“It has been suggested that digital literature for children may be beneficial to supplement oral and print literacies, especially for early years’ students (Ciampa, 2012, p. 128)” This quote early in the module had my intrigued of the possibilities of this subject. I have a very narrow understanding of current knowledge and practices in the digital literature environment however this is growing as I delve further into the modules. As a stage 1 teacher at an innovative Catholic School in Western Sydney I am always looking for ways to capture children’s attention in literary text.
When posting in the discussion forum in reply to Marika’s post I discussed Walsh’s description of synergy across multiple text forms (Walsh, 2013, p. 187). I had recently programmed for the text My Place by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins and came across the website component. As Walsh (2013) had discussed; the integral component of text was there but it was also using features such as sound effects, ‘mouseover’ and navigation to compel students to engage in the digital narrative. Before this experience, albeit fairly recently, I have only seen snippets of digital literature being used in schools. I worked on a year six class where they had analysed Inanimate Alice as a digital text so it was a familiar connection when it was discussed in Walsh’s (2013) chapter. I have also been using a website, Kids News, designed purely for children to engage in current news articles. Although not being a fiction text I have felt the use of real world information coupled with videos and quizzes are really engaging my students in what is happening in the world around them.
Through my reading in the module, in particular The Reading Brain in the Digital Age (Jabr, 2013) I was reminded of the term Digital Native. The term refers to the principle that children in our current education system have never lived in a time prior to technology. Jabr (2013) went on to discuss how this changes the process of learning to read and having a balance between paper texts and digital texts. An interesting concept from the article was the idea that paper books are easily navigable meaning that a child can clearly see where the text starts and ends. A digital text does not always have this same function where a reader may have to flick through multiple ‘pages’ to see where the text ends, or in Jabr’s words a “seamless stream of words. (Jabr, 2013)” This reading was all new learning for myself and highlighted my possible growth in knowledge in this coming semester.
I look forward to learning more in INF533 to develop my understanding of the digital literature environment. In particular, the ability for students to learn how comprehend digital texts differently to those of paper but also additionally how this can be fostered as students grow to develop a love of reading in a variety of text experiences.
Ciampa, K. (2012). Electronic storybooks: a constructivist approach to improving reading motivation in Grade 1 students. Canadian Journal of Education 35(4), 92-136. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=89123456&site=ehost-live
Jabr, F. (2013). The reading brain in the digital age: The science of paper versus screens. Scientific American, April 11. Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/
Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment (Ch. 13). In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers. Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).