INF533

Things That Matter – Part C: Critical Reflection

screenshot home screen

As discussed in Learning 2030 (2013), digital technology allows the blending of interdisciplinary content, providing opportunities for connection, both conceptual and social, to make learning more meaningful. Good use of technology affords students opportunities to be creators and not just consumers (Morra, 2013), which aligns with the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, where creativity is of peak importance in learning for the future (Anderson and Krathwohl, 2001) and the SAMR model developed by Puentedura which defines tasks that employ the creative use of technology for previously inconceivable tasks (Redefinition) as of greatest educational benefit (Puentedura, 2014). Education needs to prepare students for work in a creative, digital world so development of skills to create in a digital context is an imperative (Hall, 2012).

The digital world allows unprecedented scope for content creation by those of us who are not already esteemed authors (Dobler, 2013; Morra, 2013). Web 2.0 provides the capacity to not just consume, but to produce and distribute information and creative content with relative ease (Hall, 2012; Malita and Martin, 2010). It is possible to sustainably create a digital story with no financial outlay (Doiron, 2013), and as I have done with Things That Matter, publish it online and reach a broad ranging audience very quickly. A ‘broadcast technology’ has become an ‘everyday technology’ (The new literacies, 2013) thanks to the array of available tools for creating.

The everyday technology of digital literature requires readers to discern quality (Dobler, 2013). Walsh outlines the characteristics of good literature including, an authentic setting, relatability and empathy, the invocation of imagination, consideration of issues and suitability for the desired audience (2013). These are important qualifications and I was mindful in the creation of my story that these elements were necessary to create a worthwhile digital text and that ‘bells and whistles’ may derail the interpretation of the story (Guernsey, 2011).

Despite discernment issues for the reader, the relative ease with which digital content can be created certainly has significant benefits. The digital environment simplifies the process and problems inherent in content creation. For example, in the process of creating my story, I was able to make use of the everyday nature of online technology to search for solutions to problems I experienced, saving considerable time resolving issues. Internet resources also enabled the inclusion of audio from a free, creative commons audio site (freesound.org) to download sound files, saving me from creating all audio components myself.  It is also easier than ever to share content and make it accessible to a broad audience through the internet and social media. Within 24 hours of posting my story to Facebook, the video file had been viewed 78 times, I had arranged to discuss project possibilities with a new connection and arranged the use of the resource in my own school. It was also shared beyond my immediate circle, extending my audience further.

 Youtube view count after 24 hours

screenshot for part C_4

As educators, digital environments have both enabled exciting options and created complexity through their rapid and constant evolution. The potential to create real world opportunities has broadened for students, where they may publish their work online; an experience that may encourage quality production and potentially provides a wide audience (Roblyer and Doering, 2014). In my own study, the resource sharing provided by interaction on the discussion board, Goodreads, Thinkspace blogs and Twitter is invaluable (Sargeant, 2013). However, literacy is now deictic – ever evolving its form with technology’s progression (Leu, 20011). This factor, alongside the array of technological skills to develop, means that teachers need to be open to new possibilities and the capacity to learn and explore options (Roblyer and Doering, 2014). Despite the world of online resources at our fingertips, the diversity of other demands impacting today’s educators compromise the transition to new pedagogies (see my final INF530 blopost). This brings me to why I chose to study this degree; as discussed in my first INF530 blog post, without it, time demands would make it unlikely that I would engage on learning of this scale or value.

Prior to studying INF533, I had not considered the potential for digital storytelling to bridge curriculum areas, making it possible to engage more learners (Hall, 2012). My investigation of three different digital texts for the Digital Literature Reviews (here, here and here) broadened my awareness of digital content that may greatly enhance learning through multi-sensory engagement, interactivity and/or transmedia affordances. My learning over the course of this session has led me to understand how the use of what Hall describes as the “transformative human power of narrative” (Conclusion, 2012) combined with the opportunity to extend skills and creatively engage with ICT (2012) is a new and rigourous combination for learning. This combination of accessible skills and concepts opens opportunities for me to build on my previous learning to encourage new possibilities for my students. Once again my study has provided the opportunity to engage with content that was previously outside of my awareness and extend my repertoire of skills and ideas for using digital technology in the classroom.

References

 

Things That Matter – Part A: Context

screenshot home screen

Inspired by the refugee immersion camp that my Year 9 students will undertake, my digital story relates to refugees and may inspire multidisciplinary curriculum opportunities.

In an Australian city environment; where privilege, freedom and safety are assumed, ‘first world problems‘ tend to be the main problems my students experience. The immersion will be a confronting experience, designed to impact students at an age where they often focus primarily on self. It aims to generate empathy and opportunities for personal growth. Students will focus on refugee content through their English, Religious Education and Humanities curriculum this term. We will use Things That Matter on return from our immersion, giving students choice to respond creatively.

Although fictional and structured as a childrens’ story, Things That Matter is designed to inspire and inform. The concepts are grave and prior knowledge to interpret the context may be helpful; for these reasons it may be best suited to upper primary to middle-school students, rather than a younger audience. Although a younger child is represented, students could interpret the storyline as it unfolds and empathetically consider the parallel situation of children in war-torn environments.

For a digital story to have value that supersedes a printed counterpart, it should offer additional elements, dynamism or interactivity (Mod, 2015). It must take advantage of the capabilities provided by technology (Rettberg 2012) and should evolve into something beyond the experience of reading printed text (Jabr, 2013). My story’s visual transitions, blending two settings may provide a more visually immersive experience. The audio adds another sensory dimension to add emphasis and personification. I did not initially intend to produce a linear story and ideally would have added further interactive elements (as recommended by Barack, 2012); however my skills and time constraints limited my exploration of non-linear, interactive components. Alternately, I set the linear story into a website to include supporting pages. Inspiration provides acknowledgement and background, and further resource recommendations. Process outlines the video production, providing a scaffold to inspire users for creating their own content. Curriculum Links includes reference to Australian Curriculum content descriptions and invites comments from users regarding ideas for use of the resource, which may encourage interactivity between educators to consider ideas.

screenshot for part C_5screenshot processscreenshot curriculum

My previous study for INF530 led me to examine optimal settings for creative learning (see my digital essay here); I learnt that the overlap of content areas can be the spark for creativity. This has been the case for me in my own story development, where the intersection of needs and ideas combined to elicit a creative response.  Considering this perspective, my recommendations for the use of my digital story could involve hybrid curriculum experiences or at least, simultaneous curriculum content across disciplines to provide holistic, meaningful connections between factors related to the global refugee crisis.

In a breakdown of curriculum areas, as outlined in Curriculum Links, the content relates to the Arts, English, Humanities and in some contexts, Religious Education. There is scope to explore text types, literacy and conventions (Darnton, 2009), as well as create a response in English; study the social, political, psychological and cultural contexts and complexities through Humanities and Social Sciences; analyse artistic value and create content inspired by the resource through the Arts and investigate the teachings of religion and relevant Church leaders in schools that study Religion. Many schools also include service learning programs (volunteering etc.) and the resource could be used as stimulation for a program in support of refugees.

Things That Matter, particularly if used in combination with other recommended content, could allow opportunities for the development of a range of literacy skills, encompassed as multimodal literacy (Walsh, 2010). It combines image, text and audio to interact with multiple senses (Lamb, 2011), allowing critical thought about both process and content (Malita and Martin, 2010). The resource could be used to demonstrate the “iPed model” described by Mills (2011), where the “link, challenge, cocreate, share” (2011) sequence could be investigated prior to students creating their own content using the same scaffold. This transition from critical analysis to production may encourage the development of a range of skills in a rigourous learning process (Dockter, Haug & Lewis, 2010). Considering “phase space” (Unsworth, 2006, p.29) creative activities is a viable option; asking ‘what if …’ questions regarding the intervals between the sequences, or before and after possibilities could provide scope for phase space work.

A range of digital tools were used in the production of the resource. Whilst some of the software would require training, the process may provide ideas for students’ own digital content creation, focusing not on the tools, but on the skills of meaningful narrative communication (Rosenthal Tolisano, 2015). Perhaps an ideal use of Things That Matter could be as inspiration for a collaborative project where elements of a digital resource are created and collated across curriculum boundaries.

This array of possibilities allows scope for choice, based on school determined needs or focus areas as well as the opportunity to structure options that will suit different learning styles and strengths (Kingsley, 2007).

References

 

 

 

 

Digital Story Proposal

Proposed title – “Things That Matter”

Year 9 students at my school will be doing a refugee immersion experience towards the end of the year where they will participate in a camp and experience what it might be like to be processed as a refugee and be part of a processing centre. It is designed to develop empathy and compassion and provides a series of opportunities for personal and team growth. Around this challenging experience, we have built curriculum content in a range of areas including Religious Education, English and SOSE. We have collated a range of resources to use, including the website “How Far We’ve Come” that I used for my digital literature review and the incredible SBS story resource, “The Boat”. The story I plan to create could become another digital story resource.

My school has iPads as the student device, so I need to create something that works on iPad and is freely available. I am planning to create a story most likely using Adobe After Effects (if I can brush up my skills) or as a fallback, either iMovie or Moovly. It will then be shared on Youtube and the link provided for students to access.

I would like to parallel the experience of a child in the first world with those of a child in a war torn area. The topical events of the Syrian refugee crisis are a main source of inspiration for me and align with the content we are already planning to deliver in the school curriculum.

I will hand draw a series of images – for each of which I will use Photoshop to adjust and create a transformation from first world to third. The images will overlay and transition from first to third world as one fades out (or maybe glitches) over the other. Text will play on the screen and will fall off the screen and be replaced by a second line as the story transitions. If I can create good enough sound recordings I will use audio to enhance the story as well.

I am also inspired by a combination of other texts and resources. Australian picture book artist, Jeannie Baker created a print story, Mirror that parallels the experience of an Australian child with a child growing up in Morocco. I studied Shaun Tan’s Rules of Summer for my Literature review and was inspired by the idea of creating a book that is seemingly for young children, but where the content is better suited to an older audience. An additional purpose is the opportunity to explore and think through images, text and audio, thus developing visual literacy (Hall, 2012). A largely visual experience may also create an emotive response as young people are likely to empathise with the story – having experienced first world, and regularly hearing about third world events.

I have written a series of text lines to use including the following examples; the first line will transition to the second:

Tonight I saw the fireworks. Even though each cracker was so loud the colours were so pretty.
Tonight a bomb hit a few streets from my home. It lit up the sky and fires burnt all night.
Sometimes I wish I had more space in my bedroom. I can’t fit all of my jackets in the wardrobe.
After the bomb, we gave our spare clothes to survivors and now I share my room. 
References
Baker, J. (2015) Jeannie Baker. Retrieved from http://www.jeanniebaker.com
Hall, T. (2012). Digital renaissance: The creative potential of narrative technology in education. Creative Education. 3(1). 96-100. Retrieved from SciRes http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ce.2012.31016
Tan, S. (2015). Shaun Tan – rules of summer. Retrieved from http://www.rulesofsummer.com.au/

Digital Literature Review PART B: Critical Reflection of Digital Literature Experiences

What makes a good digital text? The Electronic Literature Organization defines electronic literature as “works with important literary aspects that take advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer” (2015). This definition generates a further question; what are ‘important literary aspects’? To be more than just literature in a digital environment, a good digital text must supersede the conventions of text alone (Simanowski, 2011). James and De Kock refer to the capacity for tablets and new devices to amplify the reading experience and provide a greater depth of insight (2013). Considering this capacity, a good digital text is one where navigation is logical and seamless and the reader is able to experience the story or information in a digitally enhanced, rich media format (Sadokierski, 2013). As with its print counterpart, a quality piece of digital literature should be enjoyable and engaging; but should add an immersive, sensory experience not afforded by a print version, making use of technology to enhance the reading experience (Jabr, 2013). Our definitions of good digital literature and consideration of its affordances should be fluid as it continues to evolve (Ciccoricco, 2012).

My personal experience of reading digital content as opposed to printed text has evolved over time and aligns with Jabr’s assertion that the human brain’s capacity to cope with digital content will adapt depending on factors including experience (2013). As my experience and exposure to digital text has increased, I have become more adept at both reading and working with digital content. I am hopeful that my brain is making the transition defined by Maryanne Wolf from a reading to a digital brain (Cull, 2011). However, the experience of owning texts is nostalgic and important to me as to many others (Sadokierski, 2013), leading me to buy a printed copy of the Shaun Tan book, Rules of Summer (one of my three reviewed examples of digital literature) in addition to the iPad application.

The iPad and iPhone application, Rules of Summer is the text that most engaged me in the process of my reviews. As discussed in my Part A review, the application provides a platform to explore visual communication without an overload of text in a manner that directs and extends the user’s immersion with the content beyond the print counterpart. The custom-composed audio soundtrack and subtle illumination of some elements add to the multi-sensory experience, and a sense of anticipation and suspense is generated by viewing the lines of text prior to opening their visual accompaniment. The capacity to zoom in to the detail of the artworks and examine the additional content extends the application’s affordances. Whilst the teachers’ guide indicates use with a young audience (Rules of summer, 2013), the implied themes are quite dark and so the text may be best suited to a teenage audience. Although limited by its Apple only edition, Rules of Summer has considerable capacity to be explored and analysed in the middle school curriculum, particularly for subjects including English, visual arts and media arts.

I intend to use this resource with my Year 8 Media Arts class. The Australian Curriculum Media Arts Achievement Standard for Years 7 and 8 requires students to explore the representation of values and points of view in media artworks and to explore media conventions and symbolism to create meaning (Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority (ACARA), 2015). Ideally a comparative exploration of the printed text with the iPad application will allow students to scrutinise the different versions (Darnton, 2009) and develop their own understanding of the capacity for a digital media product to enhance the representation of ideas and viewpoints. This may form an inspirational preliminary study for students to create their own digital story, using a combination of selected image, text and audio to communicate ideas and create meaning in their own work. There is sufficient scope provided by the open-ended nature of the text for what Margaret Mackey terms, “Phase Space” (Unsworth, 2006, p.29) activities; where students may, for example, create their own ‘rules’ story or prepare content for an imagined sequel. The price of the application, whilst not high in itself at $7.49AUD, could prohibit purchase for a school library or network; however, in iOS or Mac OS contexts, the app could be purchased for a set of devices and rotational activities to compare to a print edition would be a viable curriculum option.

Creating their own digital stories makes use of platforms that are familiar to most young people (Edmondson, 2012) and allows learners to take ownership and represent their identity using multiple senses; thus transforming what was once a ‘broadcast technology’ into an ‘everyday technology’ where creative possibilities and new ways of thinking emerge (The new literacies, 2013). It is also a valuable opportunity to develop skills in discerning the value of their own created content in the editing process (EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, 2007).

 

References

Australian curriculum and reporting authority (ACARA). (2015). The arts. Retrieved from australian curriculum: http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/the-arts/introduction

Ciccoricco, D. (2012). Digital fiction : networked narratives. In J. G. Bray, The routledge companion to experimental literature (pp. 469-482). London: Routledge.

Cull, B. W. (2011). Reading revolutions: online digital text and implications for reading in academe. First Monday, 16(6).

Darnton, R. (2009). Chapter 2 the information landscape . In R. Darnton, The case for books (pp. 21-41). New York: PublicAffairs.

Edmondson, E. (2012, March). Wiki literature circles: Creating digital learning communities. English journal, high school edition, 101(4), 43-49.

EDUCAUSE learning initiative. (2007, January). 7 things you should know about… Digital storytelling. Retrieved from Educause: https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7021.pdf

Electronic literature organization. (2015). Retrieved from http://eliterature.org/what-is-e-lit/

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/reading-paper-screens/

James, R., & De Kock, L. (2013). The digital david and the gutenberg goliath: the rise of the ‘enhanced’e-book. English academy review, 30(1), 107-123.

Learning 2030: From books to screen. (2013, October 4). Retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=215NPpHsQPk&feature=youtu.be

Rettberg, J. W. (2012). Electronic literature seen from a distance: the beginnings of a field. Retrieved from http://www.dichtung-digital.org/2012/41/walker-rettberg.htm

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

Simanowski, S. (2011). Digital art and meaning : Reading kinetic poetry, text machines, mapping art, and interactive installations. University of Minnesota Press.

Tan, S. (2015). Shaun Tan – rules of summer. Retrieved from http://www.rulesofsummer.com.au/

The new literacies. (2013, September 27). Retrieved from ForaTV: http://library.fora.tv/2013/09/22/the_new_literacies

Unsworth, L. (2006). Learning through web contexts of book-based literary narratives. In E-literature for children: Enhancing digital literacy learning (p. Ch. 3). Oxford UK: Routledge.

 

 

Digital Literature Review: Rules of Summer

       2015-08-29 16.53.12

Rules of Summer is an application currently priced at $7.49AUD on the AppStore on iTunes and is designed for iPad and iPhone. It is a ‘digital derivative’ (We are wheelbarrow, 2015) of the printed book created by renowned Australian author and artist, Shaun Tan, available in eleven languages (Rules of Summer application, 2013). The application was released alongside the print edition and was created by the Australian-based production company, Wheelbarrow.

This application is not overloaded with hyperlinks or embedded content that may distract (Lamb, 2011) and prevent true immersion (James & De Kock, 2013); rather its simplicity allows a fluid combination of text and artwork to create a cohesive, multi-sensory digital literature experience (Simanowski, 2011, p.28). Navigation through the app is relatively simple, although the prompts are visual rather than textual – a leaping graphic must be tapped to enter a page – consequently readers must decipher the visual cues to navigate. These elements align with the story, where one must self-navigate both the space and interpret the underlying themes and intentions.

IMG_0066

Screen shot from Rules of Summer – text page

The digital application affords considerably more than the printed counterpart alone. The print version involves a double page layout with text on the left and image on the right, where the application enters an immersion into the image pages after their text counterpart. The creators have directed each page to open at a selected zoom, directing the viewer to encounter one element of each page in closeup, before the choice to scan the remainder and pinch out to view the page in its entirety. The capacity to pan and zoom in and out of each image allows an interaction with the original artwork that might otherwise only be possible in a gallery context. In contrast to the concerns expressed by Ziming Liu that screen reading reduces a sustained interaction (2005), the slow reveal of a Rules of Summer page may encourage a deeper interaction with the visual narrative than the printed counterpart.

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Screen shots from Rules of Summer – text page (with links to other pages), opening zoom and full image

Each page features a subtle soundtrack composed by New York composer Sxip Shirey. The composition is described as ‘otherworldly’ (We are wheelbarrow, 2015) and is an eerie accompaniment to the uncertain story that each page involves. Some pages include an illuminated digital element, the flashing of a red rabbit eye, a blinking robotic light, flashing light from a television screen all add a further surreal, digitised element to this version.

Tan did not originally design his content to be a linear story; rather, in a seemingly reversed process from other narratives, he produced a series of artworks that he later sequenced to form a series of associated concepts (Rules of summer, 2013). The titles of the paintings have become the text for each page, providing opportunities for reverse exphrasis (Skaines, 2010) whereby images give meaning to words. The lack of linearity lends itself to the structure of a digital text, where although it is composed in a linear sequence, the app allows the reader to choose pages with which to interact from a menu of icons that pop up at the base of the screen.

The Rules of Summer application is extended by additional content; including a sketch edition and journal gallery, revealed once the initial interaction is complete. The unanticipated extra content seems like a privileged insight into the creative process of the author and artist in the production of his work. Following this investigation, it is also possible to reset the application and enjoy the revelation of the content in its entirety again. An extensive website supports this text and includes a series of interviews with the author as well as a teacher’s guide. The website is a useful resource and the video interviews shed significant light on Tan’s creative genius; however, it is designed to support the text in general rather than specifically the application.

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Screen shots from Rules of Summer journal – full screen and zoom

Ambiguity about Tan’s target audience is a factor questioned by reviewers including Catherine Ford (2013), although Tan himself has indicated his texts are not designed with children in mind (2015). The teacher guide (Rules of summer, 2013) indicates use with a young audience; however, the dark themes, series of ominous warnings, overwhelming spaces and eerie soundtrack may make this text more suited to a middle school audience. Study of the text using the application would be most suitable for English, visual arts and media arts, as it affords an extensive investigation of visual communication and literacy. Although access to the application is limited by its availability through Apple devices alone.

The Rules of Summer application is a visually sumptuous digital text, easy to navigate and for which all elements interrelate cohesively (Lamb, 2011) to provide an immersive, enhanced, multi-sensory experience.

References

James, R., & De Kock, L. (2013). The digital david and the gutenberg goliath: the rise of the ‘enhanced’ e-book. English Academy Review, 30(1), 107-123.

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

Liu, Z. (2005). Reading behavior in the digital environment: Changes in reading behavior over the past ten years. Journal of Documentation, 61(6), 700-712.

Rules of summer. (2013). Retrieved from Hachette children’s books: http://www.rulesofsummer.com.au/#!home

Rules of Summer application. (2013). Retrieved from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/rules-of-summer/id705751146?mt=8

Shirey, S. (2010). Sxip Shirey. Retrieved from http://www.sxipshirey.com/

Skaines, 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

Tan, S. (2015). Retrieved from Sauntan.net: http://www.shauntan.net/

We are wheelbarrow. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.wearewheelbarrow.com/home/

 

 

 

Digital Literature Review: How Far We’ve Come

HFWC cover page

How Far We’ve Come entry page screenshot

 

How Far We’ve Come is a website produced by SBS in partnership with the Refugee Council of Australia for Refugee Week, 2010. The site was designed by Mathematics and built by GEA-Interactive. It includes a series of nine stories, for which SBS housed archived footage. The archived stories relate to the original settlement of a series of unrelated individuals and families, seeking asylum in Australia from a range of nations. Each story contains ‘then’ and ‘now’ content, using old footage to show the historical setting for each story and give context to the original plight of each person as they transitioned to life in Australia. The title of the site is one that emphasises hope, pride and triumph over serious adversity.

HFWC screen1   HFWC home page

How Far We’ve Come  homepage story screenshots 

The How Far We’ve Come homepage links to the nine featured stories; a rollover of each icon provides a visual and auditory preview. It also includes links to varied additional material designed to further educate about the enormity of the asylum seeker dilemma. The site makes extensive use of multi-sensory elements, including video, audio recording, photographs and illustration. It also includes textual information to support the primary evidence of the personal stories. Visually, the site is designed to look as though created by hand; the type, illustration and crumpled paper background adding a further sense of authenticity to the personal nature of the storytelling.

Lamb contends that non-linear engagement with content can compromise comprehension (Lamb, 2011). In this instance, the homepage does not indicate an obvious linear modality; site users may be most likely to start with the story for which the preview is most personally meaningful. However, the individual story pages are visually composed to suggest an ordered investigation; text hyperlinks are usually weighted by position and size, making it more likely (but not necessary) for users to start with ‘then’ and progress to ‘now’ before viewing the factsheets. The site layout is well-ordered and movement around the various aspects is user-friendly. These considerations afford a meaningful investigation of the content to enhance comprehension.

HFWC screen2    HFWC then now.fw

How Far We’ve Come  full story page and close-up screenshots

There is significant value in this example of digital literature as an educational resource; the content aligns with Lamb’s proposition that today’s learners want information they can see and hear as well as read (2011). The site layering provides choice, affording the user ownership of their own learning (Learning 2030: From Books to Screen, 2013). Superficial investigation is possible, however the multi-sensory preview for each story sparks curiosity to delve further. Sufficient depth of information is supplied to inform the user about the refugee experience, as well as the historical context and modern day situation of the subject’s people.

The use of the archived footage set in a new context provides new life for the original stories, allowing preservation and a review of an older resource (Darnton, 2009). The blend of a range of text types (video, photograph, text, audio, illustration) and the reality inherent in the video footage as a primary source (Fuhler, 2010), allow users of the site to engage empathetically, where perhaps the alternative of a printed transcript would be unlikely to elicit the same response. It may also be more accessible for students challenged by reading, as they may interpret meaning through the video and images (Fuhler, 2010).

Leu identifies that adolescents can lack the skills to find and evaluate quality sources (2011). The use of an online source is a good opportunity for students to consider source validity. Student investigation of SBS, their market, sponsors and potential bias would form a valuable counter-discussion to the believable nature of the content. Critical reflection may assist students develop their digital and media literacy (Mills & Levido, 2011).

The site is freely available, making this content broadly accessible; however, the use of Flash and motion graphics is not supported on mobile or tablet devices. Consequently, the use of the resource may be limited and digital preservation of the content may be compromised as Flash is phased out across many device platforms (Albanesius, 2011). Where use of the resource is afforded, How Far We’ve Come has significant potential for use in a range of curriculum areas. It is relevant for studies including (but not limited to) the humanities and social sciences, English as well as visual and media arts. The content in some cases is confronting and may therefore be best suited to a student audience of Year 9 and above, although it is in no way indicated that the site is designed for, or limited to, use in a formal educational setting. It may be just as useful to a broader adult audience as a resource to raise understanding and empathy.

Darnton contends that the feel of a book can indicate its status and value (2009); likewise the sophistication of a digital resource can testify to its quality. How Far We’ve Come is a well-designed and comprehensive digital resource, offering a unique insight into the refugee experience over time.

References

Albanesius, C. (2011, November 12). Apple’s rejection spurred demise of flash player for mobile web. Retrieved from PC mag: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2396314,00.asp

Darnton, R. (2009). Chapter 2 the information landscape . In R. Darnton, The case for books (pp. 21-41). New York: PublicAffairs.

Fuhler, C. J. (2010). Using primary-source documents and digital storytelling as a catalyst for writing historical fiction in the fourth grade. In &. D. B. Moss, Teaching new literacies in grades 4-6: Resources for 21st-century classrooms (pp. 136-150). New York: Guilford Press.

How far we’ve come. (2010). Retrieved from SBS: http://www.sbs.com.au/refugees/

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/reading-paper-screens/

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

Learning 2030: From books to screen. (2013, October 4). Retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=215NPpHsQPk&feature=youtu.be

Leu, D. J. (2011). The new literacies of online reading comprehension: Expanding the literacy and learning curriculum. Journal of adolescent & adult literacy, 55(1), 5-14. doi:10.1598

Mills, K. A., & Levido, A. (2011). iPed: pedagogy for digital text production. The reading teacher, 65(1), 80-91. doi:10.1598/RT.65.1.11

Refugee council of Australia. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/

Refugee council of Australia. (2015). Refugee week. Retrieved from http://www.refugeeweek.org.au/

 

 

Digital Literature Review: Green Gables Fables

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.

References

AnneWithAnE. (2015). The past: A poem. Retrieved from Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxChYYKJmdc

Edmondson, E. (2012, March). Wiki literature circles: Creating digital learning communities. English journal, high school edition, 101(4), 43-49.

Green gables fables. (2015). Retrieved from Anne of greeen gables wiki: http://anneofgreengables.wikia.com/wiki/Green_Gables_Fables

Green gables fables. (2015). Retrieved from Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCU_VLBr2HCEkmVJbnBsMSXg

Green gables fables. (2015). Retrieved from Twitter: https://twitter.com/GGFables?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

greengablesfables. (2015). Retrieved from Instagram: https://instagram.com/greengablesfables/

James, R., & De Kock, L. (2013). The digital david and the gutenberg goliath: the rise of the ‘enhanced’e-book. English Academy Review, 30(1), 107-123.

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

Ramaswami, R. (2010, June/July). Nothing to lol about. THE journal, 37(6), 24-30.

Skaines, 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

Storify Green Gables Fables. (2015). Retrieved from https://storify.com/GGFables

The GGF story club . (2015). Retrieved from Tumblr: http://ggfstoryclub.tumblr.com/about

Trotter, M., Whitson, A., & Harmon, M. (2015). Green Gables Fables. Retrieved from http://www.greengablesfables.com/

Unsworth, L. (2006). Learning through web contexts of book-based literary narratives. In In E-literature for children: Enhancing digital literacy learning (p. Ch. 3). Oxford UK: Routledge.

Valenza, J. K., & Stephens, W. (2012). Reading Remixed. Educational Leadership, 69(6), 75-78.

Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment. In L. M. (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers (p. Ch. 13). Marrickville: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).

Wikipedia. (2015). Wikipedia anne of green gables. Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_of_Green_Gables

 

 

INF533 Assignment One – Reflection

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Our 2015 students are a different breed to those I started teaching 20 years ago. The increasingly digital world has evolved at such a fast and furious rate and I am very aware of the need for me as an educator to do my utmost to keep abreast of change. I am excited to see in the Module 1 readings, the considerable scope to blend and integrate my beloved visual communication methods (art and design) with technology and multimedia to tell stories and communicate ideas.

My recent move from a traditional, 50 year old school to a very new school has been a sudden immersion for me into the world of digital reading and online teaching resources. This new and evolving professional context has some unique challenges. We have no library or teacher librarian (controversial I know!), no text books, few other printed resources and a limited resource budget. Our students have iPads across the school and for these reasons, we are very interested in low-cost digital literature options, whether the linear e-book or the more interactive ‘Inanimate Alice‘ style multimedia online content. As teachers we are spending inordinate amounts of time, searching for appropriate resource content online, to be the curators of information discussed in Learning 2030: From books to screen. We are most certainly co-learning digital discernment skills alongside our students. Despite the challenges, we are likely to engage with exciting new possibilities as we are so very determined to engage our learners and to turn challenge into success. Our context does not provide the opportunity to slip back to old pedagogy or dated resources and so we are constantly in the beta mode recommended by Michelle Cordy in Learning 2030.

This is entirely new territory for me and what sold me about studying INF533 (when I was ready to withdraw and have a break) was that the unit content is so relevant.  I am teaching Information Technology, Media and a Religious Education unit that revolves around the Old Testament and I have quickly realised that INF533 is both likely to inspire me with interesting and creative thinking for each class I am teaching, as well as enable me to test out some methods to create rather than just consume digital literature. I have already interwoven some of our reading content into my classes and sparked discussion with Year 9s – Do iPads supersede books? When and how should we question content? How do we know if information is reliable? Can fiction change reality? How might we be creators and not just consumers?

As a Graphic Design teacher, I am proficient in using and teaching illustration, photo editing and layout software and can adequately use motion graphics and video editing. A flick back through my previous blog posts and last semester’s study choices for INF530 will attest that I am very interested in driving the use of technology to create and not just consume; however the possibilities for creating the kind of interactive content that the reading has inspired so far, is outside of my current skill set.

One of the truly exciting things about the Module 1 content is the indication that digital literature is moving away from simply an electronic replacement for traditional materials and more possibilities are emerging to augment traditional reading and story creation with interactive and creative media possibilities. Developing creative thinkers, adept at flexibly adapting to new media is inevitably the future of education and I am excited by possibilities to learn more myself to charge my ability to drive this direction in my professional context.

Image attribution: Flickr photo Wall-e reading by Yon Garin. Shared under Creative Commons licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

References

Darnton, R. (2009). The Case for Books. New York: PublicAffairs

Fora TV. (2013, September 27). The new literacies | Clive Thompson [Video file]. Retrieved from http://fora.tv/2013/09/22/the_new_literacies

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

Web.mit.edu,. ‘The Gutenberg Parenthesis’. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 July 2015.

Wise, J. (n.d.). How fiction can change reality | TED-Ed [Video file]. Retrieved from http://ed.ted.com/lessons/jessica-wise-how-fiction-can-change-reality#watch

Yokota, J. & Teale, W. H. (2014). Picture books and the digital world: educators making informed choices. The Reading Teacher, 34(6). Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/3886534/Picture_Books_and_the_Digital_World_Educators_ Making_Informed_Choices

YouTube,. ‘Learning 2030: From Books To Screen’. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 July 2015.

 

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