The Networked Book In a Digital Story – Week 13 Response to Required Reading

I was drawn to chapter 8 in The New Digital Storytelling because I wanted to find out more about the concept of the networked book. Alexander states that the networked book will “actively embrace networking” through one of two approaches. First the networked book will strive to link to other media that support the narrative and will seek to be linked from other sources. Secondly, and for me the more engaging process, are networked books that are characterized by the digital interaction between creator and audience.  The idea of a networked book fits very nicely with how my perspective of digital stories has developed. Before I would have focused on digital tools as the definition for digital storytelling, but as networked books illiterate, the digital story is more about reaching and embracing a specific audience though digital communication. 

This communication can be in the form of real time commentary and discussion by the audience or communication that leads to shape the developments in the narrative. Real time commentary plays out in the comment section of networked books where people share points of views about the creative work and debate points from the narrative. These discussions become part of the narrative itself because the discussions not only because they are attached to the piece in the comment sections but because as the audience reads or participates in the discussion their perspective and understanding of the creative work will alter and their overall experience will evolve. The interactive nature of networked books also means there is an opportunity for direct communication between abundance and creator. I have experienced this phenomenon in my studies this semester, in the critiques of digital comics I have done I have tried to mention the author. This has been a nerve-racking experience because I am fearful what they will think of my opinions, but despite my concerns I have gotten one like and one retweet. This contact felt awesome and has given me a new connections to each of those digital stories. The next level of this interaction is to not only acknowledge the input from the audience but for the creators to further develop the narrative based off communication from the audience.

I while looking for digital comics to critique this semester I came across a webcomic that is attempting to create a networked book through audience participation. In Dice With the Universe viewers are asked to roll a die and post their results in the comment section. The comic is interesting and the concept has far reaching possibilities, I do think that the quick turnaround – between the end of a strip and the update with a new strip – is too short and it limits the directions this webcomic can go. I believe the stories could be more robust by implementing two ideas. First give more time between episodes, so that audience ideas can be fleshed out more and fit more seamlessly in the narritive. Second invite more audience participation and elicit more detailed suggestions for plot lines or even character dialogue.  

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The Networked Book In a Digital Story – Week 13 Response to Required Reading

Blogging on Blogs, Whoa, Meta – A Response to Required Text Week 11

*THIS POST IS PART OF A CONTINUING SERIES OF RESPONSES TO ASSIGNED READINGS FOR LEARNING WITH DIGITAL STORIES, A MASTER LEVEL COURSE I AM ENROLLED IN AT UC DENVER.

For my response to required text this week I have chosen to read L&K chapter 5 Blogs and Wikis. I was surprised that these two digital mediums were paired together in the same chapter. My mindset before reading this chapter was that blogs and wikis were as different as digital mediums as could be and that the chapter would focus on contrasting the two mediums. But as I found out in my reading there are many similarities between the two and are a perfect match to share a chapter.

Main Insights from the chapter

I had utilitarian knowledge of blogs and wikis before reading this chapter. I don’t think I had ever read any formal text about either, I just had developed my understanding from using them or from word of mouth. I was really interested by L&K’s comparison of blogs to a piece of paper. It works so well as a comparison for me because like paper a blog is a place to store your ideas as text. I think, however, a closer comparison would be to a newspaper column, without editorial oversight. For me paper, or more specifically notebooks, are my private storage of ideas but a blog is public, like a column. Unlike a column the independent author of a blog had complete editorial control. Freeing the author to tell whatever story in whatever way they want.

 I knew that wikis were created through community contributions of content, but I had assumed that the structure was like volunteers working are an event. People giving their time but a overarching structure that was directing the actions of those philanthropists. I had no idea how involved the contributors were to the upkeep of each wiki at all levels.   

Expanded Definition of Digital Storytelling

Before reading this chapter I did not really see blogging as digital storytelling, it seemed more like  a journal that is housed on the web. I have seen some blogs that have done a fabulous job of incorporating multimedia elements and thought that they were the next evolution of blogs that had become digital stories. The concept form the chapter that facilitated the expansion of my view of digital stories to included blogs, including my simple blog is the access to an audience that housing on the web gives the author. I had seen the blog as a personal journal that was open to anyone. I felt that one could just as easily been a offline blogger by writing ideas down and stapling them to light post, I thought an internet blog was attractive because it was one light post you could post thoughts to that millions of people could access. This, in my new vision of blogs, was the wrong way to look at the access to audience the web provides.

Yes, with a blog millions of people have access to your ideas or narrative but this is not as important gaining access to the relatively few people that have aligned interests from great distances across the globe. From my experience blogging that I know I feel more successful from seeing I have views from far off places then it do from many American visitors.  Because the access to a targeted audience, a blog frees the blogger to tell a different story then if she were posting ideas to a community bulletin board. A story that is meant only for members of a niche community and told in that community’s common language, a digital story.

Additional Resources

My favorite wiki is the Star Wars themed Wookieepidia. Much like the examples for L&K this a fan community maintained wiki site that focuses on the vast Star Wars universe. With Disney buying Star Wars and resetting the Star Wars Universe (SWU) I have relied on this wiki to relearn what is canon and what is just awesome side story in the new SWU. It is also fun to just surf  from link to link and learn new tidbits about my favorite make believe place.

Blogging on Blogs, Whoa, Meta – A Response to Required Text Week 11

My Digital Response to Storytelling Text – Week 9

*THIS POST IS PART OF A CONTINUING SERIES OF RESPONSES TO ASSIGNED READINGS FOR LEARNING WITH DIGITAL STORIES, A MASTER LEVEL COURSE I AM ENROLLED IN AT UC DENVER.

I decided to try something new this week and created a digital response to the assigned readings from my Digital Storytelling class at UC Denver. I hope you enjoy:

My Digital Response to Storytelling Text – Week 9

L&K A-OK! – Week 7 Response to Reading ILT 5340

*THIS POST IS PART OF A CONTINUING SERIES OF RESPONSES TO ASSIGNED READINGS FOR LEARNING WITH DIGITAL STORIES, A MASTER LEVEL COURSE I AM ENROLLED IN AT UC DENVER.

“Cultures have to be made – created – and they are made by mixing ‘new’ elements with ‘pre-existing elements’ in a manner of conversations” (Lankshear and Knobel, page 97)

This week I decided that I wanted to return to the Lankshear and Knobel text. I have enjoyed the pace, casual writing style, and ample real world examples from New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning. I did feel, however, that I was ready to move on from introducing the topic and wanted to dive deeper into the concepts, so I decided to skip over chapter 3 and read chapter 4: New Literacies and Social Practices of Digital Remixing. This chapter was fascinating and I think that is because the concept of remixing (outside of music) was brand new to me but so important to understand the development of human culture. I think the quotation I shared sums up how the exchange of ideas between cultures and the subsequent incorporation of new ideas is how cultures evolve through remixing.

After I read the chapter I was talking with my partner about the concept of remixing and how it related to fan fiction, and photoshopping. She casually mentioned that this is a perfect chapter for me because I always want to remix the movies and TV shows we watch. She was right, I always want a different ending to everything I see and will describe to in great detail how I would have done it. To this day I believe that Star Wars episode III could have been the best in the series and possibly the best movie ever if the final 20 minutes of the Revenge of the Sith were used as the first 20 minutes and that the remainder of the run time depicted an armor clad iconic Darth Vader lightsabering his way across the galaxy in pursuit of Obi-Wan Kenobi, who must hide and protect the Skywalker twins. BOOM – Just imagine the number of toys that movie would sell.

The table in the appendix that provides examples of digital remix communities was interesting because it gave a snapshot of what people are doing and the technologies used to share. The diversity in the technical ways to remix and soruce material reminded me of the Cybercultural Matrix discussed in The New Digital Storytelling text. I was disappointed because the table was hard to read on my tablet and made it difficult to comfortably access the information. I did follow some links to view the remix examples. I watched a lot of videos on YouTube and most of it was interesting and respectable. I would not have the ability to create 30 minute long fan fiction videos or realistic faux movie trailers. I was also inspired by my inquiry to find fan fiction comics. I again found many well done and interesting work people have shared. One particular fan comic was awesome(warning comic has scenes of graphic violence): The Deal  by Gerardo Preciado and Daniel Bayliss . This comic was set in what L&K described as an alternate universe style of fan fiction and gives Batman the opportunity to try a new approach to dealing with the Joker, who has yet again attacked The Batman by hurting someone close to Bruce Wayne. The art is also very nice and reminds me of Paul Pope’s work for Batman: Year 100. I love the freedom the authors used to solve the Joker problem by approaching it from a different perspective.

L&K A-OK! – Week 7 Response to Reading ILT 5340

When is a Digital Story Not a Digital Story? – A Response to Required Reading

*This post is part of a continuing series of responses to assigned readings for Learning with Digital Stories, a master level course I am enrolled in at UC Denver.

pirate wave

 

I have been enjoying reading the Lankshear and Knobel text but I am a proponent of a wide perspective on a topic that I am studying, and so I welcome the opportunity to look at the definition or musings of others around the concept of digital storytelling.  I skimmed the introductory chapters for both Digital Storytelling and The New Digital Storytelling, both seemed interesting, but in my survey of digital comics I have been struggling with finding the difference between a printed comic that has been delivered digitally and a true digital comic. The New Digital Storytelling chapter Storytelling for the 21st Century provided more substance to help me in my clarification between digitized comics (traditional comics that are delivered digitally) and true digital comics, and so I decided to focus my responce on this chapter.

The most important concept that Alexander introduced, for me, was a question to ask in order to determine if a digitally delivered story is a genuine digital story. Alexander’s question was; “How does being digital enable new aspects of storytelling?” (14).  For my critique of digital stories this week I reviewed a technology created to enhance the reading experience for traditional print comic that have been scanned into a digital environment. This technology changed the reading experience, in both positive and negative ways, but to determine if it created a digital story I must decide if  the storytelling has been fundamentally altered by the digital environment. Looking at the technology and asking Alexander’s question I have determined that it did not transform those print comics into digital stories. The storytelling still followed the flow and structure that was created for the medium of printed paper and was still bound by the limitations of printed paper, an analog story rendered in a digital format.

One buzzword from the chapter that grabbed my attention was cybercultural matrix. It was introduced near the end of the chapter and Alexander indicated that the term would be defined in chaper 2. I hope that I have the opportunity to read chapter 2 for more information about the cybercultural matrix, but it does seem to be self explanatory.  For me, this term seems to refer to the thousands or even millions of niche communities that are generated by the intersection of  the multitude of technological options for communication and the vast number of cultural communities using those technologies to sharing ideas or stories.  People are blogging about every culturally significant topic that exists today and each of those blogospheres are niches in the cybercultural matrix. As are the niche communities of Star Wars fanatics, who each share their love of the Star Wars universe employing different digital mediums, such as self publishing fan fiction, creating Han Solo memes, or producing stop-motion Stormtrooper videos for YouTube. The cybercultural matrix is an great concept to help wrap one’s mind around the vast number of digital stories being told. Furthermore, The Cybercultural Matrix would be an awesome name for a punk rock band.

When is a Digital Story Not a Digital Story? – A Response to Required Reading

Practice: We Talkin’ ’bout Practice?

I have been enjoying reading Lankshear and Knobel’s book. I find that authors provide a lot of content at a brisk pace but the breaks in the chapters with discussion questions helps give the reader a chance to reflect on what they read and the opportunity to review the information that is engaging for the reader. I would like to see more examples of new literacies to mix up this research heavy text and provide insight into what new literacies look like in the ‘real world’.

Main Insights

Chapter two of the Lankshear and Knobel text had a great quotation about the definition of literacies: “socially recognized ways in which people generate communicate and negotiate meanings, as member of Discourses, through the medium of encoded texts” (page 33). I think this is a great definition for looking at comics as literature. I have checked out and have been reading Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics. It has been a fascinating read about the art and craft of comics, especially the unique encoded pictorial symbols in comics. Such as lines and shapes that indicate movement or speech and thought bubbles and in digital comics the use of visual cues that are commonly used to guide the reader though the story.  I think that learning to access the encoded visual system in comics gives a learner the perspective into accessing more traditional literature and is one of the reasons that I believe comics should be brought into formal literacy education.

My Definition of Digital Storytelling

This chapter discussed the concept of practice in a way that expanded my understanding of how new literacies and digital storytelling are interconnected. Practicing seems to me to be simply participating in the literacies of one’s community. The ways a community communicates is a reflections of its members perspective, because the act of sharing our experience expands our collective understanding of our world. For new literacies, that are often occurring as text online, practicing community communication means developing literacy and an understanding of the system and meaning of the encoded language. Because in these virtual communities members may never communicate face to face it is vital that members understand the conventions and norms communication of the community.  

Questions

I found myself intrigued by the discussion question at the end of chapter two about weather or not a podcast or photoshop without pictures should be considered new literacies. I feel that both are mediums for digital storytelling, but I am undecided if they are examples of literacies, new or otherwise. I know that an image can tell a story but are there encoded symbols? Without symbols, that have agreed upon meanings, the true interpretation is up to the viewer. I have a favorite graphic novel, called Robot Dreams,  that has no words only pictures, but relies heavily on signs, symbols, and comic conventions to help guide the reader along the story. Stories that are composed of the written word may leave much up to the interpretation of the reader in terms of the author’s motivations or what is left unsaid but the audience can agree on what words are encoded on the (web)page.

Practice: We Talkin’ ’bout Practice?

My Man Paulo Freire

I was so excited, reading chapter one of New Literacies, when the work of Paulo Freire was cited as important for the factor shifting literacy into formal education (Lankshear & Knobel, 4). I was introduced to Freire’s work when I was getting my Master of Education. I latched onto his ideas that education was a catalyst for revolution. I saw the application of his theories in the elementary classroom, because the students in those classrooms were facing revolutionary change in their lives everyday, socially and physically.  Education gives students perspective on those changes, a way to understand and interact with the world as students are exposed to a larger and more diversified segment of it. New Literacies seems to tout a similar belief letting students use the medium that best communicates the story the author is inspired to tell, the means of communication are rapidly changing and Freire would have wanted education to embrace it.   

I had come to class with a thought that digital storytelling is a technical activity. How do you use this program? What are the newest tools reach audiences? Chapter one of New Literacies opened my eyes to the need to keep focused on best practice literacy instruction when creating digital stories or incorporating digital storytelling into classroom instruction. New literacies need to focus on the story or ideas that are being shared. When the focus of the project is on the content being shared it becomes the foundation that engaging delivery methods can be built on. Digital stories that are technically impressive will grab the audience’s attention but will be unable to hold viewers attention or will not create a memorable impression for the viewer. A story is effective when the content or lessons of the story are memorable, not just how flashy the  presentation was.

I am still trying to find what my focus is for this course. I am torn between thinking about using digital storytelling with my students so that they can share their stories or do I want to experience the successes and failures from the creation of digital stories created from my passions. I feel that it will serve me and my students best if I experience the process for myself. The experience will let me know how it feels to plan and execute projects. The experience will also give me a greater understanding of available tools. Mostly creating projects for my own passions will give me exemplar products that I can share with students and let them know that the success is worth the effort.

I wanted to find some resources that I could share that highlight the connection between digital storytelling and new literacies, and I felt the the best way would be to find a digital story that highlights not only the ‘whys’ but also the ‘hows’ of digital storytelling.  This Prezi gave a coherent descriptions of both digital storytelling and literacy, and how teachers can use digital storytelling to support students. It also has reviews of resources that teachers can incorporate into their practice.  

My Man Paulo Freire