Transmedia storytelling

Transmedia storytelling is an exploratory research and an educational innovation project that studies the uses of narrative approaches that build interactive stories combining various media (reality, digital media, video games, movies, websites, etc.) in teaching and learning processes. The aim of the project is the creation, development, implementation and analysis of a transmedia story with educational purposes, designed as a collective decision story.

More specifically, we propose the creation of a fiction narrative world,  presented to the students as a thriller. They are immersed in the story and participate actively in different ways as the story unfolds, with the aim of resolve the mystery posed.

We want to explore the educational uses of transmedia practices in the formal teaching and learning processes, for to the development of competencies associated with digital multiliteracy (advanced literacy) and the participation in the Information and Knowledge Society.

The term "transmedia storytelling" was introduced by Henry Jenkins (MIT) in an article published in Technology Review in 2003 with the aim of defining the narrative technique based on the creation of (narrative) worlds that is developed through multiple media and platforms, integrating experiences (many of them interactive). Unlike other techniques, such as intersemiotic translation in which the same story is played in different ways or means of language (for example, a movie based on a book), transmedia storytelling is based on the creation of narrative worlds that develop stories through various media and platforms. Each of these platforms shows a different part of the story and each makes a different contribution in the grand narrative world.

The proliferation of transmedia projects is due to a renewed interest in the narrative, combined with the use of new technologies for its development, as well as a response to new experiences derived from the convergence of media. Cross-media, multimodality and multimedia narratives are some of the concepts related to the transmedia storytelling and all of them are linked to a common idea: the story development that runs on multiple media platforms. For example: Matrix, Harry Potter, 24 or Lost

Unlike Jenkins’ analysis, that address transmedia narrative through the study of activities carried out by the consumers /participants –and contribute to the main story, creating contents that expand the narrative world-, this project proposes an exploration of transmedia narrative from an educational point of view, based on the interest in new digital skills and competencies. The mail goal is analyzing the student’s digital immersion and the cognitive, social and emotional engagement during the participation in the development of a transmedia story.

The complexity of this project and its exploratory nature involves significant interdisciplinary work, which allows the construction of a narrative world specially designed for educational purposes.

The project design includes 3 main objectives:

- To design a transmedia storytelling, including activities that can foster digital literacy.

- To explore the educational benefits of the use of transmedia narrative in a context of secondary school.

- To describe the impact that the use of transmedia storytelling has on the digital immersion of the students and on their cognitive, social and emotional engagement.

Lead Researcher: José Luis Rodríguez Illera

Participants: Nuria Molas

Collaborators: Cristina Galván, Gloria Londoño, Julia Coromina, María José Rubio, Victoria Martín y Román Aixendri

Participant Institutions: University of Barcelona (Observatori de l’Educació Digital), Fundació per a la Societat del Coneixement, Citilab-Cornellà

Observatori d'Educació Digital, 2012