Exploring innovative digital literature and using socially networked reading sites in classroom settings

This is a direct crosspost from the INF533 discussion forum.
Innovative Digital Literature
          As I have mentioned before (Simon, 2018), I really enjoyed Device 6 (Simogo AB, 2014). It is one of the few (perhaps the only) longer form pieces of digital literature that I have found over the past 6 weeks that I have actually completed. I think one reason for that is the whole immersion vs engagement argument (Skaines, 2010). While I do appreciate immersion and have been known to get thoroughly “lost in a book”, I am also a fan of puzzles and interactive engagement in narrative games (though I do have an irritatingly low frustration threshold).  The blending of puzzle interaction and narrative using iPad affordances, such as gyroscopic sensors to navigate through the text, was the perfect combination for me.
          I am still exploring the hypertext puzzle narrative event Planetarium. Unlike transmedia narratives like The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, which once they have been released as an event are not able to be experienced in the same gradual release, serial, episodic format again, Planetarium has been around for over twenty years and is still released to each new reader in the same gradual format – with access to a new episode on a weekly basis over twelve weeks. I am enjoying it and am intrigued by it, but I am finding it easy to forget about it and lose track of releases. Time will tell whether it holds my attention until the finish.
           I have had more difficulty in identifying digital literature sites that are innovative, appropriate for use in a primary classroom, and affordable for me to access and use as a casual teacher. I have viewed the first two episodes of Inanimate Alice (The Bradfield Company Ltd., 2005-2018) and briefly glanced at the webcomic that bridges the time between those episodes. While I do believe that Inanimate Alice continues to innovate, the older episodes are more appropriately classified as “innovative for their time”. Being dependent on Flash, they face the possibility of becoming obsolete if not updated. I have not yet paid the price to investigate the more recent offerings, but can see that lack of access to earlier episodes might well have negative consequences for later episodes in the series.

Social Networking Sites
          Since I work in primary school, my students are under 13 years of age. That makes it illegal for them to create accounts on many social networking sites, such as Goodreads (Goodreads, 2018). From my investigations, it seems that Inside a Book (State Library of Victoria, n.d.) does not have that restriction, so I would love to investigate the possibility of using it as a place for students to read and write book reviews and perhaps participate in the book club discussions. These will be easier to implement if I am on a temporary contract or secure a position as a Teacher Librarian.
Beholder. (1996-1998). Planetarium. Retrieved from https://www.beholder.uk/planetarium/
Goodreads. (2018). Terms of use. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/about/terms
Simogo AB. (2014). Device 6 [Mobile software application]. Retrieved from iOS App Store.
Simon, M. (2018, August 5). Picking literature to review [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/mrssimonsays/2018/08/05/picking-literature-to-review/
Skaines, 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
State Library of Victoria. (n.d.). Inside a dog. Retrieved from https://insideadog.com.au
The Bradfield Company Ltd. (2005-2018). Inanimate Alice. Retrieved from https://inanimatealice.com

2 thoughts on “Exploring innovative digital literature and using socially networked reading sites in classroom settings

  1. What sort of age range would you recommend Device 6 for?

    Have you looked at Framed? It’s a paid app and (unless it’s been updated) I remember thinking it was reasonably expensive for the length of time it took to finish it (I bought it when it was first released).

    1. I would recommend Device 6 for adults and perhaps teens. It is creepy and it contains cigarette use and some mature-ish themes (in the sci-fi/horror genre). As a novel, I would put it at least into YA category. I would let both of my high school children (Year 7-12 y.o. and Year 10-15 y.o.) read-experience it but would most likely not use it in a classroom situation in primary school. It is probably more Fahrenheit-451 and Brave New World level versus Animal Farm and 1984 level (though it has been a long time since I’ve read those, so I might need a refresher!)

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