ABC Education has produced a series of digital books for children on a range of topics. The text being analysed is ‘Growing Up in the Early 1900s’ and is a series of chapters including videos and text (ABC, 2012) and highlights key aspects of life for a child in the 1900s. The text is recommended for school age children from Kindergarten to Year Six.
Parrott discusses an evaluative framework for apps and eBooks based on the following questions:
- “Does it expand and enhance the traditional reading experience?
- Does it allow for a linear reading experience?
- Does it engage multiple literacies and learning styles?
- Is it intelligently designed?
- Does it have longevity? (Parrott, 2011)”
Lamb’s discussion on enhanced eBooks also forms part of the evaluative framework when discussing the inclusion of multimodal formats such as embedded media (Lamb, 2011). Parrott’s framework was chosen for this text as it provides a framework for interactive eBooks while Lamb’s article on a Transmedia Universe is used as support (Lamb, 2011; Parrott, 2011).
The first question posed by Parrott considered the enhancement of a traditional reading experience for the view (Parrott, 2011). As you open the text, Growing Up in the Early 1900’s you are immediately presented with a picture of boys with a wide array of facial expressions.
Similar to a text experience this allows the reader to predict and reflect on what the text may be about and the intended audience and purpose. The text also allows the reader the opportunity to both view written text and videos. As the past is a difficult concept for young children the use of videos enhances the readers experience to read what life was like but to also view photographs and videos as a source of information.
This text allows for both linear and non-linear reading. Parrott discusses the need for the eBook to not diminish from the narrative story line (Parrott, 2011), however as this text is an information text this is less of an issue as the reader can skip to a part that interests them. Conversely, in reading it in a linear fashion the reader is able to follow the schedule of a day and this would assist the reader in building a picture of the day. There is more importance on the “production and consumption of images” in a electronic environment then a focus on a linear reading experience (Unsworth, 2006). However Unsworth states that there should still be an integrative approach to images and writing which carry meaning (Unsworth, 2006). Allowing the reader to form an attachment to the pictures located closely to the text the reader is still able to form meaning even though the text may not be read in a linear way.
Lamb examines the use of embedded media in eBooks especially texts of non-fiction genre (Lamb, 2011). Growing Up in the Early 1900s has opportunities to engage the reader in both videos and text and draw in reluctant readers to information and knowledge. Students must form connections with texts in order for them to make relationships in their minds with old knowledge and new knowledge (Kajder, 2006). Growing Up in the Early 1900’s allows this as students can use their prior knowledge of their own life and their daily routine.
Flexibility and the intuitive nature of an eBook allows the reader to feel compelled to keep reading (Parrott, 2011). While the text provides small click through buttons in the left hand corner this could be enhanced. The overall look of the book provides a functional usability while lacking an overall pleasing aesthetic feel.
The text is linked to key outcomes required for the age of children it is intended to be read by (NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), 2016). This provides the text with longevity as teachers can utilise the text within the classroom. If this text was not linked to key learning outcomes the text may only be utilised by readers who are interested in learning more about the past. Linked with the Sydney Living Museum website it provides the reader with more information.
Growing Up in the Early 1900s allows the reader to feel connected to the past by the integration of text, pictures and videos seamlessly. It could be further enhanced by a more aesthetically pleasing outlook and user friendly functionality however it meets its intended purpose to inform young readers about life in the past through the journey of a day.
ABC. (2012). Growing Up in the Early 1900s. Retrieved from http://education.abc.net.au/home – !/digibook/2810241/growing-up-in-the-early-1900s
Kajder, S. B. (2006). Bringing the outside in: Visual ways to engage reluctant readers: Stenhouse Publishers.
Lamb, A. (2011). Reading Redefined for a Transmedia Universe. Learning and leading with technology., 39(3), 12.
NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). (2016). History K-10 Syllabus. Retrieved from http://syllabus.nesa.nsw.edu.au/hsie/history-k10/
Parrott, K. (2011). 5 Questions To Ask When Evaluating Apps and E-Books. Retrieved from http://www.alsc.ala.org/blog/2011/07/5-questions-to-ask-when-evaluating-apps-and-ebooks/
Unsworth, L. (2006). E-literature for children : enhancing digital literacy learning. London ;: Routledge.