Despite having been a HSIE teacher for twenty three years now, and also having used a laptop and iPhone for many of those, I believe that my knowledge and understanding of concepts and practices in digital literature environments is quite narrow. Furthermore, my engagement with digital literature tools and their potential uses is also unfortunately very minimal. Prior to engaging with this subject’s first learning module my own experience was limited to accessing library literature through an iPhone app and also interacting with a couple of online narratives. One such example that I have previously used with students in the classroom when teaching a unit on World War Two is Junko’s story (SBS Australia, n.d). This is a powerfully emotive story about experiencing Hiroshima’s atomic bomb. In this the user is able to choose to delve more deeply into the story by clicking on links for more information about the bomb. What I found that students love about this is their ability to choose what elements of the narrative they want to pursue further. This choice gives them a sense of ownership over their learning and interaction with the literature.
In engaging with Learning module 1, the material that strongly resonated with me the most was the YouTube clip The evolution of the book. (Hukdigital, 2010). I found this to be really helpful in highlighting the changing literature environment and its impacts. Furthermore, I especially found the title of module 1.1 ‘Gutenberg to Kindle’ relatable to my professional circumstance as a History teacher. In my experience as a History teacher I have explained to students about the significance of the invention of Gutenburg’s printing press and its resultant impact on people’s access to literature (Croft, n.d). When I am teaching about this invention, I provide students with stories about life 40 years ago without the internet and such digital technologies. Furthermore, I ask them to consider what a young child born in fifty years’ time might be using. In relation to this course, I realise now that I am getting them to consider the changing literature environment and the role that digital technologies play in this.
As I continued through Module 1 and the reading Amazon, Kindle, and Goodreads: Implications for literary consumption in the digital age I was prompted to consider the extent to which digital technologies are changing reading culture (Albrechtslund, 2019). This cultural transformation is obvious when I consider my own literature experiences as a child solely reading paper books, and compare this to the reading experiences of children today.
As a teacher who has seen significant change in teaching practices throughout my professional career, I find myself with some questions about the impact digital literature is having on culture, learning and enjoyment. There can be some issues associated with the use of digital technologies that need to be carefully monitored and managed. Screens can consume more of our mental resources and this may impact on the memory of what we read (Jabr, 2013). Through the learning opportunities provided through this course, I’m excited to delve into the world of digital literature tools and their uses, and to incorporate this learning into my professional practice.
Albrechtslund, A-M. B. (2019). Amazon, Kindle, and Goodreads: Implications for literary consumption in the digital age. Consumption Markets & Culture, 23(6), 553-568. https://doi.org/10.1080/10253866.2019.1640216
Croft, T. (n.d). Gutenberg to Kindle [Learning module]. INF533, Interact2. https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/execute/content/blankPage?cmd=view&content_id=_4145309_1&course_id=_57635_1&mode=reset
Hukdigital. (2010, September 17). The evolution of the book [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/PF9Q3LcOAQ8
Jabr, F. (2013, April 11). The reading brain in the digital age: The science of paper versus screens. Scientific American. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/
SBS Australia. (n.d). Junko’s story: surviving Hiroshima’s atomic bomb. Special Broadcasting Service. https://www.sbs.com.au/hiroshima/