Transmedia in Learning

The growth and advancement in digital technologies has allowed us to rethink, restructure and redefine teaching and learning spaces (Flemming, 2013). Further, an advancement in and convergence of media across multiple platforms (ie. transmedia) is enabling us to tell and experience stories in new and exciting ways. For instance, learning through augmented and virtual environments has been shown to promote the learners’ engagement in the learning process due to the heightened emotional investment that these platforms illicit. In this way, transmedia is helping teachers to navigate the educational syllabus through media in a seamless and interactive fashion (Flemming, 2013).

Jonassen (1999) believed that active participation was a key factor to meaningful learning. Perhaps this is why transmedia modes of story telling and learning have proved to be successful. Educational activities that can be enacted via the virtual world include navigation of spaces (e.g. simulation of an environment such as a library, school, or church); interactively exploring theoretical concepts (e.g. with other avatars in the program or objects in simulated locations); performance of activities that perhaps would be difficult to perform in reality (e.g. surgery, working with chemical compounds); and role playing activities (Mateu et al, 2015. By requiring students to navigate these virtual and augmented spaces individually, transmedia allows for the locus of control in education to switch from teacher to learner. Augmented reality in classrooms also allows for a more enriched learning experiences as it can take text-book learning to an more engaging level. An example is with the Element 4D Wooden Blocks by Daqri. Each face of these blocks show the name of a chemical element, but when paired with the app students are able to see how these element react with each other.

4D element blocks © Daqri

It seems an exciting time in the world of education, as the conversion of media platforms presents more ways for students to engage with their subject matter at a more meaningful level. I believe this will reign particularly true for those to whom conventional textbook learning methods do not appeal.

References:

Fleming, L 2013, ‘Expanding Learning Opportunities with Transmedia Practices: Inanimate Alice as an Exemplar’, Journal of Media Literacy Education, vol. 5, no. 2.

Jonassen, D H, 1999, Designing constructivist learning environments. Instructional-Design Theories and Models: A New Paradigm of Instructional Theory, pp. 215–239.

Mateu, J Lasal, M J & Alaman, X 2015, Developing Mixed Reality Educational Applications: The Virtual Touch Toolkit, Sensors, vol. 15, no. 9.

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