July 2015 archive

The Boat – Interactive Graphic Novel

I am prone to sea sickness and the opening scene of the SBS interactive graphic novel of The Boat made me a little queasy. Multimodal texts are very new to me and I was captivated by the interplay of illustrations, images, sound and motion.


After reading/viewing the interactive graphic novel, I read the story in the original printed book of the same name by Nam Le . The short story is about fifty pages long and the interactive contains far fewer words than this. I was surprised by how much of the detail in the story was conveyed using less words in the interactive graphic novel. The sound, images, illustrations and motion made up for the lack of words in creating a mood, setting the scene and aiding the narrative.


With auto scrolling the interactive graphic novel runs for twenty minutes or you have the option of scrolling at your own pace. At any point you can go backwards and forwards. There are also side stories that you can explore at various points. This is a very powerful story for older readers that is enhanced by the interactive graphic novel format.


Further Reading and viewing

The Boat by Nam Le





Designed for Purpose – Aldi Supermarket – Assessment Item 2



Exterior view of Aldi supermarket with large sign


Ample car parking is available directly outside the supermarket. About one third of the car park is covered in shade cloth. The trolley bay is just outside the supermarket and is sheltered with a roof. Trolleys are secured and require a coin or token to use.

The entry is via an ‘in’ door with a double door system. It prevents shoppers from exiting without going past the cash registers. An alarm sounds if someone tries to exit through the in door.

Like most supermarkets the lighting is very bright and the temperature is moderate. The aisles are wide enough for two trolleys to pass. In some areas shoppers have to wait before they can pass another shopper or get to a particular item. Facial expressions on some shoppers indicate patience or impatience. Some shoppers excuse themselves so they can reach an item near another shopper. Announcements requesting a staff member or announcing the opening or closing of a register can be heard. Shoppers in pairs or groups talk to each other. Children make most of the louder noises or sometimes a parent disciplining a child.

Most items are contained in boxes or on pallets that serve as shelves. Large wire containers hold clothing and household items in the centre of the store. These containers range from organised to messy. Some shoppers sift through items contained within, while others ignore them and pass by quickly. Electronic goods and  items of higher cost than grocery items are enclosed in a glass display case so a staff member must assist with their retrieval. Prices are displayed above all items with bold black text on yellow or red tickets. The red tickets distinguish items that have a special price or that are available for a limited time. Signage hangs from the ceiling for promotion.

The cash registers have a long conveyor belt where customers place their goods and they use dividers to separate their goods from those of the next customer.There are many small items above the conveyor belt. Staff at the registers scan the items very quickly.  There is only a small bench to place goods on once they are scanned. Customers need to be quick at retrieving their goods from the staff member. Customers load their goods into their own shopping bags or trolley. Some struggle to keep up to the pace of the staff member on the register and have trouble getting their money or card ready to pay while packing their bag or trolley. The EFTPOS/credit card keypad faces the customer and the staff member provides verbal instructions and only assists if the customer is unable to follow the verbal instructions. Customers who are slow at paying and packing their goods are sometimes pressured to hurry along by the body language of the next customer in the queue or by the speed of the staff member at the register. About three steps from the register there is a long bench that provides a space for customers to organise and pack their shopping into bags.

For a selection of images visit my Flickr album. Images have also been added to the INF536 Flickr group.


Sketch of Aldi floorplan. Not to scale.

Blogs I have commented on:

Comment 1 
Comment 2
Comment 3


Literature in Digital Environments – Assessment Task 1

Print and online reading coexist in my personal and professional life. I fluctuate between different formats for reasons that are common to many people such as convenience, immediacy, nostalgia and comfort. My reading devices include a Kindle, iPad, iPhone, computer and printed material. I enjoy reading reviews and sharing my reading with friends on Goodreads and in person.

We are in a time of transition, the reading landscape is changing and I am experiencing reading in new ways. In the last twenty years “the internet has brought about a period of rapid, continuous technological change in the nature of literacy” (Leu, 2011, p. 6). My interactions with digital reading mostly involve web pages, digital newspapers, journals and e-books. With the exception of web pages, most texts I read online are linear and are a reproduction of print delivered in a digital environment. Until commencing this subject I had not explored enhanced e-books and iPad apps where “a text can be supplemented with media – audio clips, timelines, maps, contextual links” (James, 2013, p. 108).

The debate over whether enhanced e-books detract or enhance the reading experience is interesting and one that I am not experienced enough to enter into yet. Reading Inanimate Alice gave me a taste of what is possible with transmedia and that “when handled intelligently and sensitively – there are instances in which the embedded media are capable of creating a heightened sense of immersion and engagement” (James, 2013, p. 118). James also contends that digital conventions are no longer outside the schemata of young people but in the future the traditional book may be (James, 2013).

I am not a parent and I work with senior students so I have had limited exposure to the new wave of apps designed for young children. Regardless, I do understand that selecting and evaluating the quality of an app or e-book is crucial for me as a teacher librarian. Yokota & Teale say “it is important to develop a new lens for examining digital forms of picture books” (2014, p. 580) in addition to using the existing criteria for assessing print literature. The purpose for choosing a particular format should also be considered. Walsh (2013, p.185) states that teachers must consider whether “the text will augment stories read in books, motivate students to read further and enhance their response to literature, whether in print or digital form”.

With my return to formal study I have been experimenting with reading across devices. In my first session of study I printed many of my readings and made lots of written notes alongside some screen reading. I wasn’t confident in my ability to comprehend what I read from the screen so I stuck to the learning methods I was familiar with from my undergraduate days in the early 1990s. Studies into how our brains respond to reading on screen are inconclusive. (Jabr, 2013) As I became more familiar with tools such as Evernote and Endnote, I decided to reduce my reliance on printing. Wherever possible I am reading and annotating PDFs on the screen in conjunction with handwritten and typed notes. I am trying to bring as much mental effort to the screen as I would to paper (Jabr, 2013).

flickr photo shared by melenita2012 under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license


James, R. & De Kock, L. (2013). The digital David and the Gutenberg oliath: the rise of the ‘enhanced’ e-book. English Academy Review, 30(1), pp. 107-123. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10131752.2013.783394

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

Leu, D.J. et al (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/JAAL.55.1.1

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

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




Designing Spaces for Learning – Assessment Task 1

A large flat digital signage screen is mounted on a blank wall in the school library where I am the teacher librarian. It was installed when the new school building was built four years ago. Two more screens are situated in other parts of the school. The screens are operated by the Information Communications Technology Department (ICT Department) and feature content provided by administration. After the staff member who was responsible for operating the digital signage left the school about two years ago, the screens have been used less frequently.

The school is fortunate to have digital signage equipment in place but it is currently under-utilised. This is a problem that I would like to seize for the screen situated in the library. The content displayed needs to be suited to the students and teachers so I need to “place people at the centre of things” (Leifer, 2013, p. 4) and interact with these stakeholders (Kuratko, Goldsworthy & Hornsby, 2012).

Digital signage screen and the view of the library from it.

Digital signage screen and the view of the library from it.

My inspiration has come from seeing how other libraries leverage this technology. Inspiration is the first step in Tim Brown’s elements of design thinking (Kuratko, Goldsworthy & Hornsby, 2012). I am excited by the possibilities of digital signage but realise there will be constraints and difficult learning ahead and I will need to “persevere through the difficult paths that are likely to arise” (Kuratko, 2012, p.111) by being proactive (second step). The benefits of having a dynamic space to communicate with students and staff will firstly require training in the software. Humility, the third element, is knowing what you don’t know and being able to admit it. I don’t know how the digital signage screens work yet, however “when you approach others for knowledge that would be useful to you and ask for their thoughts on your project, you accelerate the design process” (Kuratko, Goldsworthy & Hornsby, 2012, p.112). The final two elements of design thinking I must keep in mind are flexibility and focus. To fully realise the opportunities of digital signage I must have an open mind, seek feedback and understand that criticism about the idea isn’t a criticism of me.

Digital signage can provide a dynamic way of communicating (Larson & Quam, 2010) and is increasingly used in libraries. I want to utilise the digital signage screen in the library as a promotional and learning tool. In order to make use of this digital space, this week I made enquiries with the ICT Department about contributing content. They suggested a software demonstration so I could become familiar with the capabilities of the software. The demonstration is going to take place next week, with further software training sessions to be scheduled soon after.

I am excited by the prospect of learning how to use the software so that I can promote library services, school events, student work and highlight the school’s commitment to thinking and learning. I am also apprehensive because I do not have a design background and digital signage requires visual appeal. Once I have received the necessary training, I intend to experiment, create and prototype presentations. I will then seek feedback and redesign where necessary (Razzouk & Shute, 2012).


Created by K. Malbon based on Razzouk & Shute, 2012.


Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston : Pearson.

Larson, K., & Quam, A. (2010). The modernization of SIGNS: A library leads the way to networked digital signage. Computers in Libraries, 30(3), 36-38. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/docview/231186735?accountid=10344

Plattner, H., Meinel, C., & Leifer, L. (Eds.). (2013). Design Thinking Research : Building Innovation Eco-Systems. Retrieved from http://www.eblib.com

Razzouk, R., & Shute, V. (2012). What is design thinking and why is it important? Review of Educational Research, September, 82 (3), 330–348. Retrieved from http://rer.sagepub.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/content/82/4/483.full.pdf+html

Blogs I commented on 




Literature in Digital Environments

I fluctuate between reading print books and e-books on my Kindle and I only have a general knowledge of digital literature. I look forward to exploring this emerging area of literature in INF533 – Literature in Digital Environments. I created this word cloud to summarise the features of digital narratives from my reading in module 1.