July 20

Entering the world of digital literature – the good, the bad and the ugly

As I related in the first discussion forum task (Simon, 2018), my main experience with digital literature prior to this class was personal consumption of straight print-to-digital eBooks. My main classroom use, to date, has been scanned or otherwise digitised copies of traditional picture books displayed on the Smartboard for shared reading. The readings in the first module have worked together to inspire and frustrate me. I am inspired by the breadth and variety of digital literature described in the various readings, but frustrated by how little exposure I have had to these in my classroom teaching settings as well as by my attempts to actually find the digital literature that I am reading about. My explorations have yielded the good, the bad, and the ugly.

First I’ll share the good news. The possibilities for digital literature are simply incredible. As Walsh (2013) demonstrates in her analyses of the born-digital, solely-digital narratives Inanimate Alice (The BradField Company, 2012-2018 in Walsh, 2013) and The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Creek (O’Rogers, 2011 in Walsh 2013) there is the possibility for innovative works that take great advantage of digital capabilities and present them in synergy with quality literary elements. I have seen works with rich literary language and structure that use digital affordances to enhance, inform, and serve the purpose of the text effectively in ways that could not be done in print. There are also works like The Boat (Le & Huynh, n.d.) an SBS digital work that falls in the category of a print work converted to digital with synergy between the literary and digital elements (Walsh, 2013, pp. 184-185; Yokota & Teale, 2014, p. 581).

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