Digital Convergence

New media literacies are opening doors for students to become more creative, expressive, knowledgeable, resourceful, social… the list goes on. Digital convergence has created a whole new world of endless stories with multiple outcomes that students can explore. Digital convergence has bought media literacies together. Interactive apps are taking over the place books once held in the classroom. Rather than reading a book that begins from one set access point, transmedia allows students access from his/her own desired destination (Alper & Herr-Stephenson, 2013). Rather than setting a task for students to complete in a workbook, teachers can give students a topic or website to explore. Exploration in the digital world may not have one explicit learning goal, this leaves room for different interpretations. Students are participating by interacting with new media by finding, assembling and reassembling information (Alper & Herr-Stephenson, 2013).

Children will explore different communities through digital convergence. Information will be accessible to students through different discourses. The biology community may share facts about frogs and another link from the same webpage may have instructions from the art community on how to build frogs out of paper. Perhaps another link leads students to a movie that features a Muppet frog named Kermit. Students may then progress on to an interactive app with an educational game about frogs.

There are endless learning opportunities for students with access to computers in the classroom. But now consider this, digital convergence is not limited to what students do on a desktop or laptop. Digital convergence includes many other activities such as reading an eBook or playing open-ended video games (Alper & Herr-Stephenson, 2013). Digital convergence has created new storytelling pathways. When first introduced to the concept of embracing a digital world in modern classrooms one was adamant that it was to be the downfall of society. No longer would children be social in a real-world sense, and the standards for the academic pathways in the Curriculum would begin to drop. A different perspective on digital convergence provided by a unit in ‘Teaching and Learning in the Digital World’ proved useful in dramatically changing my views to embrace digital technologies as the children of today are. Learning should be shaped to incorporate the interests of students of the current era so that they can find value and meaning in learning.  

References

Alper, M., Herr-Stephenson, R. (2013). Transmedia Play: Literacy across Media. Retrieved from https://lms.curtin.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-3821605-dt-content-rid-22166148_1/courses/EDUC1000-FacHum-1183084446/EDUC1000-FacHum-1183084446_ImportedContent_20151214124648/Transmedia%20Play_%20Literacy%20Across%20Media.pdf.

Nesland, T. (2012). ARCHIDIS: Cultural heritage, digital convergence and the archival perspective (IMAGE). Retrieved from https://trinenesland.com/2012/07/30/archidis-cultural-heritage-digital-convergence-and-the-archival-perspective/.

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Participation and the Digital Divide

Vulnerable people are being left behind by the digital revolution (Bentley, 2014). The digital world is now responsible for a vast majority of communications, commerce and information sharing among other uses. Bentley (2014) states that the Australian government could reduce the amount of tax payer money allocated to Centrelink if all users made claims and inquiries online. Bentley (2014) also estimates that one in five Australians are without access to internet. These Australians are left without easy access to government services and job searches.

Bentley (2014) also believes that the Australian economy would prosper from closing the digital divide. 100 online transactions can be done in the time it takes for one face to face sale to be completed (Bentley, 2014). Higher sales rates will enable money to be cycled quicker through the economy. The cost of computer hardware has declined over recent years meaning most Australians can afford to have a relatively cheap computer or digital device in the home. However, affordable and reliable broadband is still sparse. Australians in rural areas and those of low socioeconomic status are still being excluded from the digital revolution. Internet company Telstra has formed a ‘Access for everyone’ program that will supposedly cut down the cost of internet services to those struggling in Australia. However, reports suggest the cost of internet through Telstra’s ‘Access for everyone’ is not low enough to be considered affordable to those in need (Bentley, 2014).

In Europe having access to internet is considered a basic human right. The lack of effort given to bridging the digital divide in Australia gives the impression that internet services are of less importance to the economy and well-being of struggling Australians. One remembers back a few years ago to when wireless broadband was going to be free in select suburbs surrounding the city. I live in a suburb connected to the wireless broadband network but am yet to be able to connect to, and therefore benefit from this network. Has anyone else noticed that they are still paying for internet that should supposedly be supplied to their home free of charge. Perhaps more questions should be made to the local and state government as to where this tax paid funding has gone and give them a push in the right direction of abolishing the digital divide and taking the lead of Europe to enable all to have access to the internet.

More information on the Digital Divide

References

Bentley, P. (2014). Lack of affordable broadband causing ‘digital divide’. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-02/bridging-the-digital-divide/5566644.

Nanchev, L. (2013). The digital divide and the complexities of the digital era (IMAGE). Retrieved from http://spotlight-universityofbedfordshire.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/the-digital-divide-and-complexities-of.html.

Transmedia

Transmedia is a new platform for children to develop media literacy skills. Transmedia draws away from the linear act of reading printed text such as books. Rather than reading a book from start to finish, transmedia allows children and adults alike to revisit the story and engage with the media. According to Prensky (2008) children find traditional classroom work boring and become disengaged. Transmedia gives students more opportunities to interact with digital technologies and media. The interactive nature of transmedia encourages student participation and digital citizenship.

Transmedia causes one to feel anxieties which stem from an existing techno-phobia. I am a self-proclaimed digital immigrant. Others like to assume that being relatively young entitles one to the secrets of the inner workings of twenty-first century technological devices. However, unlike those of the millennial age a time is remembered when a computer-like device was a rarity in households. The Windows 95 was introduced to the home when one was in the latter years of primary school. One had already adapted to the old-fashioned lateral ways of reading literature in the classroom. One has grown adamant against alternatives to these old school teaching methods.

A benefit of transmedia is that digital citizenship is welcome to all willing to gain citizenship. Transmedia has created so much more (cyber)space to explore. Transmedia is the obvious next course for the evolution of storytelling. Johnson (n.d.) describes how storytelling has already evolved from the verbal telling of bible stories to graphic representations of these stories. Early images of bible stories are early examples of transmedia. Now take these bibles stories and images and create from them movies. These stories have evolved across media (Johnson, n.d.). Various stakeholders are able to have an impact on how these stories are shared and shaped and this allows for different contexts to change how each person interprets and interacts with a story. No longer does a story have one finite ending and that is worth celebrating and embracing.

References

Johnson, D. (n.d.). A history of transmedia entertainment. Retrieved from http://spreadablemedia.org/essays/johnson/#.VyLgrEc5zDT.

Prensky, M. (2008). The 21st-century digital learner. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/ikid-digital-learner-technology-2008.

Eventbrite. (2016). Transmedia Storyworlds: Creating and Managing Your Content (IMAGE). Retrieved from http://www.eventbrite.com/e/transmedia-storyworlds-creating-and-managing-your-content-tickets-7887576955.