For my reading response I chose Expanding Learning Opportunities with Transmedia Practices: Inanimate Alice as an Exemplar by Laura Fleming.
I became interested in the digital story Inanimate Alice while I was working in a library that housed over 10,000 paper books. I began studying alternate book delivery systems and ran across this platform. Being an avowed paper book reader myself, I couldn’t see the appeal. I wanted something in my hands I could pick up and smell the glorious mustiness as the pages flipped through my fingers.
But I could see the changes taking place in our school, in my kids, and eventually in me. We were all becoming increasingly impatient with this delivery system. Maybe not impatient, but dissatisfied? We wanted something more we could see and hear. Maybe a Facebook page and a game app to go along with. Could we tweet the characters? What we wanted was starting to form and it was being called Transmedia Learning Worlds (TLW). MIT professor, Henry Jenkins, developed the concept of transmedia as:
“A process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience.” (as cited in Fleming, 2013, p. 371)
~Transmedia and Learning~
Kids were already well plugged into the internet. Gaming had made it possible for students to direct and interact with their own narratives in Minecraft and many other game apps. It was just a matter of combining the elements of storytelling into a digital landscape thus creating new realms where literacy thrived. Fleming (2013) says that when teachers guide students in the use of transmedia techniques, then kids become immersed in their own learning and, as a result, media literacy education is advanced. She goes on to assert that learning is breaking free from the traditional model of education and that the walls of the school simply cannot contain all the knowledge and content. With the internet, knowledge has become borderless and distributed. Teachers can use this as an opportunity where transmedia engagement can bring learning to life, stimulating learner’s minds and allowing learning to happen organically (Fleming, 2013, p. 373).
~Example of Transmedia~
Inanimate Alice is a great example of a digital-born transmedia in education. This multifaceted story introduces us to Alice, a young girl growing up in the first half of the 21st century, and her digital imaginary friend, Brad. The story adventure is infused with interactive pictures, sound, images, and games to tell the story of her life. The media itself becomes a part of the story when Alice herself becomes a video game animator, and the reader is immersed into the story by playing games and solving puzzles to progress the story (Fleming, 2013). The reader feels emotionally invested with Alice when she feels scared for her father in chapter one and her loneliness of living so far outside the city. Interestingly, the website hosts media spanning art, education, Facebook and Twitter. Alice is highly connected!
Fleming ends her article with a powerful statement and one that I agree with “—our instructional practices will never be the same again. Technology and learning are inextricably linked—one can no longer perceive learning as happening without it (2103, p. 377).
Technology has changed our reading habits. Interaction with stories has taken on a whole new level as readers can now become part of the narrative or change it altogether. It’s an exciting time as educators globally take on the challenge of seamlessly integrating these new literacies into 21st century classrooms thus making the Transmedia World a vast, interconnected, and innovative learning ecosystem.
Other interactive stories on the web to explore:
Fleming, L. (2013). Expanding learning opportunities with transmedia practices: Inanimate Alice as an exemplar. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 5(2), 3.