Why is this Important for Us as Teachers of Reading and Writing?
To be effective consumers of transmedia content, students need to have a firm understanding of narrative structure. An understanding of characters and plot is essential in understanding the form a story takes. Teaching students how to deconstruct text will increase their understanding of story and allow them to reconstruct and repurpose it to generate their own content. Drawing upon what students already know about story is an effective technique when building this new literacy skill-set. In the case of Inanimate Alice, a mini-lesson can be taught on what is known about learning about characters in traditional texts (i.e. character thoughts, actions, external character traits, internal character traits, characters reactions to problems and challenges, dialogue). Then stretching thinking to include what elements are important for learning about characters in a digital story such as music, sounds, visual images, games, and puzzles.
Direct instruction on how to read a digital story allows students to have a much deeper level of understanding about Alice as a character. For example, students may understand that the static sound in the story is there to help convey the tension Alice is feeling. Through the music in the story, students will able to determine the tone and mood- feeling uneasiness and happiness at various points in the story. Controlling the ba-xi makes students feel like they are Alice and they can see things from her point of view.
Learning how to effectively weave digital elements into their understanding of story, students are clearly more connected to Alice as a character.