GGF screen1

Green Gables Fables website homepage


Green Gables Fables is an extensive, transmedia project developed by the United States and Canadian team of Marie Trotter, Alicia Whitson and Mandy Harmon. Based on L.M. Montgomery’s 1908 text, Anne of Green Gables, Green Gables Fables exists online as an open website with a Season One link to the series of Video Blog episodes housed on YouTube. Season One was presented weekly on YouTube and paralleled with associated social media profiles, between December 2013 and February 2015. Season Two is advertised for release in September 2015. Each video episode is approximately 4-6 minutes long and features Mandy Harmon, sometimes accompanied by other cast members, in the character of Anne Shirley. Anne engages viewers with the original story content, told within a contemporary context. Alongside the video episodes, the extensive multi-platform social media profile, creates a web of interaction not just between characters, but also with their audience.

Amongst the array of possibilities, users of the Green Gables Fables content may view video, read text blogs, investigate the extensive photographic imagery, experience examples of video poetry readings, links to articles and external online content and piece together banter between characters on social media. This mix of content with Web 2.0 interactive technology may allow users to develop their digital literacy skills (Edmondson, 2012).

The social media platform, which includes Twitter, Blogspot, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest and Facebook evokes identity, voice and a sense of preference for each of the characters (Valenza & Stephens, 2012). There is a carefully tailored look and feel to the content provided online that is both related to the original text and personalised to further the contemporary characters’ identity. The characters’ social media interactions with each other (now collated on Storify through the site’s transmedia archive page) not only extend the story and lend authenticity, but also encourage interaction and involvement with the audience. Fans may also utilise the GGF Story Club, a Tumblr site on which to ask questions, respond creatively to content and view previous fan content uploads. This capacity to interact and participate in the narrative is appealing to many contemporary readers (Walsh, 2013) and allows the creators feedback to help determine their direction (Skaines, 2010). The audience interaction has had a significant impact in the development and choices for Season Two as well as some aspects of the online content (The GGF story club , 2015). The interactive, non-linear transmedia nature of the narrative may also mirror the real world (James & De Kock, 2013), increasing the sense of reality for the reader.

The weekly nature of the content presentation and the interaction on social media would have allowed a sense of currency whilst the season was in action. In retrospect, the non-linear content may be harder to navigate and put into context as it is so broad and extensive (Lamb, 2011). Attempting to make sense of this multimedia source after its delivery may decrease its accessibility, immediacy and interaction; require sophisticated strategies in reading and interpretation (Skaines, 2010) and could increase the cognitive load for the reader (James & De Kock, 2013). James and De Kock recommend scrutiny of online video adaptions (2013), and with these considerations in mind, it is worth considering whether the extensive nature of the Green Gables Fables content might be best used for curriculum purposes in selected fragments.

Although dependent on internet connection, Green Gables Fables is freely available and does not rely on users owning accounts to view the array of social media. It is also not device dependent. Whilst widely accessible, it is worth noting that filtering of social media is standard in many schools (Ramaswami, 2010) and therefore until refined filtering processes are widely integrated, much of the content may not be accessible within the school context. However, where such restrictions do not apply, Green Gables Fables has suitable application for use in middle to senior high school contexts and relates to curriculum areas including (but not limited to) English, performing arts and media arts. As an extension of reading and investigating the existing content, the resource affords considerable possibilities for “phase space” (Unsworth, 2006) curriculum activities – extending beyond the existing content to write or create an extensive array of related options or potentially to participate in online literature circles (Edmondson, 2012) to extend learning and interaction beyond the immediate classroom.

This modern day adaption of the original text, enlivens the beloved character of Anne Shirley in a contemporary context and makes use of the familiar digital media that teen audiences enjoy (Edmondson, 2012). The fanbase and interest in this adaption of the original text indicate a revitalisation of a beloved classic with its use of contemporary media and the capacity for fan interaction.


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