Reading and Writing Transmedia
We have told stories to each other since the dawn of human history. We instinctively organize our thoughts as stories. Well-crafted stories engage us, inform us, inspire us and – long after first hearing them – resonate with us. Stories have always carried messages and meaning for us long before writing, radio, film, television, or the internet helped us tell them. The core elements of story never change – character, plot, settings and obstacles to be overcome – but the ways in which we tell stories continue to evolve.
The new media that surrounds us as educators and as learners has forced us to pay attention to, and to change, how education is conceived. One significant change to ‘Learning in the 21st Century’ comes in the form of “transmedia storytelling,” a process of writing and reading stories that invites participants into stories in ways that they have been unable to do before digital technologies and the internet allowed us to connect in so many ways, so quickly. It is this changing face of storytelling that sits at the core of this collection.
Given my own interests in digital writing, I am always on the look out for “what’s next” in terms of theories and technologies that we might see in schools.
As the concept of digital writing — including the process of creating media such as digital videos and podcasts — becomes more and more a part of the writing curriculum, I am curious to see how we might move students forward in creating transmedia stories.
Not only will they combine images, text, and voice in single pieces of media, but by using web-based tools such as VoiceThread or using other media authoring tools such as Sophie, students can create multi-layered stories, and connect those stories across different media.
Thus, this collection of resources primarily authored by Laura Fleming represents one educator’s vision of what transmedia is, and what it can be, for teachers and students learning to read and write in a digital age.