Transmedia Narrative and New Age Learning – Teaching Literature effectively | Adamas University

Transmedia Narrative and New Age Learning – Teaching Literature effectively

Education, Literature

Transmedia Narrative and New Age Learning – Teaching Literature effectively

transmedia narrativeThe worldwide lock down has shifted the teaching learning experience entirely on to the digital platform. As teachers we often ponder on the question as to how to engage our students more effectively when the only medium available is the internet. In the absence of a direct interaction, getting the student’s attention becomes quite challenging. In such a scenario an alternative method of evoking interest in the students is experiential learning. This not only makes studying interesting, but it also provides a more holistic approach to a student’s understanding. In this context I would like to talk about using Transmedia Narrative in the teaching learning process. Though this can be used across various disciplines, as a faculty of English Literature, I will be focusing mainly on the domain of literature.

What is Transmedia Narrative?

The traditional method of studying a text has been textual analysis through lectures. In the present age only depending on explanation of a text through lectures becomes quite insufficient. This is where Transmedia Narrative plays a very important role. Before moving forward, I would like to discuss what this particular form of narrative refers to. The manner in which literary texts are consumed are no longer restricted to passively reading a text whether in the form of a hard copy or its electronic copy. Transmedia narrative refers to the various mediums which can be used to depict a particular literary text like a movie, a game, interactive fiction, comic strip, art , installation to name a few. When a literary work is presented through the different mediums, its representation and consumption, greatly differs from one to the other. Passive consumption has been replaced by immersive learning which transforms the passive audience to an active one in most cases.

Tools of learning through transmedia storytelling:

There are various mediums available in the market today which could be exploited to cater to the differing student understanding. Read ahead to know more about the various platforms at the disposal of teaching professionals to creatively engage their students in the process of learning.

  • Movie adaptations has been the earliest form of transmedia representation of a text. Movies help the readers to put the text in context and acquire greater understanding through its visual representation. This was followed by games based on texts. In this medium the audience becomes an active participant in the unfolding of the narratives. One such example is the Lord of the Rings multiplayer online game. This game is closely structured on J.R.R Tolkien’s The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings series. There are multiple quests in the game and how it is played depends entirely on the players. There is a choice of characters built on the characters appearing in the novels. The story world gives a better understanding of the text as the students can access the characters and setting directly.
  • Interactive fiction is another medium which provides the students with the option of active participants. One of the foremost software used for interactive fiction is Inkle. Interactive fiction allows the reader to read a text in the sequence which he/she chooses to follow. As a reader the student can choose one ending out of multiple endings each with a different plot line.
  • Minecraft is another tool which can be used to create story worlds based on the settings of text which can then be traversed by the students. This helps in retaining important details pertaining to a particular text. ArcGIS storymaps can be used to chart the places included in a text. Teachers can use existing story maps or make one.

Digital platform has become indispensable to teaching learning pedagogy in the present time. These tools and the sphere of transmedia narrative can be used for the dissemination of knowledge of any discipline. Though this form becomes essential during the long periods of lockdown, its use can be continued beyond the time of isolation as the education industry has started moving towards the digital domain as a major effect of the Covid-19 outbreak.

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