and then let the audience be part of the journey where that character goes (Fora, 2009, 24min10sec).
  • Digital storytelling can empower fan communities and allow fans to move the story from something that is passive to something an audience can interact with, shape and run with on their own (For a, 2009, 25min01sec).
  • We are starting to build new structures on the internet and these are the new formats of storytelling (Fitzgerald, 2013, 2min19sec).
  • Digital story telling offers a quick feedback system that has no mediator between the author and the audience – the author connects with the audience directly (Fitzgerald, 2013, 3min15sec).
  • In traditional stories, the reader controls how fast they move through a text but in some digital storytelling, for example Twitter stories, if the audience is experiencing the story live, they have no control over when it is broadcast and this can create suspense (Fitzgerald, 2013, 5min05sec).
  • Digital storytelling can engage with the real world (Fitzgerald, 2013, 7min45sec).
  • A digital story may not have a narrative conclusion (Fitzgerald, 2013, 8min50sec).
  • The lines between fact and fiction can become blurred in digital stories (Fitzgerald, 2013, 11min18sec0).

References

Alexander, B. (2011). Storytelling: A tale of two generations, Chapter 1. In The new digital storytelling: Creating narratives with new media. ABC-CLIO.Retrieved from http://CSUAU.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=678297

Ciccoricco, D. (2012). Digital fiction: networked narratives (Ch. 34). In J. Bray, A. Gibbons, & B. McHale (Ed.), The Routledge companion to experimental literature (pp. 469-482). London: Routledge.

Fitzgerald, A. (Director). (2013, July). Adventures in Twitter fiction [Video file]. Retrieved October 7, 2015, from http://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_fitzgerald_adventures_in_twitter_fiction

Fora.TV. (2009, September 23). Once Upon These Times: New Stories for New Audiences [Video file]. Retrieved from http://fora.tv/2009/09/23/Once_Upon_These_Times_New_Stories_for_New_Audiences

 

 

 

Digital Storytelling Proposal

Digital Storytelling Proposal

Proposal topic

This digital storytelling proposal is to create an interactive story as a fan fiction response to a book. This response involves taking on the persona of a favourite character and creating an interactive story by re-telling the character’s experiences in a digital format. This digital format should include elaborations in the form of images, video, quotes and links, in order for the new text to be categorised as an interactive story (Unsworth, 2006, p.3).

Proposed digital tools and/or spaces to be used

Instagram

instagram

Rationale for topic focus for the digital storytelling project

In year seven, eight and nine at the school in which I teach, an integrated curriculum approach is taken and Core Studies is a class that incorporates the English, History, Geography and Religion curriculums. This proposal is designed for year 8 Core Studies. In this subject, students undertake a literature unit called “Book Club”. This unit has traditionally required students to read five novels and complete a creative response task to each. After consultation with the team leader of Core Studies, it is proposed that one of the reading choices for this unit be a piece of eLiterature and one of the creative response choices be a digital story. As the Teacher-Librarian, I will provide a reading list of eLiterature options available through the school library that students can choose from. I will also create an interactive story as an example for students.

After surveying the Year 8 students, I have chosen to use Instagram as the platform for my digital story as this seems the most popular choice of social media in our school context. I have also chosen to make my story a spin-off from The fault in our stars by John Green as most students in this year level have read the story or seen the film and will have prior knowledge or familiarity with the character of Hazel Grace Lancaster.

 References

Unsworth, L. (2006). E-literature for children: Enhancing digital literacy learning. Oxford, UK: Routledge

Image Attribution

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Experiencing Digital Literature

This reflection constitutes Part B of Assignment Item 2, was completed for INF533- Literature in Digital Environments.

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As a Teacher-Librarian, the emergence of literature in digital environments is a key area of interest. The changes taking place in the reading landscape hold implications for literacy pedagogy, library collections and librarianship. The opportunity to experience and review three examples of digital literature has provided an emerging knowledge of how to evaluate literature produced in digital form. Furthermore, this experience has broadened my thinking about future directions in library practice and literacy education.

Evaluating literature in digital form

The large variety of digital literature available makes it difficult to construct uniform criteria for evaluating these stories. After exploring examples of transmedia literacy and interactive storybooks, a conclusion reached is that the most important consideration needs to be “whether they communicate meaning that reflects on human experience combined with aesthetic value” (Walsh, 2013, p.182). This begins with literary content that connects the reader with characters, challenges them with new ideas and complex plots and leads them to explore new worlds. Digital literature, however, needs to go beyond the classical definition of literature or there is no point to these new forms of reading. Such a result occurs when an author integrates digital and literary features in authentic ways and a synergy is formed between the textual, artistic, multimodal, and functional elements (Walsh, 2013, p.187). As stated by Skains, functional elements, such as usability and interactive opportunities are important features of digital literature and contribute to the success of a story when they grant the reader increased choice and control over the texts (2010, p.104). Furthermore, media elements and technology tools need to be designed as integral rather than incidental features of the reading experience (Lamb, 2011, p.17). In order to achieve this, such elements should make meaning independently and interactively.

Digital texts Vs print texts

The experience of reading a digital text is quite different to reading a print text. One key difference lies in the deep immersive reading experience. In a print novel, the reader is taken on a linear journey and often interpretation requires prior knowledge and imagination. In the digital environment, the plot is often disrupted by the opportunity to link to additional content, connect with others or in fact alter the story. Lamb notes that while some readers will be empowered by such choices, others will find they hinder coherency and comprehension (2011, p.15). For myself, these interactive options certainly made the experience of reading a digital text much slower than that of a print text. Many studies confirm that this is also the experience of other readers, though the impact on speed seems to have lessened since the early 1990s (Jabr, 2013, p.10). Another key difference lies in the sensory experiences the reader encounters in digital literature. While a print text, requires the use of vision and touch, a digital text, may additionally require hearing, physical movement and voice. Finally, by enabling the reader to connect with other readers and sometimes the author, many digital stories offer a social experience that is not available when reading printed texts (Warner, 2013, p.4).

Incorporating a digital text into the school program

Of the three digital texts I read, the one I enjoyed the most was Hilda Bewildered by Lynley Stace. This book was a great read and the layers of complexity in the plot, characterisation and language presented impressed me. It was also a great example of achieving synergy between the digital features and the literary elements. As the reader engaged with the screen through touch, layers below the surface interface were revealed, thus also adding literary complexity. Rich in visual imagery as well as symbolism and metaphor, this book would be a useful resource for teachers wanting to explore the way language and images make meaning (Unsworth, 2006, p.11). As discussed in my review of Hilda Bewildered, Keck and Phillips argue that in a visually-oriented world, the skills to be able to interpret and analyse visual information is an increasing necessity (2001, p.29). There are also many ways teachers could use this text in the Year seven to ten English Curriculum. As an example of an interactive text, Hilda Bewildered could be used to support the Literacy and Literature strands, particularly the sub-strands of Literature in context, and interpreting, analysing and evaluating. (Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority, 2015). It would be a useful resource to support responses to literature, or used as part of a unit of work examining the connections between story and medium.

As this assignment draws to a close, the experience of being immersed in digital literature has afforded the opportunity to explore a range of digital stories and to consider how a Teacher-Librarian would analyse these for collection development in the school context. Importantly, I believe these understandings need to be translated to classroom practice to prepare students for futures in which digital literacy will be a necessity.

References 

Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority. (2015). Australian Curriculum. Retrieved January 28, 2015, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/

Jabr, F. (2013, April 11). The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens. Scientific American. Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=reading-paper-screens

Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning and leading with technology, 39(3), 12-17. Retrieved July 25, 2015, from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/ login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=67371172&site=ehost-live

Phillips, D. and Keck, K. (2001). Visions of literacy. In (La Marca ed), Books up front: Investigating the value of reading (pp. 29-38). Victoria: School LIbrary Association of Victoria.

Skains, R. L. (2010). The shifting author-reader dynamic. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 16(1), 96-111. doi:10.1177/1354856509347713

Unsworth, L. (2006). E-literature for children: Enhancing digital literacy learning. Oxford, UK: Routledge.

Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment. In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers (pp. 181-194). Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).

Warner, M. (2013, May). Welcome to the Hybrid Age of Reading. Retrieved fromhttp://www.christianfutures.com/welcome-to-the-hybrid-age-of-reading-how-we-read-affects-what-we-read/

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Whitechapel Real Time by The History Press

This review was completed for INF533- Literature in Digital Environments.

Whitechapel real time (@WChapelRealTime) is a historical retelling of the ‘Jack the Ripper’ mystery.  The story, published by The History Press, is delivered via micro-blogging in a Twitter feed and supported by additional content on the publisher’s website and Facebook page.  This project was written in 2013 between the 24th of August and the 11th of November to mark the 125 year anniversary of the first ‘Jack the Ripper’ murder.  The History Press state that all content for the story was thoroughly researched in order to accurately portray Victorian society during 1888 (2013a, para.1).  It can be identified that this story is a digitally originated literary text and due to elaborations in the form of factual information, non-fiction artefacts and links, this text can be categorised as an interactive story (Unsworth, 2006, p.3).  The success of Whitechapel real time is its ability to engage readers through literary devices, interactive opportunities and thoughtful design.

Whitechapel real time is a complex narrative that contains a number of literary elements including a fast-paced plot, character development and an evocative setting.  The content of Whitechapel real time is the result of work by historians, some calling themselves ‘Ripperologists’, who researched primary and secondary sources to produce a historically focused story (Dangerfield, 2013, para.26).  The plot follows events that unfolded over four months in 1888 and is delivered via first-person tweets.  Characters are identifiable by hashtagged names at the start of tweets.  By retelling these events from the perspectives of local people at the time, such as reporters, dock workers and policemen, the feed develops characterisation, allowing the reader to feel empathy for those touched by the crimes.  These tweets are interspersed with photographs and artefacts from Victorian London (as seen in the examples below) that create setting and build atmosphere as the plot progresses.  The use of these artefacts and visuals demonstrate synergy between the digital features and literary elements of the story (Walsh, 013, p.189), and is a strength of the publication.

WCRT

Whitechapel real time is not the first instance of The History Press experimenting with Twitter to publish a story.  They had previously received praise for the Titanic real time project that was published in 2012 and amassed over 111, 000 followers (Brown, 2013, para.14).  Kasman Valenza and Stephens state that such experimentation with new forms of reading is a trend among authors who aim to appeal to young readers that have grown up surrounded by digital media (2012, p.2).  These platforms promise to engage users by offering them opportunities for interaction and feedback.  Such interaction is evident in Whitechapel real time when the reader is offered the opportunity to follow links to further historical information about the events and people identified in the story.  There is evidence that readers of Whitechapel real time retweeted, replied to tweets and quoted tweets and as such were engaged in the interactive structures offered. Thus, the Twitter steam grants the reader of Whitechapel real time choice and control over the text and provides a space for discourse between the author and reader (Skains, 2010, p.98).

WCRT interaction

Using a micro-blogging environment to tell a story has design implications for the reader.  One such design effect of using Twitter to read a story is the impact of fragmented delivery.  On this point, opinion is divided about the ability of Twitter literature to capture the reader through a narrative that is revealed gradually.  Franklin states that tweeting a story line by line doesn’t work because “attempting to follow a live narrative on Twitter makes readers hyperaware of the down time between tweets (2014, para.10).  Yet, Fitzgerald states that reading a story live on twitter builds suspense because the reader has no control over when they can read them (2013, para.6). Furthermore, Davis argues that the compulsory short, sharp nature of micro-blogging results in works that are “oddly poetic on both a visual and conceptual level” (2008, p.14).  A good design decision of The History Press was to deliver the story of Whitechapel real time via one Twitter handle.  If the story had been delivered via multiple handles or hashtags, readers would have experienced difficulty in assembling the pieces later (Franklin, 2014, para.9).  Interestingly, because of the nature of social media, the experience of reading this book live was only possible during the ten weeks of publication.  Within this reading, the reader was reliant on waiting for new tweets to move ahead in the plot.  Subsequent readings of the story do not necessitate down time between tweets but do require the reader to scroll backwards to the beginning of the Twitter feed and work their way through the tweets. Consequently, the design of a Twitter feed narrative such as Whitechapel real time has different impacts for different readers.

Conclusively, Whitechapel real time is an example of an interactive story published on a Twitter feed.  This story combines literary elements, interactive structures and design features to engage readers in history, in particular the events of 1888 during which the ‘Jack the Ripper’ murders took place in Victorian London.

References

Brown, E. (2013, August 22). ‘Whitechapel Real Time’ Twitter project marks 125 years of multiple murders [Web log post]. Retrieved August 29, 2015, from http://www.zdnet.com/article/whitechapel-real-time-twitter-project-marks-125-years-of-multiple-murders/

Dangerfield, A. (2013, August 23). Twitter real-time explores Jack the Ripper murders. BBC News. Retrieved August 25, 2015, from http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-23759777

Davis, O. (2008). Twittered texts. Meanjin, 67(4), 14. Retrieved August 29, 2015, from http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/fullText;dn=078749604341308;res=IELAPA

Fitzgerald, A. (Director). (2013, July). Adventures in Twitter fiction [Video file]. Retrieved August 25, 2015, from http://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_fitzgerald_adventures_in_twitter_fiction?language=en

Franklin, R. (2014). Character development: It’s been touted as a revolutionary platform for expression, but does Twitter literature really have a future? Foreign Policy, November-December, 104. Retrieved August 29, 2015, from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ps/retrieve.do?sort=RELEVANCE&docType=Article&tabID=T002&prodId=EAIM&searchId=R1&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&searchType=AdvancedSearchForm&contentSegment=&currentPosition=1&searchResultsType=SingleTab&inPS=true&userGroupName=csu_au&docId=GALE%7CA393209634&contentSet=GALE%7CA393209634

The History Press. (2013a). White Chapel Real Time. Retrieved August 15, 2015, from http://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/jack-the-ripper-whitechapel

The History Press. (2013b). The History Press Publisher [Facebook Page]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/HistoryPress?fref=ts

Kasman Valenza, J., & Stephens, W. (2012). Reading Remixed. Educational Leadership, 69(6), 75-78. Retrieved August 29, 2015, from https://idp.csu.edu.au/idp/profile/SAML2/POST/SSO.

Kasman Valenza, J., & Stephens, W. (2012). Reading Remixed. Educational Leadership, 69(6), 75-78. Retrieved August 29, 2015, from https://idp.csu.edu.au/idp/profile/SAML2/POST/SSO.

Skains, R. L. (2010). The shifting author-reader dynamic. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 16(1), 96-111. doi:10.1177/1354856509347713

Unsworth, L. (2006). E-literature for children: Enhancing digital literacy learning. Oxford, UK: Routledge.

Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment. In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers (pp. 181-194). Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).

@WChapelRealTime. (2013, August 24 – November 11). WhiteChapelRealTime [Twitter feed]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/WChapelRealTime

Book Review: Hilda Bewildered by Lynley Stace

This review was completed for INF533- Literature in Digital Environments,

Hilda bewildered by Lynley Stace is described by iTunes as an “illustrated short story for deep thinking adolescent readers” (2015). This story is set in an imaginary, modern European country where Princess Hilda is about to deliver a speech as part of her coming-of-age responsibilities. At the same time, another socially invisible, pick-pocketing Hilda, is roaming the crowd. The author/illustrator, Lynley Stace tells us that “each of these two Hildas is basically the same – only their life circumstance is different” (2015b, p.1). Beyond the central themes of identity and social class, this story is also a commentary on the media, advertising, the construction of beauty, celebrity and crime. The Hilda bewildered app requires iOS 5.1.1 or later, is compatible with iPad and utilises multiple functions such as intuitive navigation, hand-coded interactivity, painterly style artwork, an original soundtrack and hyperlinks. This can be classified as an interactive storybook due to the audio, visual and touch features, used to enhance the reader’s experience (Lamb, 2011, p.14). Hilda bewildered is a complex narrative that requires the reader to interpret events, characters and themes through written text, images and the exploration of digital features.

Hilda bewildered is a digitally originated text of high literary value and this is achieved through a combination of a well-developed plot, authentic characters, rich language and complex themes. The plot of Hilda bewildered is full of complexity and open to multiple interpretations. According to Stace, it can be interpreted literally as a story about two separate Hildas. Alternatively, it may be read as two fantasies in which either the princess or the pick-pocket version is the other’s fantasy (2015b, p.1). Each Hilda is a complex character with whom young adult readers will readily identify. Just like the Hildas, many teens will recognise feeling ‘bewildered’ by loneliness, the magnitude of growing responsibilities, and conflicts between their inner reality and public self. The setting of the story also adds complexity to this narrative. Even though the story is suggestive of a fairy tale, the setting has been modernised by Stace in order to address contemporary issues such as “concerns about privacy, social welfare and homelessness, urban invisibility and technology induced narcism” (2015b, p.2). Symbolism and metaphor are additional devices employed by Stace to convey meaning. The colour green, for example, is mentioned in the first line of the story. This is a deliberate ploy to clue the reader into the symbolism of this colour, which is repeated with differing meaning throughout the story. Thus, through the narrative alone, the reader of Hilda Bewildered is engaged in a rich literary experience. This experience is further enhanced by the integration of digital features.

The multimodal features used throughout Hilda bewildered are an example of synergy existing between the technical and literary elements in a digital story. According to Unsworth’s categories, this book app, which can only be accessed online and is designed to be read on a touch screen, can be defined as a linear e-narrative (as cited in Walsh, 2013, p.182).  A number of the digital features employed in this book app reward exploration by taking the viewer beyond static image and text (Koss, 2013, p.26).  Examples of these features (as seen below) include rub-to-reveal pages that offer a second image below the first layer and dialogue and graphics that are unveiled via persistent tapping (Grabarek, 2015, para.3). Because they require direct interaction with the screen, these features are integral to the story and enhance the experience of the reader (Lamb, 2011, p.17). Furthermore, animations, shimmers and flashes of light, music and sound effects are used throughout Hilda bewildered to enhance the atmosphere and mood of the story.  One such example is the use of music with a panicky, vaudevillian tempo during Princess Hilda’s coming-of-age party to represent her tension and nervousness (Stace, 2015b, p.9).  James and de Kock argue that when features such as a sound experience are used in eBooks, they can take a reader to a deeper level of immersion into the story world and the “readerly imagination in such a case is enhanced rather than made less” (2013, p.114).  Overall, it can be concluded that the digital content presented in Hilda bewildered assist the author to communicate meaning and as such add value to the narrative.

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Within the secondary school setting, Hilda bewildered could be used for a number of curriculum foci in English.  In particular, this text could be investigated in the literature strand of the Australian Curriculum for years seven to ten, to compare and appraise the ways the author has used language and literary techniques and devices to influence readers (Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority, 2015).  Furthermore, Keck and Phillips argue that in a visually-oriented world, the skills to be able to interpret and analyse visual information is an increasing necessity (2001, p.29).  The complexity of visual language in Hilda bewildered would provide an opportunity for teachers to introduce visual literacy in the classroom.

Listen to music composed by Chris Hurn for Hilda Bewildered

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/203411093″ params=”color=ff5500″ width=”100%” height=’60’ iframe=”true” /]

Hilda bewildered by Lynley Stace is an example of an interactive storybook in which the multimodal content and narrative combine to produce quality literature.  The integration of visuals, audio and touch features assist the author to communicate meaning and the story presented in this book app would be incomplete without them.  It is only through touch that a number of plot elements are revealed and as such, it is not possible for this story to be experienced without interaction.  The complexities of this digitally enhanced narrative qualify it as a useful resource for teaching literature and visual literacy and it is highly recommended for the middle school years.

References

Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority. (2015). Australian Curriculum. Retrieved January 28, 2015, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/

Grabarek, D. (2015, May 14). Hilda bewildered: Touch and go. Retrieved August 26, 2015, from http://www.slj.com/2015/05/reviews/apps/hilda-bewildered-touch-and-go/

ITunes. (2015, February 17). ITunes preview: Hilda bewildered. Retrieved August 25, 2015, from https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/hilda-bewildered/id960174466?mt=8

James, R., & De Kock, L. (2013). The digital David and the Gutenberg Goliath: The rise of the ‘Enhanced’ e-book. English Academy Review: South African Journal of English Studies, (May 13), 107-123. doi:10.1080/10131752.2013.783394

Koss, M. D. (2014). Digital children’s book apps: Bringing children’s literature to life in new and exciting ways. Reading Today, (December 2013/January 2014), 26-27. Retrieved August 16, 2015, from file:///Users/stowh/Downloads/Digital_children_s_book_apps__.PDF.

Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning and leading with technology, 39(3), 12-17. Retrieved July 25, 2015, from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/ login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=67371172&site=ehost-live

Keck, K. & Phillips, D. (2001). Visions of literacy. In Le Marca (Editor), Books up front: Investigating the value of reading (pp. 29-38). Victoria: School LIbrary Association of Victoria.

Stace, L. (2015a). Hilda bewildered (1.1) [App]. Slap Happy Larry. Retrieved from https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/hilda-bewildered/id960174466?mt=8

Stace, L. (2015b). Author/illustrator notes for Hilda Bewildered. Retrieved August 21, 2015, from http://www.slaphappylarry.com

Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment. In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers (pp. 181-194). Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).

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