My learning throughout the subject of INF533 has allowed a deeper focus on digital texts and the literature that is present in digital environments. The overall theme of the modules flowed seamlessly from knowledge acquisition to an understanding of the practical components associated with digital literature.
In my initial reflections on the discussion forum I discussed the text My Place (Blue Rocket Productions, 2009-2011) which was originally published as a book but through the ABC had been republished as a digital text. I found myself reflecting on this particular text, as I had used it recently within my classroom. My initial reflections were quiet vague, while I was unpacking knowledge presented during the modules (Ryall, 2018b). I engaged with a peer in the discussion about how our ideas around digital texts were emerging as they had not previously considered the text a digital one (Ryall, 2018b). Early in the semester I came across the work of Walsh which surprised and allowed me to again question some of my own misconceptions (Walsh, 2010). Walsh’s work primarily forms part of a conversation around the role of multimodal texts in student learning (Walsh, 2010). As a teacher who has always integrated digital and multimodal texts I had not yet considered the impact, if any, they could have on students reading. Through this research I began to unpack what literature in digital environments could look like.
In my initial blog post (2018a) I highlighted an article titled The Reading Brain in the Digital Age by Jabr (2013). The article highlighted some of the difficulties children experience when reading digital texts. In particular, I discussed the complexities in not being able to see where the text ends. As an early year’s teacher in a school with a strong system focus on reading, it was an interesting article. I began to inquire into what I knew about teaching from digital texts in the early years and drew upon a new level of understanding from experts.
In module 3 of the content material, I discovered some digital texts I had not come across before (Croft, 2018). Laura Rhodes, a fellow student, posted in the discussion forum about having the time to explore some of these great resources (Rhodes, 2018) which was something I resonated with. This subject has highlighted how the interactive interfaces of digital texts can provide endless opportunities to students. Through discovering digital texts throughout this course, I found myself listening and sharing ideas with others in various means and modes.
I found the course content practical as I immersed in the work of Staley & Freeman to understand how using digital texts could be more deeply student centred (Staley & Freeman, 2017). Module five’s focus on interactive authoring tools assisted as I began to delve into an understanding of how digital texts are composed. Using the work of Nokelainen, I formed a greater understanding on how learner control and flexibility could be integrated into a final digital product (Nokelainen, 2006). This module not only provided a spring board for the final assignment it also was a turning point within the semester as I began to understand how the process of story boarding, creating and evaluating a digital text comes together. Additionally, module five provided the opportunity to explore some digital platforms that I had not experienced before, again highlighting the practical nature of the subject.
Later in the modules I came across a case that Google had Won in regards to copyright laws (Pike, 2013). I had recorded in my notes that while initially I knew very little about copyright laws this made the content practical. I weighed up the legal and moral issues I felt with reproducing an original text into a digital form and I came back upon the SAMR model (Puentedura, 2010). While the reproduction of the texts falls into substitution of the text it still provides a purpose for the audience. This lawsuit has provided Google the opportunity to substitute texts for what I imagine is millions of users. When I reflect on the final assignment, I also referred to the SAMR model and thought about how what I could produce could fit into the model. I felt a sense of excitement associated with redefining something that previously could not be accomplished without the use of digital tools.
As I reflect on INF533 it is clear that all story telling, digital or otherwise, must start with pedagogical understanding at the forefront. The modules endeavoured to convey this and many discussions were had within the forum highlighting this. By first looking at the content you wish to cover and choosing the text or tool to suit the learning, the learning is vastly more rich and worthwhile for students and teachers alike.
Blue Rocket Productions. (2009 – 2011). My Place [Website]. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/abc3/myplace/.
Croft, T. (2018). Module 3: Interactive texts and Interfaces. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/execute/displayLearningUnit?course_id=_32816_1&content_id=_2129670_1
Jabr, F. (2013). The reading brain in the digital age: The science of paper versus screens. Scientific American, April 11. Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/
Nokelainen, P. (2006). An empirical assessment of pedagogical usability criteria for digital learning material with elementary school students. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 9(2).
Pike, G. H. (2013). Legal Issues: A Win for Google Books… Maybe.
Puentedura, R. (2010). SAMR and TPCK: Intro to advanced practice. Retrieved February, 12, 2013.
Rhodes, L. (2018). Digital Environments. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_32816_1&nav=discussion_board_entry&conf_id=_59197_1&forum_id=_125932_1&message_id=_1911730_1
Ryall, A. (2018a). Assignment 1 Reflective Journal. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/angelaryall/2018/07/22/assignment-1-reflective-journal/
Ryall, A. (2018b). My (limited) experiences with digital narratives and synergy. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_32816_1&conf_id=_59197_1&forum_id=_125929_1&message_id=_1892704_1&nav=discussion_board_entry
Staley, B., & Freeman, L. A. (2017). Digital storytelling as student-centred pedagogy: empowering high school students to frame their futures. Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 12(1), 21.
Walsh, M. (2010). Multimodal literacy: What does it mean for classroom practice? Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, The, 33(3), 211.