TRANSMEDIA: The wave
Watch the Portlandia Technology Loop ideo.
iPhone, iTouch, iPad, Kindles, Nooks, GPS devices, laptops, books, augmented reality headsets... we're experiencing a wave of technology. It's easy to get overwhelmed by the choices.
Transmedia... readers seamlessly move from technology to technology experiencing and participating in the story.
Even J.K. Rowling and her famous Harry Potter books are becoming part of this new wave. Go to Pottermore, then watch the preview video. This new online environment provides access to print, audio and e-books. Participants are sorted, then become involved in interactive stories, role playing, and games. The social networking aspect allows participants to part of character and story creation and collaborative storytelling.
iBook Textbooks like Life on Earth are just the beginning of the transmedia trend in textbooks.
Let's explore four elements of these new transmedia environments including storytelling, interactive media, gaming, and social media:
Start small. Explore each technology and think about how it works best for you. Begin with a Kindle and a selection of e-books like Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. Sample books on your Mac or PC before buying. Then, add enhanced e-books containing audio, video, and images like Life by Keith Richards.
Teens are drawn to biographies with multimedia elements. For instance, Reckless Road: Guns N'Roses contains multimedia enhancements including online extras. You can also go to the website or Facebook page.
From Facebook links to threaded discussions, many books are making social technology connections. For instance, Journals: Middle School Love and War is an e-book and digital diary. It's also a podcast and advice column.
Download the Kindle software and sample a Kindle book. How does this change the reading experience? How do the tools contribute to the experience?
Kindle Download Page
Kindle Store Page (when you search for books, look for the SAMPLE option on the right)
Next, explore digital storytelling. Rather the using text to tell the story, these multimedia narratives are told using digital tools such as graphics, audio, animation, and video. Some of these stories are now adding elements such as Google Earth images, Google maps street view, and other Web 2.0-type tools.
Try The Wilderness Downtown with your home town. Notice how Google images are used.
Google Maps are integrated into the story 21 Steps.
Interactive Media Elements
You'll also find lots of web-based stories and comics. Some include animation, sounds and other elements. Many have non-linear, interactive elements.
The interactive fairy tale lets participants add their own ideas.
Some projects incorporate elements of Augmented Reality. This involves connecting a real or fictional story to a real or fictional place. The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi takes place in an alternate universe. A graphic from the book is used to enter and explore an interactive map. Participants can see this world using the viewing devices in the book along with a website. Watch a video of The Search for Wondla AR from YouTube.
Other examples of Augmented Reality include virtual museum tours like the AMNH Explorer app that can be used to chart a course through the museum. The Carl Bloch: The Master's Hand app explores a museum exhibit. Watch the Museum iPad video from YouTube. Get an account at Layar. Create augmented maps with Hoppala and connect them with Layar.
Beginning thinking about how a story can be told and retold different ways using new technology. For instance, Winter's Tail is a picture book, but there's also a website that allows children to retell the story through song, video, and games.
When gaming elements are added to storytelling, exciting narrative learning games emerge. Ko's Journey is an immersive, online interactive middle school math game and curriculum supplement.
The Amanda Project website allows participants to create a character and become involved in the evolution of the book series.
With Fairy Godmother Academy participants use social networking and online resources and games to participate in the world.
Many intermediate and young adult books also have these elements. In many cases they also include social technology elements. One of the best known is the 39 clues series. The Rodent's Gazette is the website for the Geronimo Stilton book series. Thirteen Days to Midnight incorporates a web-based element where you can enter a scene from the book.
Many authors of books for intermediate readers and young adults are incorporating these interactive elements. For instance Rick Riordan has games and other materials to go with his books. He also has different versions of the same book. For instance, Red Pyramid will be available as both a traditional book and a graphic novel.
Some resources even have Facebook pages for characters. However be sure to consider age-appropriateness. Jack and the Bean Stalk is an app that contains a website where you can Meet the Characters. Check out Jack's Mother's Facebook Page.
There are many ways to experience a story. Explore the resources on this page. Think about how your students currently experience storytelling, interactive media, gaming, and social media. How are these elements coming together?