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Transmedia 
is the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies.

Transmedia, what it is and what it isn’t has been a debatable question for quite some time. As teachers we are inundated with new “wordage” all the time and often we go about our business never giving a thought to what the concept has to do with education. This blog is a first step in getting the concept and definition of transmedia explained for the layperson. With a swift trip around the net my findings listed below come from Jezam Interactive and T is for Transmedia: Learning through Transmedia Play, a Joan Ganz Cooney Report. It appears that transmedia had its origins as far back as Socrates.

Once a thing is put in writing, the composition, whatever it may be, drifts all over the place, getting into the hands not only of those who understand it, but equally of those who have no business with it.” — Socrates 

Any discussion regarding this topic would be welcomed, the following is verbatim as I did not feel qualified to explain this in my own words.

Transmedia according to Jezam is about creating a unique experience for consumers across multiple platforms: print, TV, digital touch-screens, web, iOS apps, etc. The trick is to avoid copy-pasting one content from one media onto another one. Doing transmedia allows us to create real synergies and surround consumers with rich interactive experiences.

“Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each medium makes it own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story.” Henry Jenkinstransmedia_cover

From this recent report key links between transmedia and learning which highlights include key characteristics of transmedia play, and core principles for transmedia play experiences.

The Cooney report identifies the following key links between transmedia and learning:

      • Transmedia play can promote new approaches to reading, as children must learn to read both written and multimedia texts broadly (across multiple media) and deeply (digging into details of the narrative).
      • Transmedia play can encourage learning through joint media engagement, providing opportunities for families to experience transmedia together.
      • Transmedia play can support constructivist learning goals in that it involves exploration, experimentation, and remix, which emphasize the active role of the learner in creating knowledge by working to make connections among information in a specific context.

5 characteristics of transmedia play that make it useful for learning:

      1. Resourceful: The ability to act with/react to diverse, challenging situations by thinking creatively about solutions that leverage any and all available tools and materials.
      2. Social: Conversations with others who may be co-located or linked through media/technology, as in the case of social media or virtual worlds.
      3. Mobile: Use of mobile technologies, movement between platforms/media, and the act of causing movement within media themselves.
      4. Accessible: The ability to jump in from a variety of starting points and define a trajectory that takes into account people’s own unique contexts and types of access.
      5. Replayable: Enticement to revisit, explore, and investigate worlds so intensive that they require multiple “visits”.

“While transmedia does not have to privilege new media technologies, leveraging new media in creative and accessible ways in order to facilitate sharing and communication among participants or to provide frequent and personalized formative feedback can be valuable for enhancing the learning environment.”

(Authors:  Becky Herr-Stephenson and Meryl Alper with Erin Reilly and introduction by Henry Jenkins)

Photo Credit: Jezam Interactive

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One Response to Transmedia Explained

  1. […] Transmedia is the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies.  […]