I began this subject by acknowledging that I have not made the most of the digital environment as a teacher (Doherty, 2020, July 26) but also recognised that ‘there is no question we, as educators, need to be upskilling students in the new types of literacy needed to keep up with technology (Sadokierski, 2013 in Doherty, 2020, July 26). Throughout this subject, these views have been highlighted but I have also grown in confidence with how I may personally incorporate digital literature in lessons.
I was first introduced to the debate surrounding what qualifies as digital literature (Lamb, 2011 and Sadokierski, 2013 in Doherty, 2020, July 26). Groth (2018) and Walsh (2013) both point out that it is a complex issue with so many variations available, there is no one form, genre or means of navigating. Digitized texts and digital texts (Bouchardon, 2019; Bouchardon & Heckman, 2012) seem to be the two broad classifications while Strickland (2009) says digitized versions of print works don’t qualify, if you can print it out it is not digital literature (Doherty, 2020, Aug 23). I said at the time that merit can be seen in this definition, especially in considering awards eligibility, however the digitised text or e-book has a valuable role to play. Benefits of the e-book over the print version are no physical storage space being required and accessibility for students in diverse locations (Flevigei and Matthew, 2012), as well as the ability to link teaching and learning programs straight to the book, ability to zoom in on certain elements to focus students’ attention and, depending on the device used to access, the ability to write on the screen to highlight teaching points (Doherty, 2020, Aug 22a).
It was nice to see the literature backing up my experience in the school setting, where access to technology can be a major barrier to accessing digital literature. O’Connell et al. (2015) found that access to mobile devices in primary schools was very limited, access to reliable wireless networks negligible and the authenticating and log on process beyond the skill level of most students. It is a very real problem and many times I have experienced, or been told of, having all the best intentions, and planning lessons around digital technology, only to have the technology fail and the lesson be aborted. Additionally, with only one hour for a library lesson, even if all students know how to, the time taken for all students to ‘log on’ can be prohibitive.
From doing the reviews for assessment item 2, I concluded that web based options were the best in a school setting. They are available on all school devices allowing whole class, small group or individual viewing. In a system where minimal budgets, purchase request forms and system administrators who control downloads, the need to download an app can prove too difficult (O’Connell et al., 2015 in Doherty, 2020, Aug 22 a, b).
Despite these difficulties I have been convinced that it is worth persevering with incorporating digital literature into the classroom. Using digital texts in the school setting aims to close the gap between how students learn and how they live. It can motivate students, support specialised learning needs and meet curriculum requirements related to reading multimodal texts and digital literacies (Bjorgen, 2010; Ciampa, 2012; O’Connell et al., 2015; Reid, 2013; Tackvic, 2012; Microsoft, 2010). Furthermore, Felvegi and Matthew (2012) argue that digital texts reduce expenses because they cost less to produce and store, and they are portable and accessible so students can read and study in diverse locations at any time. Never has this been more pertinent than during the current COVID-19 induced home learning situation across the globe (Doherty, 2020, Aug 23).
Print is still my personal reading preference, as it was prior to this subject (Doherty, 2020, Aug 23). I have not found the digital literature experience transformative in that regard. I have, however, been totally convinced of the need to include it in the classroom. To not would be doing a disservice to our students who will need the knowledge and skills it can provide to operate in the real world, of now and the future. I have found the process of creating digital literature enjoyable and all the aforementioned benefits for students regarding digital literature are enhanced when they become creators of it, as discussed in Part A. Creating digital stories provides an authentic way to practice and assess library skills like effective search skills, primary vs secondary sources, evaluating sources, copyright and referencing while also meeting outcomes of other key learning areas. Thanks to INF533 I feel a lot more confident in including digital literature, and in particular digital storytelling, into my lessons. I look forward to seeing the impact of this change in pedagogy on student engagement and motivation, and ultimately, learning outcomes.
Bjorgen, A. M. (2010). Boundary crossing and learning identities – digital storytelling in primary schools. Seminar.net, 6(2), 161-175.
Bouchardon, S. (2019). Mind the gap! 10 gaps for digital literature? Electronic Book Review. https://doi.org/10.7273/j3w2-h969
Bouchardon, S. & Heckman, D. (2012). Digital manipulability and digital literature. Electronic Book Review. https://electronicbookreview.com/essay/digital-manipulability-and-digital-literature/
Ciampa, K. (2012). Electronic storybooks: a constructivist approach to improving reading motivation in Grade 1 students. Canadian Journal of Education 35(4), 92-136.
Doherty, H. (2020, July 26). Literature in digital environments: Assessment item 1. Learning to Library. https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/learningtolibrary/2020/07/26/literature-in-digital-environments-assessment-item-1/
Doherty, H. (2020, August 22a). INF533 Assessment item 2, part A, review 1. Learning to Library. https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/learningtolibrary/2020/08/22/inf533-assessment-item-2-part-a-review-1/
Doherty, H. (2020, August 22b). INF533 Assessment item 2, part A, review 2. Learning to Library. https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/learningtolibrary/2020/08/22/inf533-assessment-item-2-part-a-review-2/
Doherty, H. (2020, August 23). INF533 Assessment item 2, part B. Learning to Library. https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/learningtolibrary/2020/08/23/inf533-assessment-item-2-part-b/
Flevegi, E. & Matthew, K.I. (2012). EBooks and literacy in K-12 schools. Computers in the Schools, 29(1-2), 40-52. https://doi.org/10.1080/07380569.2012.651421
Groth, S. (2018, May 20). Still defining digital literature. The Writing Platform. http://thewritingplatform.com/2018/05/still-defining-digital-literature/
Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning and Leading with Technology, 39(3), 12-17.
Microsoft. (2010). Tell a story, become a lifelong learner. Microsoft.
O’Connell, J., Bales, J. & Mitchel, P. (2015). [R]Evolution in reading cultures: 2020 vision for school libraries. The Australian Library Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00049670.2015.1048043
Reid, K. (2013). Creating E-books in the classroom. In J. Bales (Ed.), E-books in learning: A beginners Guide (pp. 37-43). Australian School Library Association.
Sadokierski, Z. (2013, November 12). What is a book in the digital age? The Conversation. http://theconversation.com/what-is-a-book-in-the-digital-age-19071
Strickland, S. (2009, Feb 13). Born digital. Poetry Foundation. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/articles/69224/born-digital
Tackvic, C. (2012). Digital storytelling: Using technology to spark creativity. The Educational Forum, 76(4), 426-429. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131725.2012.707562
Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment. In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers (pp. 181 – 194). Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETTA).