Response comment to: Bec Spink – Reflecting on Digital Literature
I was most interested in your observations on incorporating digital literature in the classroom. And yet, as I attempt to respond to your posting, after a few minutes of futile scrolling up and down as I tried to reply and refer back to what you have written, in an attempt to resist printing out your post in order to do this successfully (how did everyone else do this?) I have taken an interlude to email myself with my fellow student’s blog post addresses and to open the posts on my iPad and with twisted neck and dual screens perched in discomfort I continue*. And there lies the rub, that so many have hiccupped against – that lack of linearity, the unfamiliarity, the medium (Cull, 2011; Liu, Liao, & Guo, 2009; Nilsson, 2010; Skains, 2010; Walker, Jameson, & Ryan, 2010; Walsh, 2013). That need to jump around, and while jumping find the train of thought has escaped, perhaps to be regained perhaps not.
I digress. I cannot avoid, you are right. But should I have tweeted my response? I just did. Because I could
I see teachers all around me tweeting. But not to / with their students. I ask them about digital literature, and they look horrified. Too new, too experimental. It’s hard enough getting parents to appreciate YA ala John Green or Sherman Alexie (what is it with all that swearing? What about the classics? Why can’t they do Jane Austen?) – #Beow100 (Madrigal, 2014; Treharne, 2014) or The Lizzie Bennet diary (Francus, 2013; Pemberley Digital, 2013; Su, Noble, Rorick, & Austen, 2014) won’t cut it. And the students, they’re blogging! But they can’t write a letter or an essay. And the spelling is appalling. In my day…
And yet it is wonderful. But. I think educators are afraid. And perhaps justifiably so. Sure, there are some for whom this is so distant that it may not exist. There are some with an inkling, some exposure and the tingling of excitement. They can incorporate what someone else has done into their lessons. The librarians can put bits of multi-media and multi-modality into their libguides (I know I do). But in attempting to create full blown authentic edutainment, the type that needs a cast of thousands and not “Captain my captain” standing on a table we are powerless. We do not lack in imagination, nor dreaming or envisioning the possibilities. We lack in the skills, the time, the patience to fiddle around and budgets to bring them to fruition. So we languish with other’s interpretations and like a person in a dark corridor with one faint glimmer of light, knock our heads and stub our toes, bumping alternately between our students who demand and need more and different and administrators and parents who hanker after a more certain and fixed past.
Cull, B. . (2011). Reading revolutions: Online digital text and implications for reading in academe | Cull | First Monday. First Monday, 16(6). Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3340/2985
Francus, M. (2013, October 22). Pride and Prejudice Goes Interactive: “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.” Video presented at the Pride and Prejudice: The Bicentennial, Paper 5. Retrieved from http://corescholar.libraries.wright.edu/celia_pride/conference/october11/5
Liu, S., Liao, S., & Guo, J. (2009). Surviving in the digital age by utilizing libraries’ distinctive advantages. The Electronic Library, 27(2), 298–307. doi:10.1108/02640470910947647
Madrigal, A. (2014, January 10). The Elegance of Beowulf in 100 Tweets – The Atlantic. Retrieved August 19, 2014, from http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/01/the-elegance-of-beowulf-in-100-tweets/282989/
Nilsson, M. (2010). Developing Voice in Digital Storytelling Through Creativity, Narrative and Multimodality. International Journal of Media, Technology and Lifelong Learning, 6(2), 148–160. Retrieved from http://seminar.net/index.php/volume-6-issue-2-2010/154-developing-voice-in-digital-storytelling-through-creativity-narrative-and-multimodality
Pemberley Digital. (2013, August 22). Emmy Award Winning, Interactive Web Series “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” Immerses Fans into Jane Austen’s Timeless Classic [Press Release]. Retrieved August 20, 2014, from http://www.lizziebennet.com/press-release/
Skains, R. L. (2010). The Shifting Author–Reader Dynamic: Online Novel Communities as a Bridge from Print to Digital Literature. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 16(1), 95–111. doi:10.1177/1354856509347713
Su, B., Noble, K., Rorick, K., & Austen, J. (2014). The secret diary of Lizzie Bennet. London ; Sydney: Simon & Schuster.
Treharne, E. (2014, January 9). Beowulf in a Hundred Tweets : #Beow100 [[Web log post]]. Retrieved August 20, 2014, from http://historyoftexttechnologies.blogspot.sg/2014/01/beowulf-in-hundred-tweets-beow100.html
Walker, S., Jameson, J., & Ryan, M. (2010). Skills and strategies for e-learning in a participatory culture (Ch. 15). In R. Sharpe, H. Beetham, & S. Freitas (Eds.), Rethinking learning for a digital age: How learners are shaping their own experiences (pp. 212–224). New York, NY: Routledge.
Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment. In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers (pp. 181–194). Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).
* I cannot even workout why my image isn’t upright and how to fix it quickly. What hope is there for me to create a singing and dancing multi-modal digital story?