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English Teaching and New Literacies Pedagogy

Interpreting and Authoring Digital Multimedia Narratives

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Edited By Len Unsworth and Angela Thomas

English Teaching and New Literacies Pedagogy: Interpreting and Authoring Digital Multimedia Narratives is about the fusion of media and narrative, and explores theoretical and practical dimensions of young people’s engagement with contemporary forms of text. It showcases a range of critical interpretative approaches for integrating multimedia narratives into English teaching contexts, including animated films such as Shaun Tan’s The Lost Thing, digital novels such as Inanimate Alice and 5 Haitis, and a virtual treatment of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. English teachers across grade levels will recognize the valuing of literature and will appreciate the practical pedagogy and fostering of creativity as students are encouraged to explore new forms of narrative. In the context of developing expertise in knowing how multimodal texts work, students can apply that knowledge in their own authoring of digital multimedia narratives.
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Chapter 12: Virtual Macbeth: Using Virtual Worlds to Explore Literary Texts

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← 232 | 233 → CHAPTER TWELVE

Using Virtual Worlds to Explore Literary Texts

Over the past decade, there seems to have been a widespread shift from children in the role of mere consumers and receivers of digital texts into a new type of child, one who has become an innovative producer of multimedia digital texts. In addition to children consuming and participating within the cultural communities associated with digital texts, the most recent research has demonstrated how children are playing, experimenting, and manipulating the affordances of digital texts for their own pleasures and purposes. Children are creating and managing their own online communities (Thomas, 2004; Unsworth, Thomas, Simpson, & Asha, 2005); participating in online fan fiction communities (Black, 2004; Lankshear & Knobel, 2004; Thomas, 2005); creating role-playing Web forums (Thomas, 2005, 2007); creating, writing for, and editing their own zines (Web magazines) (Lankshear & Knobel, 2005); and publishing their own multimedia weblogs, including photoblogs and podcasts (Lankshear & Knobel, 2006). Furthermore, many children spend hours helping each other to learn the discursive and social practices around virtual communities, willingly volunteering their time and efforts to help their friends become insiders of the communities. Through this, they are developing values, citizenship, and ethics through their participation in the communities in which such texts are produced (Lankshear & Knobel, 2006; Thomas, 2007).

Notwithstanding these emergent phenomena, it is quite clear that children are simply not receiving the schooled apprenticeships into the “digisphere” (Lankshear & Knobel, 2005) that are...

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