Part C: Critical Reflection


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Throughout history people have been both threatened and excited by the adaptation of storytelling to new mediums with the advent of books, radio, television and the internet (Koskimaa, 2007). Rapid changes in technology are impacting on how we consume information, read and tell stories. (Sadokierski, 2013). The literature landscape is in a time of transition and as I explained in my first assessment task, so am I (Warner, 2013). As a teacher librarian it is essential that I am informed and critical of emerging digital trends in storytelling. Digital literature presents literacy and management challenges but it also provides opportunities for participation, interaction and engagement.

Literature is no longer confined to the printed page and my long established reading practices are becoming increasingly screen based. In forum post 1.2, I considered my knowledge and understanding of digital narratives to be limited. Once I started researching categories of digital literature by Unsworth (2006) and Lamb (2011), I realised that I had been exposed to more digital literature than I had first thought (Blog post). I was familiar with hypertexts, re-contextualised literary texts and linear ebooks but I was unaware of how storytelling could be amplified by interactive ebooks, apps and transmedia. I started exploring the texts recommended on the INF533 Goodreads group and was amazed by what I discovered.

As I explored new forms of storytelling, I became acutely aware of my own weaknesses using the storytelling apps Chopsticks and Midnight Feast. New literacies are required to comprehend and navigate digital literature. Initially I felt lost and didn’t know how to approach the text. Swiping, zooming, pinching and tapping the screen engage haptic perception and Skains suggests readers that lack exposure to this technology may be resistant to engage with the text (2010). “The emerging role of haptic perception in digital reading” (Roskos, Burnstein, Shang, & Gray, 2014, p.6) is increasing with enhanced ebook apps. However, I was motivated by the quality of the stories and gradually discovered additional multimodal affordances by revisiting the apps and therefore improved my digital reading skills.

I was captivated by the interplay of illustrations, images, sound and motion in the interactive graphic novel of The Boat (Blog post). With very few words, meaning was conveyed by engaging aural and visual techniques. There was a synergy between artistic and technical features that is vital for a good quality digital story (Walsh, 2013). New communication technologies have changed the nature of text and additional criteria is required to select and evaluate texts for learning (Yakota & Teale). Texts can be written, spoken or multimodal. “Multimodal texts combine language with other means of communication such as visual images, soundtrack or spoken word” (Walsh, 2013, p. 181). To meet expectations of the Australian Curriculum it is essential that school libraries integrate ebooks into their collections and programmes. (O’Connell, Bales and Mitchell, 2015). As a teacher librarian I need to be informed and bold to meet the challenges of an increasingly digital and multimodal environment that involves Digital Rights Management, licence agreements and emerging formats (Forum post 2.3).

The ubiquitous use of mobile devices has increased internet and social media use by teenagers (Lenhart, 2015). Students are using the internet for social, recreational and informational purposes. Out of school, some students are creating, communicating and telling stories using web 2.0 and social media, however there are still students with low technical skills (Malita, 2010). Getting students to create their own digital stories is one way of embedding digital literacy into the curriculum. In preparing my own digital story for assessment four, I questioned whether I had the necessary skills to create a digital story. I was reminded by Alexander (2011) to consider the audience and concentrate on meaning. I soon realised that I could use my existing skills to research, plan and write the story. (Forum post 4.2) My greatest challenge was how to combine text, images and audio to amplify the story and connect with the intended audience. This requires thinking critically about effective combinations (Malita, 2009). The process of creating a digital artefact has given me the confidence to advise others and model digital storytelling. I have experimented with digital storytelling tools and my fellow students have introduced me to even more that I was unaware of (Forum post 4.2).

Literacy in today’s learning environment is evolving and requires access to diverse texts. Print and digital texts coexist and provide readers with choice. At the beginning of this subject I felt overwhelmed by the challenges involved with managing digital literature in schools and libraries (Forum post 2.3). I am prepared to confront these challenges and apply my learning in the workplace with the knowledge I have gained, the resources I have discovered and the tools I have been introduced to.

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://www.eblib.com

Koskimaa, R. (2007). Cybertext challenge: Teaching literature in the digital world. Art & Humanities in Higer Education, 6(2), 169-185. doi: 10.1177/1474022207076826

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. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.03.465

O’Connell, J., Bales, J., & Mitchell, P. (2015). [R]Evolution in reading cultures: 2020 vision for school libraries. The Australian Library Journal, 64(3), 194-208. doi:10.1080/00049670.2015.1048043

Roskos, K., Burstein, K., Shang, Y., & Gray, E. (2014). Young Children’s Engagement With E-Books at School. SAGE Open, 4(1). Retrieved from http://sgo.sagepub.com/content/4/1/2158244013517244.abstract

Sadokierski, Z. (2013). What is a book in the digital age? The Conversation. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/what-is-a-book-in-the-digital-age-19071

Skains, R. L. (2010). The Shifting Author—Reader Dynamic: Online Novel Communities as a Bridge from Print to Digital Literature. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 16(1), 95-111. doi:10.1177/1354856509347713

Unsworth, L. (2005). E-literature for Children : Enhancing Digital Literacy Learning Retrieved from http://CSUAU.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=198496

Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment. In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers (pp. 181-194). Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia. Retrieved from https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/walsh-m3.pdf.

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

Yokota, J., & Teale, W. H. (2014). – Picture Books and the Digital World. – 67(- 8), – 585.  Retrieved from – http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/trtr.1262

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