Lamb, Parrot and Usher all provide varying view points on what makes a good digital text (Lamb, 2011; Parrott, 2011; Usher, 2016). While comparing different types of text Lamb provided an overview of the varying types of text a reader may come across when exploring digital texts. Interactive journalism, eBooks and transmedia story telling are vastly different and as such analysing them with a similar framework proved difficult.
When comparing eBooks and Transmedia story telling there were elements of similarity. Parrot discussed that these types of digital literature should have some form of linear framework so the reader is able to develop the story in their mind (Parrott, 2011). When Usher discussed this in relation to Interactive Journalism, the focus was on the ability for an article have a “user driven experience” (Usher, 2016). Based on these examples, when reviewing a text, it assists the reader to develop their own framework based on the key principles developed in literature. Some texts such as Dandelion (Scott Davis, 2012) require the reader to read the text in a more linear format to understand the story being told. In comparison, non fiction texts such as Growing Up in the Early 1900’s (ABC, 2012) and Life Without Power (Hernández, Leaming, & Murphy, 2017) do not depend on the reader reading the text in a linear format but the user experience as still been set out as such for example scrolling functionality. As such, as a reader, I have come to the following framework for good digital texts;
- User functionality –
- Can the user flick between linear and non linear depending on the type of text? If it is a non fiction text the user may only wish to read a small section.
- Does the text present the same on both mobile and web based devices? As we move to receiving more and more on hand-held devices, does the digital text present the same in both experiences?
- User experience –
- Does the text engage the reader through audio, text and/or video? This element is key to immersing the reader in the story.
- Does the text allow the user to scroll seamlessly through text without the need for loading?
My experiences of digital text compared to those of print is vastly different. I reflect on the digital texts I came across during my research such as The Flat (Campbell, 2018), In Pictures: Hurricane Maria Pummels Puerto Rice (Lewin, Roegiers, Tuazon, & Almond, 2017) and Museum of Mario (IGN, 2013) and the experiences each of them presented to me. However I also reflect on texts in a traditional reading form such as Harry Potter (Rowling, 2013), Charlotte’s Web (White, 1999) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Dahl, 2016). While The Flat provided a fully immersive experience with sound, a count down timer and a sense of urgency to find the hidden clues which had been embedded using poetry, J.K Rowling had built a world just as immersive using text on a page. Both provide the reader with a sense of wanting to know more, and a joy of literature. While comprehension is no longer an issue for myself as an adult when comparing the ability for children to comprehend digital texts compared to print texts Mangen, Walgermo & Brønnick (2013) state that the computer presentation is often an issue for children. As I was reading while I found it easy to comprehend what the text was about I often found myself distracted by the videos or sound effects utilised. Referring back to my previous framework for analysing digital texts the same could be used for print texts. How do the author think about user experience in a print text? This is generally thought about through a chapter system or a contents page in non-fiction texts. The same elements all remain but through the use of digital technologies children and adults now have the option to enjoy both print texts and digital texts.
Dandelion aims to take on a big issue for children today, bullying. In my current institution I teach primary children from Kindergarten to Year 7. In 2015 a blog was written about using Dandelion as a means to teach resilience to children (Rosenthal, 2015). The blog stated that the text offered itself to an “analytical discussion” about the real life effects of bullying (Rosenthal, 2015).
In NSW, new PDHPE syllabus for 2019 the following content strands appears as stage 2 outcomes:
“recognise types of abuse and bullying behaviours and identify safe and supportive up stander behaviour and protective strategies (NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), 2018).”
“share ideas, feelings and opinions about the influence of peers and significant others on various issues, eg bullying, discrimination, eating habits and nutrition, drug use, online safety and physical activity levels (NESA, 2018)”
While Dandelion does not offer itself as a discussion about specific copying strategies for bullying it does allow for a discussion around sharing ideas, feelings and opinions about bullying. Additionally, if used as an opening activity in a bullying unit it allows students to recognise the bullying behaviours taking place such as physical bullying and start to identify strategies that could have been utilised by the bystanders who looked on.
ABC. (2012). Growing Up in the Early 1900s. Retrieved from http://education.abc.net.au/home – !/digibook/2810241/growing-up-in-the-early-1900s
Campbell, A. (2018). The Flat. Retrieved from https://dreamingmethods.com/theflat/
Dahl, R. (2016). Charlie and the chocolate factory: Penguin.
Hernández, A. R., Leaming, W., & Murphy, Z. (Producer). (2017). Life Without Power. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/national/puerto-rico-life-without-power/?utm_term=.bb57bf490af2
IGN. (2013). The Museum Of Mario. Retrieved from http://mario.ign.com/
Lamb, A. (2011). Reading Redefined for a Transmedia Universe. Learning and leading with technology., 39(3), 12.
Lewin, L., Roegiers, B., Tuazon, B., & Almond, K. (Producer). (2017). In Pictures: Hurricane Maria Pummels Puerto Rico. Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2017/09/world/hurricane-maria-puerto-rico-cnnphotos/
Mangen, A., Walgermo, B. R., & Brønnick, K. (2013). Reading linear texts on paper versus computer screen: Effects on reading comprehension. International journal of educational research, 58, 61-68.
NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). (2018). PDHPE K-10 Syllabus. Retrieved from http://syllabus.nesa.nsw.edu.au/wps/portal/nesa/k-10/learning-areas/pdhpe/pdhpe-k-10-2018
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/
Rosenthal, A. K. (2015). Inquiry Topic Resources for Resilience. Inquiry.
Rowling, J. K. (2013). Harry Potter and the deathly hallows (Vol. 7): Bloomsbury publishing.
Scott Davis, G. (2012). Dandelion Protein One Pty Ltd.
Usher, N. (2016). Interactive journalism: Hackers, data, and code: University of Illinois Press.
White, E. B. (1999). Charlotte’s web: Lemniscaat Publishers.