Sunday, February 28, 2016

Transmedia Demystefied

McMillan, Amy

Becnel, K., & Pope, J. C. (2015). Transmedia Demystified: (Re)introducing your students to the power of story. Library Media Connection, 33(6), 16-17.

Asserting that young people today are "raised on hyperlinking and multitasking," Pope and Bechel advocate purchasing transmedia materials as a way to bring young readers into the world of literature. Transmedia, according to expert Henry Jenkins, is a "process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels" (p. 16). For school libraries, this means updating how we think of a "book." In deciding whether to carry a transmedia item, librarians need to assess the following:
  1. Are the multimodal elements are "vital or supplemental?"
  2. What technology is involved?  Will students be able to access and use it?
  3. What is the publisher's commitment?
  4. How will the library circulate the extra physical items, such as maps, letters, or cards?
  5. Is it shareable or "designed for single use?"


While I agree with Pope and Becnel that transmedia stories can be powerful, I can't quite picture how this would look in a school library. They give several examples, such as Tony Diterlizzi's The Search for WonderLa and Rick Riordan's Maze of Bones from the 39 Clues series. In theory, providing access to transmedia materials sounds like a perfect fit for school libraries, but I don't understand how the library will bundle all of the materials together for students to access them. I wonder if transmedia storytelling will become more common as more schools provide students with mobile devices. Once students have easy access to both digital and print materials, this kind of storytelling may appeal to a wider audience. Perhaps we are seeing what is just the beginning of a wider transmedia movement.

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