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Reading and Writing Transmedia

Inanimate Alice Logo

We have told stories to each other since the dawn of human history. We instinctively organize our thoughts as stories. Well-crafted stories engage us, inform us, inspire us and – long after first hearing them – resonate with us. Stories have always carried messages and meaning for us long before writing, radio, film, television, or the internet helped us tell them. The core elements of story never change – character, plot, settings and obstacles to be overcome – but the ways in which we tell stories continue to evolve.

The new media that surrounds us as educators and as learners has forced us to pay attention to, and to change, how education is conceived. One significant change to ‘Learning in the 21st Century’ comes in the form of “transmedia storytelling,” a process of writing and reading stories that invites participants into stories in ways that they have been unable to do before digital technologies and the internet allowed us to connect in so many ways, so quickly. It is this changing face of storytelling that sits at the core of this collection.

Given my own interests in digital writing, I am always on the look out for "what's next" in terms of theories and technologies that we might see in schools.

As the concept of digital writing -- including the process of creating media such as digital videos and podcasts -- becomes more and more a part of the writing curriculum, I am curious to see how we might move students forward in creating transmedia stories.

Not only will they combine images, text, and voice in single pieces of media, but by using web-based tools such as VoiceThread or using other media authoring tools such as Sophie, students can create multi-layered stories, and connect those stories across different media. 

Thus, this collection of resources primarily authored by Laura Fleming represents one educator's vision of what transmedia is, and what it can be, for teachers and students learning to read and write in a digital age. 

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soutra's picture

I know it is just the way that the site is structured, but would it be possible to re-structure things so that the person who actually does the work of gathering and editing resources gets the credit on the front page of each collection? The superb transmedia collection pulled together by Laura Fleming is a case in point as it appears to be credited to Troy because of the way that the site is designed. It may seem a trivial matter, but i always think it is important to ensure that the right people are credited properly for work done.

christina's picture

Hello John. Thank you for writing about this important topic. What is true is that the system is designed to have one author per resource or collection, which is where the challenge emerged here. I believe that Laura and Troy were intending to show shared authorship by having Laura develop the main resources for that collection and then have Troy pull the 4 of them together in a collection with a couple additional resources too. (Another way that people have gotten around this is to create a dual-identity as the author - see Ann Herrington and Charlie Moran collections or resources made by "Writing for Change" as examples of this.)

That said, being able to clearly show collaboration in the system is on the development road-map for sure -- it is a key 21c skill after all! That said, without that actual feature in place, different co-authors are thinking about how to negotiate this in different ways. Therefore I'm sure that Troy and Laura will take into consideration your concerns and they can decide what they think is best to do at this time.

Thanks for writing.


soutra's picture

Christina & Elyse,


You are both very kind to reply so fully and so positively. I raised the issue because I came across a blog post yesterday in which Troy was being praised highly for the quality of the transmedia collection. i had no problem with this because i know how much work there is involved in the preparation and editing of a collection such as this, but i just felt it a shame that the layout of the site meant that Laura would not get credit for the work she had done unless you delve into the collection itself (which is what we hope will happen of course), in which Troy has been very generous in his proper crediting of the work.


Best wishes,



Elyse Eidman-Aadahl Admin's picture

Hi John,

The issue you raise is not trivial at all; we would all want crediting and sourcing to be accurate and effective. In the case of Digital Is, the author area is populated by the profile of the person making the resource or collection. In this case, it looks like Laura made the resources and Troy pulled the collection together. This can be a problem if one person, say Troy, did the system work on behalf of another person. Then the visible profile will be of the person who worked in the system. In most cases, collections are built out of resources authored by many different people, so the curation of the collection is an explicit authoring step.

It may be that the authors feel the current design is accurate (that Laura made the resources and Troy made the collection). If this division is correct, but there is a desire to feature Laura more prominently, then the top level text could credit her more directly. If not accurate, and folks would want Laura's profile to show up for the collection, then Troy and Laura could request we make a change administratively.

Thanks for bringing this to the attention of the curators and administrators.


hickstro's picture
Collected by Troy Hicks
on Jun 17 2011

Resources in this collection

Transmedia Story Bubble Transmedia Collection
Inanimate Alice Logo Inanimate Alice: Born Digital
Laura's Blog Blogging About Transmedia
Remix Cover Teacher Created Transmedia Experiences
Jenkins Report Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: What Are the Roles of Teachers and Schools in Creating Responsible Participants?