SciShow Kids is a spin off of an adult science video series SciShow created by Hank Green; one half of the popular Youtube group VlogBrothers (Wikipedia, 2016). It is hard to define what kind of digital literature this is and could be considered a controversial choice, depending on your definition of digital literature. However, it still hosts an example of text features such as diagrams, a clear information report (if auditory rather than written) structure and connected websites. I could classify this as transmedia/hyperlink text. For this assessment I will be focusing on the ‘Worms are Wonderful’ (2015) video and its connected hyperlinks (BioKIDS, 2016; Journey North, 2016; Animal Corner, 2016).
There are many positive aspects to this text. To begin with the content is superbly produced in a clear and engaging manner, using excited tone, clear diagrams and animations, continuity with other videos and well supported referenced material. The video hits its target audience, infants and primary students, with the right amount of enthusiasm and humor while still maintaining clearly delivered information. Although this is an American produced resource it has strong links with the Australian curriculum (ACARA, 2016). Positively, the series is free and accessible worldwide, though asks for support through their Patreon account.
The attached websites to the video, both used as references and avenues for further information. Provide some interactive features such as definitions of difficult words when clicked and hyperlinks to further information. They are an excellent resource for students to continue to explore information about the topic. (BioKIDS, 2016; Journey North, 2016; Animal Corner, 2016)
Negatively the singular video is a one hit wonder, watching it more than once would become tedious to most students, excepting revision. Although the hyperlinks provided are an avenue for further investigation and reading younger students would struggle to find their way to them, as they are not easily accessible on all platforms (particularly Ipods). Another negative is the lack of interaction, although with Youtube comments a discussion can occur below the video it is not a particularly school friendly resource in that regard. However, the video does encourage students to interact with the web series by emailing in their own suggestions for future videos, which would be a good discussion starter in the classroom.
This is not a resource that pushes the boundaries of digital literature but rather a good example of where digital literature developed from and a resource that could easily be incorporated into a larger transmedia website, something I personally would love SciShow to do. It still exhibits clear text features and is built in the digital environment. It is designed for use with an adult and as a result would be a little difficult for younger students to navigate on his or her own. It is a resource that students themselves could explore making on a similar topic and integrate into a larger assessment or unit of work.
To conclude, though this resource is controversial (see critical reflection), it is a good example of simple but effective digital literature. It is engaging, simple and aligned with the curriculum.
Animal Corner. (2016). Worms. Retrieved from https://animalcorner.co.uk/animals/worms/
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (2016). Science Curriculum. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/science/curriculum/f-10?layout=1#level5
BioKIDS. (2016). Oligochaeta. Retrieved from http://www.biokids.umich.edu/critters/Oligochaeta/
Journey North. (2016). Earth worms FAQ. Retrieved from https://www.learner.org/jnorth/search/WormNotes3.html
SciShow Kids. (2015). Worms are wonderful. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-zc_1vjLnI&list=PLw2cuKNQvZ2d9b3Wqhu32dkjX28qokaiA&index=26
Wikipedia. (2016, July 4). SciShow. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SciShow