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Consumption of Transmedia as a Reader

Written by Laura Fleming
June 17, 2011

We inhabit a culture that is changing our relationship with text, and shaping our future reading patterns. In a recent keynote address, Karen Cator, Director of the United States Department of Educational Technology referred to this transition from a print based classroom to digital media as a ‘digital inflection point’ where we have the opportunity to build powerful new learning environments. This transition from old to new media provides new opportunities and changes the way we think about literacy. Being transmedia literate means being able to comprehend, understand and consume stories told across multiple media platforms, which includes traditional print and other analogue material as well as the internet, audio, and video.

As Jeff Gomez suggests, in today’s interconnected world, young audiences have become so comfortable with media technology that they flip from one platform to the next, sometimes literally using their finger to flip from one media to another on the same (often mobile) device. Traditional stories are normally consumed in a sequential order. With transmedia, the use of varying platforms allows for multiple entry points into a non-linear narrative, and as a result, reaches all types of learners. Innovations in digital reading and extending stories onto multiple platforms will continue to enhance instruction ensuring that students will become more connected to, engaged with, and make meaning from the content they are reading. The non-linear structure of a transmedia narrative allows opportunities for learners to enter the storyworld in ways that they find attractive and approachable. This immersive experience makes story elements come alive. Moreover, as the devices we use to access and participate transmedia stories continue to become more mobile and user-friendly, we will be immersed in these stories in increasingly interwoven patterns of reading and writing, viewing and responding. Transmedia narrative authors may have stories conceived in their mind, yet it is the responsibility of the readers to discern information pertinent to them.

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