ETL 512 Professional Reflective Portfolio

Part A: Statement of personal philosophy

An effective teacher librarian (TL) is an innovative educator who is passionate about information resources and life-long learning. They have a strong advocacy voice, demonstrating leadership and fostering valuable working relationships with all members of the school community. A successful TL is an information professional who embraces technology and drives the development of student information literacy. Through a solid understanding of educational theory and the curriculum, a TL collaborates to facilitate the development of student knowledge, understanding and skills. They create a rich and welcoming library environment that operates as a centre for learning within the heart of the school.

Part B: Learning themes

Theme 1: Leadership

Early on in this course I completed ETL 504 Teacher librarian as leader and attempted to visually represent the leadership roles of the TL within the school in a concept map. Whilst I was able to identify a variety of leadership styles that a TL might assume within their role, I greatly underestimated all of the connections that a TL has within the school community and their leadership of these as seen in Figure 1 (Linquist, personal communication, August 23, 2019). What became clear to me through this process, and in reflecting on the feedback, was that often these connections or partnerships don’t just happen organically. Invariably it is the TL who must lead this, forging collaboration and promoting their role and the library within the school community. Professional commitment as a TL involves the demonstration of leadership within school and related expert communities (Australian Library and Information Association (ASLA), 2004). This leadership offers opportunities for the TL to advocate for, and demonstrate the significance of their expertise and the overall importance of the library to the community. When the TL demonstrates leadership there is an opportunity to make an impact on student outcomes and also highlight the significance of their role to the entire school community (Long & Jones, 2016).

Figure 1: My concept map for ETL 504 Teacher librarian as leader (Linquist, personal communication, August 23, 2019).

I gained great insight into my own leadership capabilities in completing the Group work case studies which were part of ETL 504. In my blog post (Linquist, 2019c) I reflected on how my understanding of leadership and collaboration grew through this case study process. I naturally found myself taking on the responsibility of group organiser and initiated contact and interactions with members. I acknowledged that sometimes a leader emerges through necessity, and as a consequence of analysing the nature of the situation and tasks at hand. Through this process of collaboration with peers I was able to experience group dynamics and navigate through some hurdles. I came to appreciate that collaborating with others can sometimes be challenging, but that establishing clear roles, responsibilities and goals is essential. It made me more aware that leadership as a TL will entail carefully managing a multitude of working relationships.

As part of my role as a classroom teacher, inspired by my study of this course, I was able to collaborate with the school’s TL to develop a research guide for students. An example of what was produced can be seen in Figure 2 (personal communication, November, 2019). The TL took leadership of the creation of this research guide by initiating a process of consultation with staff and students. I was part of the team who trialled its implementation with classes across year groups, but the TL led the organisational process. Additionally, they were responsible for obtaining and analysing the feedback from this initial implementation process. The feedback was then carefully considered and amendments made to ensure that it achieved its purpose of supporting student research. It was evident from the leadership of this process, that the TL was passionate about making a difference to student learning. Furthermore, the collaboration process served a dual purpose as it also promoted the work of the library and its staff to the community. I was able to see the value of a TLs work and their leadership of projects designed to assist teaching and learning through the lens of a teacher (but one who is also studying teacher librarianship).

Figure 2: Draft school research framework checklist (personal communication, November, 2019).

During my work placement I was fortunate enough to shadow JMC Academy’s National library Manager and witness her leadership of the library staff and facilities. I was able to see how she drove collaborative partnerships with teaching staff. I also saw how she led the process of adapting to technological changes to facilitate student learning. One of the projects that she was leading was the Academy’s implementation of a library remote help desk. This was in response to the ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and the greater utilisation of remote learning. This project involved her hosting numerous meetings with the Academy’s Information Technology department to articulate its operational requirements. When I arrived at my work placement I was quite surprised to see how small the physical library space was as seen in Figure 3 (Linquist, 2022). However, the National Library Manager explained that she had just led a major refurbishment of the space and downsizing of the physical shelving space. This is in response to the changing information environment whereby online access to library resources, such as databases and e-books is increasingly commonplace. This highlighted to me that as a TL it is vitally important to not only embrace technological changes but to lead their implementation in an educational environment.

Figure 3: Part of JMC Academy Library (Photograph).

Theme 2: Resourcing and supporting the curriculum

In completing this course, I have gained an appreciation of the significant role that a TL plays within the education environment, and particularly in resourcing the curriculum. An effective TL has knowledge of the curriculum, educational theory and student learning needs. Excellent teacher librarians have a thorough knowledge of literacy, literature, the curriculum and specific school programs (ASLA, 2004). Prior to my engagement in this course, and despite having taught in a number of schools, my interactions with the TLs over the years had been very limited. As a classroom teacher I tended to view the library and its staff as a separate entity operating independently from my work as a teacher. However, through this course I have gained a better appreciation of the pivotal role that the library and its expert staff play within the educational sphere. As a classroom teacher I had underestimated the valuable expertise of the TL in terms of supporting information literacy and resourcing the curriculum. My learning inspired me to collaborate more with the TL in supporting and resourcing my teaching. I was able to see first-hand, as a classroom teacher, how an information professional’s expertise and knowledge of information resources enhances teaching and learning. What I have gained from these collaborative experiences will inform my future work to ensure I am an effective TL. It will drive me to establish strong partnerships with teachers to assist in resourcing the curriculum.

As a classroom teacher I have come to embrace a better working relationship with the TL at my school to support my teaching practice. In my blog post (Linquist, 2019b) I mentioned that any time I have collaborated with the TL to resource my teaching, the students’ learning has been enriched. Evidence of this was seen in teaching the history topic Australians at War to a year 9 class where I decided to incorporate picture books into the teaching program. This was inspired by the subject ETL 402 Literature across the Curriculum. I consulted with the TL to use their expertise in deciding which picture books would be the most appropriate for the students in my class. Two of the picture books recommended were The happiness box: a wartime book of hope by Mark Greenwood and Anzac Biscuits by Phil Cummings and Owen Swan. These picture books were a great platform that generated valuable discussion of the course content.

The TL at my school had expert knowledge of information resources available online that also encouraged me to incorporate more technology into my teaching. She was able to steer me in the direction of some good interactive resources to use in the classroom. One such resource that was recommended by her for a year 9 History class learning about World War II was Junko’s story (SBS Australia, n.d.). This recommendation was valuable as the age and gender of the author at the time of the events was similar to the students in the class. The positive student responses to resources that were recommended by the TL highlighted to me the value that can be gained through this collaboration in resourcing the curriculum. It prompted me to collaborate further with the TL for resources on the history topic Migration Experiences.

The collaboration with my school’s TL led me to utilise the school’s Library Management System Oliver, and in particular LearnPath. The TL demonstrated how to use LearnPath and provided me with further guidance regarding its resources. This gave me the confidence to explore it further and led to me using some ancient Egypt resources with my year 7 history classes as can be seen in Figure 4 (Oliver Domremy College, n.d). As I found these resources beneficial, I then worked with the TL to present this information about the benefits of LearnPath to all staff at a whole school meeting. With the ever-increasing work load of teachers, having easy access to quality resources to support the curriculum is essential. Having a TL that has in depth knowledge of the curriculum and resources to support it is invaluable.

Figure 4: Year 7 history LearnPath Ancient Egypt (Screenshot).

During my work placement, I was able to experience working on the other side of the collaboration partnership, this time as a TL. This involved working closely with teaching staff at the Academy to support their resourcing of the courses they were delivering. In doing this, my task was to develop a subject guide that provided their students with information about specific learning resources, their availability and how to access them through the library. My task was to also consider if there were other resources available through the library that would be beneficial to their learning. This subject guide was then made available to the students through the Academy’s learning management system see Figure 5 (JMC Academy, 2022). This was then promoted to other teaching staff and was very well received. Experience has shown that once a school librarian’s collaboratively planning with classroom teachers is publicised it leads to further successful planning partnerships (Bishop, 2011). It led to further collaborations with staff regarding supporting their resourcing of the curriculum. It reinforced to me that people often lack awareness regarding the valuable work that TLs do to support the curriculum and learning. To be a responsive and effective TL it is imperative to forge partnerships to resource teaching and learning in the educational environment.

Figure 5: JMC Academy Plato Design – Visual Communication subject guide (Screenshot).

Theme 3: The Library as a learning hub

Prior to commencing this course, I had a very one-dimensional view of the function and purpose of a school library’s physical spaces. I primarily saw the library as a place where students go to read and borrow books. In reality I knew that there was much more to it than that, but it took me completing this course to really unpack its true value as a community learning hub.

A school library’s physical space is dynamic, welcoming, diverse, rich and educational. From puzzles, to origami making, to mindfulness activities such as colouring in, and reader’s clubs, the library offers many opportunities for learning that address diverse student educational needs and psychological wellbeing. The learning that occurs within this space is multifaceted and cross-curricular, addressing some of the Australian curriculum’s general capabilities such as critical and creative thinking. The general capabilities are important in developing students’ ability to live and work in the twenty-first century (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2021). One of the things that I did as part of my learning in this course was to work with the TL at my school to enhance the school library’s operation as a diverse learning hub. An example of some of the activities that were offered can be seen in Figure 6, an email I sent to the school community (Linquist, personal communication, December, 2019). It became evident to me through these activities that the library is able to offer a learning space for things that may not be appropriate in the classroom space. Furthermore, these activities offer a variety of different social interactions for students. These social interactions can also enhance student literacy and numeracy. Additionally, they also assist with the development of their verbal communication skills and further support classroom learning.

Figure 6: Activities on offer in the Library learning hub (Screenshot)

In my blog post (Linquist, 2019a) I indicated that in my view a well-functioning library is the heart of the school and can bring the entire school community together for many different reasons. I also mentioned that for some students a welcoming library is a haven that offers them solace and comfort (Linquist, 2019a). This rich welcoming space can be achieved through comfortable furniture, intriguing signage and stimulating visual displays. Furthermore, an effective TL can help to achieve this richness by modifying the environment in response to specific themes such as Book Week. This also helps to promote the school library as a dynamic and responsive learning space that is constantly changing.

One of the other key roles that the library plays in education is in embracing and facilitating information technology and digital storytelling. Offering opportunities for students to explore the digital world within the library is invaluable. Many students may not have access to such technology at home, so the school library becomes a place for access to this in a safe and monitored environment. In my blog post (Linquist, 2021) I indicated some of the benefits of digital storytelling, including the utilisation of a range of features not afforded to printed texts, that make them more appealing to the senses.

Makerspaces have become a popular inclusion in many contemporary school libraries. The addition of a makerspace affords opportunities for innovative learning, and an avenue for individual expression ensuring that libraries are seen as cultural and creative community hubs (Willingham & deBoer 2015). Makerspaces are also an opportunity for staff to utilise another space that can extend learning to outside of the classroom. I have seen science teaching staff using the library makerspace for students to work on producing models during lunch time. Furthermore, I have seen design and technology staff successfully using this space for jewellery making with students. One of the most significant yet secondary benefits of a makerspace is that it promotes the library to the whole school community. In particular, it highlights its role as an educational space for diverse and interesting learning opportunities. To be an effective TL it is important to ensure that the school library is seen as a welcoming and rich teaching and learning environment for all members of the school community.

Part C: Evaluation

This course has provided me with the educational theory pertinent to the work of a TL. The extensive information I have studied has reinforced to me the expertise that a TL has and how their role within the educational sphere is great and varied. What I appreciate is that my knowledge and skills are still in the fledgling stage, and will continue to develop as my journey progresses. The fact that this course had so many electives highlights that the work of a TL is so diverse. Furthermore, with the elective choices restricted to choosing only two, I know that I will need to continue my learning in areas where my knowledge can be further enriched. One of the areas where I know that my learning will be ongoing is in the area of digital citizenship. As this is such a rapidly changing landscape, it will be essential to keep abreast of these technological changes as an information professional.

This course provided me with a greater appreciation of the central role that the library plays within the school community. What I have learned through this course is that the TL is the driver of how significant this role is to the community. My attitude towards the significance of the library to the school community has changed. I now understand that as a professional TL my role will be of fundamental importance to the teaching and learning within the school.

Despite having gained significant knowledge and skills through studying this course, my work placement taught me that working as a librarian is a whole new experience. It made me appreciate that I still have so much to learn. Although there are many common elements to working as a TL, there are also workplace specific requirements that can only be learnt on the job. Each school has its own mission, values, culture and community which influences the operation of the school library. As a TL it will be necessary to address these individual characteristics and operate accordingly. This will involve carefully analysing the needs of the students and staff and the curriculum at the school. Expert TLs support the needs of the school community by facilitating an information-rich educational environment (ASLA, 2004). As a professional TL it will be important to network to share learning and ideas. An effective TL readily participates in education and library professional networks (ASLA, 2004). I will also endeavour to join my local TL professional network to learn from others and seek help when needed.

Life-long learning is an important aspect of working as a TL due to the ever-changing technological landscape. As an information professional, it will be important to promote life-long learning within the school community, including my own. To demonstrate professional commitment, TLs should model and promote life-long learning (ASLA, 2004). This professional commitment will also involve me continuing my process of education by attending professional development sessions to continually update my knowledge and skills. Although I have learnt so much through this course journey, I’m also looking forward to the challenges and ongoing learning that lays ahead as I embark on being a TL.


Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2021). Australian Curriculum general capabilities.

Australian Library and Information Association. (2004). ALIA-ASLA standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians.

Bishop, K. (2011). Connecting libraries with classrooms: The curricular roles of the media specialist. ABC-CLIO, LLC.

JMC Academy. (2022). JMC Academy Plato Design – Visual Communication subject guide [Screenshot].

Linquist, D. [dikozlow] (2019a, March 14). The role of the teacher librarian in schools.

Linquist, D. [dikozlow] (2019b, May 22). Discussion forum 4.3 the TL and the curriculum.

Linquist, D. [dikozlow] (2019c, October 5). ETL-504 Part B-Reflection.

Linquist, D. [dikozlow] (2021, August 21). Critical reflection.

Linquist, D. (2022). Part of JMC Academy Library [Photograph].

Long, L. B., & Jones, J. L. (2016). Dispositions of exemplary school librarians as identified by graduate students. Teacher Librarian, 43(4), 8-12.

Oliver Domremy College. (n.d). Year 7 history LearnPath Ancient Egypt [Screenshot].

SBS Australia. (n.d). Junko’s story: surviving Hiroshima’s atomic bomb.

Willingham, T., & deBoer J. (2015). Makerspaces in libraries. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.


Part C: Critical Reflection

At the start of this subject, I thought that I had just commenced my digital literature journey. However, it soon became apparent that I had underestimated the extent of my familiarity with digital literature and my journey had started quite some time ago. In Discussion forum 2.1 I had indicated that my experience was primarily limited to non-fiction narratives, specifically interactive journalism (Linquist, 2021a). I realise now that I had been using digital story telling platforms and tools in my pedagogy and everyday life more broadly than I had initially surmised. I have regularly viewed student PowerPoint and Canva publications, colleagues’ Google slides presentations and a plethora of personal stories through social media. Despite this, what I did lack was breadth of knowledge of the enormous array of digital tools, and a thorough appreciation of their diversity and ready availability. What I did acknowledge was my need to incorporate digital literature more readily into my classroom teaching because of its engaging qualities. In undertaking further reading in preparing for assessment 2, I came across the article by Wright (2019), From Twitterbots to VR: 10 of the best examples of digital literature which provided me with some interesting and diverse examples of digital literature. This opened my eyes more widely to the scope of digital literature, and I instantly felt the need to share examples of what I had discovered with both colleagues, students and my own children.

Through my work in completing the Assessment 2 reviews, I came to an increased understanding of the attributes that make a digital story more appealing and engaging. In Digital Literature Review 1 I identified that the incorporation of sound into the artefact would have added to its appeal (Linquist, 2021e). This enhanced knowledge about the value of media in digital stories was fundamental in guiding me in the creation of my own Digital story project.

In Discussion forum 4 Digital stories and questions in my mind I raised questions about the  increasing willingness of people to share their personal stories on social media (Linquist, 2021b). In response, Walsh (2021) made the point that digital storytelling via TikTok and Instagram have been an important means of communication for her during the COVID lockdowns. This highlighted to me how invaluable and versatile digital technologies are in our world today. The impact of COVID, and my experiences with online learning have reinforced the need to further embrace digital technology in my pedagogy. In Discussion forum 1 Trends in digital literature, I acknowledged that the digital literature landscape is continuously evolving (Linquist, 2021c). As a teacher librarian in training, I came to the realisation that it was imperative that I strongly embrace digital literature and that I stay abreast of the developing trends.

This subject has encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone of using Google slides for my digital storytelling in the classroom. Module 5.1 Digital narrative artefacts highlighted the huge array of tools available to create a digital artefact (Croft et al, 2021). I had not previously created anything using PowToon, and decided to use this for my assessment, to embrace the growth mindset wobble that is promoted at my school. However, in evaluating the process of creating this digital story, I realised how time consuming it was.  The time required to produce a quality artefact may be prohibitive for teachers with their excessive work load. Consequently, this significantly limits my ability to create custom made digital stories designed for the specific needs of students in my classroom. The other factor evident to me from reviewing other people’s artefacts was that I must be willing to accept both peer and student feedback on my own work. This is especially challenging to have others critique your work, but is necessary to ensure modifications and improvements are made as part of ongoing teaching program adjustments.

One of the main areas where my knowledge and understanding was greatly enhanced by this subject and that will have an impact on my teaching practise is in the area of copyright. In Discussion forum 6 Fair Use vs Fair Dealing I indicated that Australia’s Fair Dealing system specifies ways that the use of material does not infringe copyright (Linquist, 2021d). I have never before raised the issue of copyright with students in my classroom. However, this subject has increased my knowledge and understanding about its importance and also given me the confidence to readily incorporate it into my teaching.


Croft, T., Nash, L., O’Connell, J., & Fitzgerald, L. (2021). Module 5: Interactive authoring tools [learning module]. INF533, Interact2.

Linquist, D. (2021a, August 8). 2.1 [Online discussion comment]. Interact 2.

Linquist, D. (2021b, September 12). Digital stories and questions in my mind [Online discussion comment]. Interact 2.

Linquist, D. (2021c, August 1). Trends in digital literature [Online discussion comment]. Interact 2.

Linquist, D. (2021d, September 25). Fair Use vs Fair Dealing [Online discussion comment]. Interact 2.

Linquist, D. [dikozlow](2021e, August 10). Digital literature review 1. Diana’s reflective journal.

 Walsh, R. (2021, September 17). Digital stories and questions in my mind [Online discussion comment]. Interact 2.

 Wright, D. T. H. (2019). From twitterbots to VR: 10 of the best examples of digital literature. The conversation.

PART A: Context for Digital Story Telling Project

The digital story Water and the Murray-Darling Basin is designed for the HSIE subject Geography focusing on the New South Wales Syllabus’ Stage 4 topic ‘Water in the World’. The intended purpose of this story is to address syllabus content utilising an engaging digital tool and material that is relevant to the students. This content includes the importance, use and scarcity of water, and the negative impacts of a hydrological natural hazard (NESA, 2015). The intended audience is a year 8 class of mixed ability students from inner west Sydney. The Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) is relevant for these students as it’s the source of many products that they consume. This digital story is a beneficial addition to the program because of its pedagogical features that support diverse learning needs, the development of geographical knowledge and skills, and for addressing cross-curriculum priorities and general capabilities.

This artefact is designed to enhance student literacy, numeracy and support diverse learning needs. Student literacy is developed through the inclusion of voiceovers utilising words that help to explain geographical terms from the syllabus. The geographical term aesthetic is matched with the more familiar word beautiful. The labelling of images and photographs further facilitates the development of literacy. For example, the geographical term fauna labels the photograph of an animal, and is especially beneficial as a form of literacy support. Media elements can be used to support readers’ thinking and comprehension by highlighting or simplifying important concepts and reinforcing key ideas (Lamb, 2011).

Student enrichment is facilitated by using question prompts that encourage them to delve deeper through further investigation. There are additional opportunities for enrichment stemming from this digital story including class discussions of the contemporary geographical issues of climate change and food security. Student numeracy can be enhanced through accessing and interpreting statistics and graphs that exist as links within the artefact. This can also act as a platform for further developing student numeracy through associated teaching and learning activities such as a classroom based poll related to favourite fruit consumption.

There are many forms of media present within Water and the Murray-Darling Basin designed to engage the user and reinforce key geographical concepts. The use of sound adds to the appeal of the artefact and provides for a more immersive experience. For example, the sound of rain gives it greater authenticity and reinforces rain’s importance. Appropriate sound and music can create an atmosphere and expressively connect to people in a way visuals on their own cannot (Mattka, 2018). Colour is used to help students visualise the story as evident in the use of orange writing when referring to the eating of an orange. Using colours in literature helps to construct a scene to enhance the reader’s ability to envisage and comprehend it (Kumar, 2015). Repetition of symbols (raindrops), and of concepts (eating of the orange and needing the umbrella) is designed to add continuity and familiarity to the story to enhance its relatability. Furthermore, the use of the literary technique of questioning is intended to stimulate student thinking and encourage active learning.

To promote the acquisition of geographical skills, this artefact provides access to a range of geographical tools including the compass, maps, graphs, photographs and statistics. Graphs and statistics, visual representations and maps are geographical tools that students are to be provided opportunities to engage with (NESA, 2015). Photograph interpretation is one example of a geographical skills facilitated through this artefact with the inclusion of comparison photographs of the Maranoa River when full and during drought.

Water and the Murray-Darling Basin can be used to facilitate learning across the curriculum. The cross-curriculum priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures and sustainability are both included within the subject matter of this digital story, and highlight its pedagogical significance. These cross-curriculum priorities encourage students to develop their understanding of and response to contemporary issues (NESA, 2015). This artefact also supports the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) general capability as students navigate through the digital story and its links. Investigating with Information and Communication Technology is one of the elements within the ICT general capability (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, n.d.). This digital tool’s links can also be used to explain the importance of assessing the credibility or reliability of sources of information.

One of the significant advantages of implementing this digital story into the Geography program is that it can be easily modified and customised for future classes or specific students based on their learning needs. Additional links or questions for investigation can be added for an enrichment class, or more images could be used as literacy support for students of whom English is an Additional Language or Dialect. Technology can enhance student learning by providing opportunities to facilitate problem solving and creativity and at the same time support diversity (Kingsley, 2007). Water and the Murray-Darling Basin will encourage active student engagement and an appreciation of the significance of water in the world.


Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. (n.d.). Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability.

Kingsley, K. V. (2007). Empower diverse learners with educational technology and digital media. Intervention In School & Clinic, 43(1), 52-56.

Kumar, R. (2015). Colour as metaphor in language and literature. Research Scholar, 3(2), 439-445.

Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning & Leading with Technology, 39(3), 12–17.

Mattka, R. (2018). How sound design is transforming UX. Creative Bloq.

NSW Education Standards Authority. (2015). Geography: K-10 syllabus.

My own learning during COVID

I have recently been using Padlet with my classes as a way for them to summarise their key points or key words from a topic that we have been studying. Where I would normally have done this on the board in the classroom, because of online learning due to COVID, I have found this to be even more useful. Students love it because I give them access to the padlet and they can all contribute. They can also then see what other people have written and this may spark ideas in their minds too. They feel more inclined to contribute where they don’t have to verbally make an answer as some are very shy, and another benefit is that they can modify their response at any time. They can then take a screen shot to add to their revision notes.

Another useful way to use this is to do a before and after the topic. The before can be used as a pre learning assessment tool and this can be compared to the end of the topic where a post learning assessment can demonstrate growth. A weakness is that all students need to have a device to participate and understand how to use padlet. Furthermore, some students may still have some hestitation in sharing their learning.


This was my contribution to the discussion for this week. The most important learning gain that I made from using Padlet during remote learning is that I can embrace digital tools quite readily in the classroom, and that they can actually enhance student learning and encourage participation.

Module 4: Questions in my mind

Module 4 helped to raise questions in my mind related to digital storytelling and the ever-increasing use of social media as tools for personalised storytelling. It especially raised questions for me as a mother in terms of what what my children see other people posting about their lives. Furthermore, it raises questions about what my children will share about their story in years to come. There is also then the questions about the sharing of the best parts of people’s lives and an minimisation of the worst parts. Is this creating unrealistic expectations for young people when they relate these stories to their own lives.

Critical reflection

The ever-changing world of information technology has seen the continued emergence of digital literature in various forms and with an abundance of features. According to the New South Wales government, digital texts can be audio, visual or multimodal texts that are created through digital or electronic technology and may be interactive and have animations and/or hyperlinks (New South Wales Department of Education, 2020).

From my exploration into the world of digital literature, it became evident that I was making relatively quick judgements about the value or worth of the digital texts. In my opinion, what makes a good digital text is something that is easy to use or navigate, and one that has lots of additional features that a printed text doesn’t have. In my opinion, in order to make the experience of a digital text worthwhile, it must have a range of features not afforded to printed texts, that provide an experience that is more enriching for the senses. The Lorax e-book app is an example of how a digital text utilises sound to provide an enriched experience for the reader. This is evident with the inclusion of music and relevant sounds to support the narrative.

Digital texts serve multiple purposes including allowing the narrative to be supplemented with multimedia such as video and interactive options. Furthermore, they also provide more opportunities for enhanced user engagement when the reader is able to determine their own experience with the literature. An example of this can be seen in the digital app The Lorax, whereby in addition to reading the narrative users can interact with the text, and also engage with other features such as the puzzles and memory games. However, it could be argued that choice is also available in some examples of printed text such as choose your own adventure style texts. Despite this, the ability for users of some digital texts to navigate through a range of features and choose which ones they interact with, and when, affords them greater user autonomy. Another significant benefit of digital literature is that technological changes and improvements also enable it to be continuously modified. Additional features may be added or updated information provided which can be particularly beneficial to non-fiction digital literature such as multimedia journalism. Journalists can easily add recent updates to a narrative which highlights the benefit of digital literature as being more easy to maintain its currency.

In comparing my experience of reading digital texts with reading print, it is clear that digital texts offer a greater opportunity for non-linear narratives than with reading print. However, print still does provide a more tactile experience with the smell and feel of a book. Printed text in the form of a book can be consumed by the reader without anyone else knowing. This is in contrast to a person’s use of digital literature that can be more easily scrutinised by others. One of the potential issues associated with reading digital literature compared to printed texts is that information about a person’s reading behaviour can be gathered by external organisations, potentially impacting on an individual’s privacy (Arts21, 2015, 17.00).

Through my experience in undertaking the investigation for this task, the digital text that I most enjoyed was Bear 71 VR as it encapsulated a range of current issues confronting humanity, and its interactive elements were intriguing. I was especially taken by this artefact, because as a HSIE Geography teacher resources that depict real life geographical issues are invaluable in the classroom. This kind of resource enables students to become more aware of what is happening in their world and can be easily incorporated into the Geography program. Specifically, one of the key competencies in the Stage 6 NSW Geography requires students to use appropriate information technologies in order to develop their competency in using technology (NESA, 2009). Furthermore, the Preliminary Course outcomes require students to use a range of maps and other tools such as photographs and fieldwork to conduct geographical inquiries and to examine the geographical nature of issues challenging humanity (NESA, 2009). Bear 71 VR would be an excellent virtual fieldwork resource for students to ensure that these outcomes are met. However, when adding this to a teaching program, it is important to consider that this digital text may trigger significant student emotional responses. Additionally, the controversial use of animal monitoring and human interference in their natural habitat may generate a wide range of student opinions and debate. This will need to be addressed as a form of debrief or analysis of the resource with students. Overall, I have gained a valuable insight into the world of digital literature through completing this task.


Allison, L. & Mendes, J. (2017). Bear 71 VR. National Film Board of Canada.

Arts21. (2015, June 6). What is the value of books in the digital age? DW.

New South Wales Department of Education. (2020). Digital and multimodal texts. New South Wales Government.

New South Wales Education Standards Authority (NESA). (2009). Geography stage 6 syllabus.

Oceanhouse Media. (2010). The Lorax by Dr Seuss (Version 4.1.1)[Mobile app]. Mac App Store.


Digital Literature Review 3

The Lorax by Dr Seuss is an e-book app that is a multimedia interactive digital version of “The Lorax” that was originally published in 1971 in printed form. The app was released by Oceanhouse Media Inc in 2010, and as further evidence of the story’s popularity and classic appeal the movie version of “The Lorax” produced by Universal Studios was released in 2012 (Nasaw & Dailey, 2012). Compared to the original printed version of “The Lorax”, the app possesses many digital technology features including sound, moving visuals, interactive games and icons to interact with. This may be more enticing for young people than the original printed form. Those used to interacting with screens, electronic literature may seem more familiar and appealing than traditional print literature (Electronic Literature Organisation, n.d.). Additionally, the app provides users with the ability to choose how they navigate through the story. Providing choice and options gives the user greater control and ownership over their interaction with the narrative and is more user directed. By interacting with apps, children’s relationship with the story is different than with print where the interactivity is often guided by someone else (Saljo, 2016).

The plot of the story centres around the character known as the Once-ler (a greedy businessperson) who chops down all of the trees to produce a product for his financial gain. The Lorax tries desperately to stop this destruction, as he realises the wide-ranging ramifications that this will have on their environment, and for all living things. Embedded within the story of the Lorax are a number of themes including environmental destruction, individualism, greed and consumerism. As this is a children’s story, the themes are very delicately interwoven throughout, ensuring these serious issues challenging the modern world are considered in an age appropriate and non-confrontational manner.

Synonymous with the printed book version of “The Lorax”, the app is also designed for users aged 4+. Evidence of this is its range of enhancements to aid the development of literacy. This includes opportunities for the user to tap on visual images to hear and read the associated word. Furthermore, using an app can have many benefits in the development of a range of digital technology skills. The use of apps can potentially assist teachers in the process of developing students’ range of digital skills and new media literacies (Stevenson & John, 2017).

One of the most significant differences between the printed book of “The Lorax” and using the app is the availability of other beneficial features associated with the story including a jigsaw puzzle, memory game and tapping activity. Digital apps of picture books offer additional content, features, and navigational options generally not present with print-based texts including animations, sound effects and hyperlinked resources (Serafini et al, 2015). An example of a sound effect in the digital app used to enhance “The Lorax” is the sound of the chainsaw cutting down the Truffula trees. The use of sound effects can make the reader feel more attached to the story. The appropriate sound design and music, can create an atmosphere and emotionally connect to people in a way visuals alone cannot (Mattka, 2018). A significant benefit of an e-book app is the way that users can determine their own journey through the narrative and engage with it in the manner of their own choosing, making it a very personalised experience. Compared to a printed book, an app enables users to customize their experience (Serafini et al, 2015).

There is a significant role for the use of digital storytelling apps like “The Lorax” in the classroom as teaching and learning tools. The interactive nature of apps and the ability for children to be hands on with their learning can make it a more student-centred pedagogy. Children love doing things on digital devices, and greatly appreciate the interactive apps (Miller, 2019). The themes and literary qualities of the story make it a highly appropriate resource for both the English and HSIE (Geography) curriculums. In particular, the NSW English K-10 syllabus specifies viewing and reading a range of texts in different media and technologies (NESA, 2012 ).

Some possible precluding aspects of this app is that it costs money to buy and also requires an appropriate digital device to access. Another consideration associated with the app is the marketing that is embedded within it. There is an icon that when touched can take the user to other available apps of Dr Seuss books. This can be beneficial to users in promoting further literacy in directing them to other titles that may be of interest. However, it can also potentially be a more coercive form of marketing than is seen in printed books.


Electronic Literature Organisation. (n.d.). Why teach electronic literature?

Mattka, R. (2018). How sound design is transforming UX. Creative Bloq.

Miller, C. H. (2019). Digital storytelling 4e: a creator’s guide to interactive entertainment. Taylor & Francis Group.

Nasaw, D., & Dailey, K. (2012). Five interpretations of The Lorax. BBC News.

New South Wales Education Standards Authority (NESA). (2012). English K-10 syllabus.

Oceanhouse Media. (2010). The Lorax by Dr Seuss (Version 4.1.1)[Mobile app]. Mac App Store.

Saljo, R. (2016). Apps and learning: a sociocultural perspective. In N, Kucirkova & G, Falloon (eds.), Apps, technology and younger learners : International evidence for teaching (pp. 3-13). Taylor and Francis Group.

Serafini, F., Kachorsky, D., & Aguilera, E. (2015). Picture books 2.0: Transmedial features across narrative platforms. Journal of Children’s Literature, 41(2), 16-24.

Stevenson, M. E., & John, G. H. (2017). Mobilizing learning: a thematic review of apps in K-12 and higher education. Interactive Technology and Smart Education, 14(2), 126-137.

Digital Literature Review 2

Bear 71 VR is an interactive multimedia non-fiction web based Virtual Reality (VR) documentary co-created by Jeremy Mendes and Leanne Allison in conjunction with the National Film Board of Canada. It tells the true story of a female Grissly bear living in Banff National Park in Canada. The bear was caught and tagged with an electronic device which allowed it to be tracked and closely monitored by wildlife conservation offices from 2001–2009 (Allison & Mendes, 2017). The web-based documentary was originally released in 2012, but was re-released in 2017 as a VR work with an abstract VR environment, providing enhanced exploration opportunities and experiences for users (Kolm, 2017).

The story begins with film of the snared distressed bear beginning the process of human monitoring. The bear is given the number 71 as an impersonalised form of identification which is immediately juxtaposed to the personal style audio narration from the bear’s perspective. This narration is heard throughout the remainder of story and acts to create a bond, and a sense of empathy between the bear and the user. Users can then navigate around the interactive map that is a VR representation the bear’s home. This map contains a collection of videos and images of the park and its wildlife taken using cameras imposed upon the natural landscapes. Video footage and audio narration of the life of Bear 71 is interspersed throughout the story. The story sadly culminates in her untimely death on a railway track protecting her cubs from an oncoming train. This scene exemplifies the negative consequences of human encroachment on nature.

Bear 71 is targeted for users over 12, who also have the ability to use digital tools. The themes, including the controversial treatment of animals in the story, mean that it is not suitable for a younger user. Furthermore, to navigate through this story, users must possess the required basic technological knowledge and skills.

There are a multitude of themes evident throughout this narrative. One of the most prominent is the uncomfortable concurrence between the natural world and the technologically advanced world. This is best exemplified by the narrated words “It is hard to say where the wired world ends and the wild one begins” (Allison & Mendes, 2017, 4.18). Another significant theme is the ever-increasing human impact on natural environments and wildlife. The ultimate example of this is when Bear 71 is killed by a train in her natural environment. This is designed to highlight the role that humans are playing in the process of animal loss and extinction. This theme is further supported in the story by the use of the word “refugees” in reference to the bears’ ever decreasing habitable land (Allison & Mendes, 2017, 3.12).

There are many advantages of using multiple media forms in storytelling (also known as transmedia storytelling). Transmedia storytelling encourages readers to search for information and investigate in a range of formats (Lamb, 2011). In addition to the artefact itself, there are further opportunities for engaging digitally with others about the narrative through social platforms such as Twitter and Tumblr. Another significant benefit of this type of digital literature is its non-static quality, with continuing opportunities to make modifications according to technological developments. Evidence of this is that Bear 71 was re-released with VR. This was developed in the framework WebVR, allowing VR experiences to occur within a browser using a multitude of devices (Kolm, 2017). It is important that these modifications are easily accessible on current devices to maximise patronage. The aim is to make VR experiences available irrespective of the device being used (WebVR, n.d.).

Bear 71 can be used in the classroom particularly for the New South Wales Stage 4 Geography curriculum outcomes related to human interactions with environments and perspectives on geographical issues (NESA, 2015). Furthermore, it can be used as a stimulus to facilitate discussion around the ethical use of technology, and in general to facilitate the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills. ICT capability is one of the General Capabilities embedded in the Australian Curriculum. In particular the English Curriculum requires students to use ICT when they interpret multimodal texts (ACARA, n.d.). Multimedia narratives can be especially useful in a variety of ways to enhance student learning. Elements can be used to support readers experiencing difficulties,  aid comprehension and understanding of concepts and contribute to the tone of the story (Lamb, 2011).

A potential negative associated with this artefact is that it provides a very one-sided perspective of some issues and especially that of human impacts on nature. It lacks a more rounded consideration of how human interference and monitoring may, in some instances, act to protect and care for the natural world. Despite this, Bear 71 raises some pertinent questions about technology and our modern world, ironically delivered as a modern form of digital literature.



Allison, L. & Mendes, J. (2017). Bear 71 VR. National Film Board of Canada.

Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. (n.d.). Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability.

Bear 71. [@iambear71]. (n.d.). Tumblr.

Iambear71 [@iambear71]. (2012). Twitter.

Kolm. J. (2017). NFB re-releases award-winning doc in VR. Strategy.

Lamb, A. (2011). Reading Redefined for a Transmedia Universe. Learning & Leading with Technology, 39(3), 12–17.

NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). (2015). Geography: K-10 syllabus.

WebVR. (n.d.). What is WebVR?



Digital Literature Review 1

“From space, the ferocity of Queensland’s bushfires is revealed” is a non-fiction multimedia news report that tells the story of Australia’s Queensland bushfires in November 2018. This  artefact was produced by ABC journalist and digital producer Mark Doman and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) Digital story innovation team. The purpose of the story is to inform people about a disaster and highlight its geographical significance. A good news story should inform and engage the audience (Hernandez & Rue, 2015).

The subject of this journalistic news story is the extreme bushfire event that occurred in Queensland in 2018, but its depth of meaning extends beyond this to encapsulate a multitude of associated geographical issues currently of global concern. The story profiles key elements of this specific natural disaster, including the weather conditions that contributed to its intensity, and a description of the bushfire’s impact. Further included is evidence of the emergency response to the disaster, and how swift and intelligent human action was able to prevent more devastation. There is a significant overarching sentiment to the story that this type of environmental disaster is not uncommon today. Two of the key messages of the story are that we need to readily prepare ourselves for more of these geographical events, and that these are also associated with our human impacts on the world. This form of digital literature is free and accessible to anyone using Internet browsers on devices such as a laptop, iPad, iPhone and tablets, making it a highly accessible artefact.

The intended audience for this news story is quite broad, however it can be argued that it is only appropriate for ages 12 and above. Evidence for this is the presence of more complex language such as “penetrated” and “dire” (Doman, 2018, para.1). This sophisticated language would require a certain level of literacy for comprehension. Furthermore, the fact that the main subject of the artefact is a disaster would also indicate that it is not appropriate for very young children. The presence of geographical tools for interpretation, such as maps, are further suggestive of this.

This piece of multimedia journalism uses emotive language that helps to engage the reader and also highlight the gravity of the disaster. This is exemplified in the introductory paragraph “dire warning: evacuate now or burn to death” (Doman, 2018, para.1). Use of the colour black as the background for the introduction further adds a sense of foreboding as black is often associated with negative things. Using colours in literature helps the author to construct a literary scene to better enable the reader to envisage and understand it (Kumar, 2015). A range of geographical tools are used to support the narrative including satellite imagery, maps and photographs. This helps to make the story more realistic and memorable as it provides clear evidence of the disaster. Parkinson (2006) suggests that using a combination of pictures and text in a multimedia article may make messages more memorable, and can also aid with the comprehension and synthesis of new information.

This artefact can be used to support both the Science and HSIE curriculum areas due to its association with the topics weather and natural disasters. In particular, it can be incorporated into the Geography curriculum to support the development of Geographical skills (including interpreting photographic images and maps) and geographical knowledge and understanding which are all an essential part of the NSW syllabus (NESA, 2015).

There are a number of things that could enhance this artefact especially when comparing this multimedia journalistic artefact to another “Snowfall: the avalanche at Tunnel Creek” . This has interactive elements that give the reader choice as to how deeply they want to learn about the disaster. This choice is offered through multiple slide shows of photographic images of the disaster that can be scrolled through and a video of a personal interview with survivor that can also be accessed. Allowing this form of choice empowers the reader and gives them ownership over the depth of their learning. In a classroom situation this choice is excellent, as students can choose their level of emotional involvement, allowing for the diverse emotional needs of students. Furthermore, embedding a range of media elements within the text of the story creates a captivating multimedia experience (Pincus et al, 2017).

The presence of sound and interactive elements could add further appeal to this news story and provide for a more immersive experience. This could take the form of interactive options such as sounds associated with the disaster such as sirens, video footage of the disaster or interviews providing personal accounts. Furthermore, for use in the classroom, the news story would benefit from including information regarding mitigating a future bushfire event. Discussing management strategies is a knowledge and understanding outcome of the Stage 4 NSW Geography syllabus (NESA, 2015).


Branch, J. (2012). Snow fall: The avalanche at Tunnel Creek. New York Times.

Doman, M. (2018, December 8). From space, the ferocity of Queensland’s bushfires is revealed. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.,-the-ferocity-of-queenslands-bushfires-is-revealed/10594662?nw=0

Hernandez, R. K., & Rue, J. (2016). The principles of multimedia journalism: packaging digital news. Routledge.

Kumar, R. (2015). Colour as metaphor in language and literature. Research Scholar, 3(2), 439-445.

NSW Education Standards Authority. (2015). Geography: K-10 syllabus.

Parkinson, M. (2006). Do-it-yourself billion dollar graphics: turn your words and data into powerful visuals. Pepperlip Press.



Trends in digital literature: Discovering possibilities

I was amazed this week in engaging with the modules and in my further research. The article From twitterbots to VR: 10 of the best examples of digital literature was particularly interesting as it gave me further examples to view. I especially loved the Alan Bigelow’s How to rob a bank. I had never come across something like this before and it was interesting to see the modern digital elements used in a narrative. Wright (2019) suggests that it is a reinvention of Bonnie and Clyde for the digital age. As a teacher of teenagers, I can see how this modern digital version of a theme can be more relatable for them.


Bigelow, A. (2017). How to rob a bank. Webyarns.

Wright, D. T. H. (2019). From twitterbots to VR: 10 of the best examples of digital literature. The conversation.