Technology is transforming our current models of instruction and are changing what, where and how our students learn. The concept of the Transmedia LearningWorld (TLW) is one that I formulated as an expression intended to encapsulate my thinking on how transmedia can best be embedded in the teaching and learning processes. I have defined the TLW in the following way:
When we combine transmedia with a pedagogy that is transformative, that shifts the locus of control in learning firmly from the teacher towards the learner, we begin to morph the concept of StoryWorld, familiar to transmedia producers, into something that is powerful for learning in the digital age, the Transmedia LearningWorld (TLW). This new model of learning goes beyond the confines of a classroom, and instead creates a TLW that allows content to flow across the curriculum and from one media to the next. If, for example, we take the pedagogical principles from constructivist and connectivist learning theories, we can start to build frameworks for transmedia narratives that enable the learner to take charge of the narrative and then to shape it to their own learning needs.
This definition is taken from an article I wrote for the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE), accessible online and as a downloadable PDF. In this piece, I place the TLW firmly in the context of the Common Core State Standards, arguing that the application of transmedia techniques and a realization of the power of the TLW give teachers tools that allow them to reach every child, including otherwise “reluctant” learners, and indeed that allow children themselves to drive their own learning.
In my own work, I have been able to see that transmedia methodology can help shape our educational delivery very effectively indeed, and that when we combine effective storytelling with a range of transmedia techniques, we create opportunities for exploration, interpretation, and expansion in teaching and learning. I believe firmly that leveraging the power of transmedia will fully immerse and engage our students in their learning. If we develop fully that interaction between technology and story, we can create a deep, rich Transmedia LearningWorld (or a series of Transmedia LearningWorlds) and the curriculum and technology become one.
More on this can be found in a recent paper recently released by the Annenberg Innovation Lab at USC and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center titled “T is for Transmedia: Learning Through Transmedia Play.” The report is written by Becky Herr-Stephenson and Meryl Alper, under the supervision of Erin Reilly. The case studies in this report exemplifiy Transmedia LearningWorlds. The paper is available for download here.