Transmedia PLAY Experiments

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Transmedia processes show us that there is more than one way to tell stories, more we can learn about the characters and their world, and that such insights encourage us to imagine aspects of these characters that have not yet made it to the screen. While some might look at it strictly for entertainment value, creating a new lens to look at story offers a different point of view. One distinct logic we have explored at the Annenberg Innovation Lab is Transmedia Play. Human imagination feeds upon the culture around it and children show enormous capacity to re-imagine the stories that enter their lives.

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YOUR INSPIRING TITLE

Erin ReillyTransmedia PlayexperimentsSeptember 13, 20131

Transmedia PlayTransmedia Play promotes a new approach to reading, encourages learning through joint media engagement and supports opportunities to experiment and remix with your surroundings in order to make sense of the world we live in.Transmedia processes show us that there is more than one way to tell stories, more we can learn about the characters and their world, and that such insights encourage us to imagine aspects of these characters that have not yet made it to the screen. While some might look at it strictly for entertainment value, creating a new lens to look at story offers a different point of view.

One distinct logic we have explored at the Annenberg Innovation Lab is Transmedia Play. Human imagination feeds upon the culture around it and children show enormous capacity to re-imagine the stories that enter their lives.2

Imaginative play, experimentation, and creative expressionPlay is approached not as a frivolous activity, but as a meaningful and important mode of interacting in the world. The way of understanding play is aligned with its definition as a new media literacy, play. Play is defined as the ability to experiment with your surroundings as a form of problem-solving.

For many children, this kind of mixing and matching of media is not a new mode of play. As children remix media properties through imaginative play, experimentation, and creative expression; they create their own rules for how media can be used.3

The Annenberg Innovation Lab is a think and do tank, so while defining Transmedia Play, a team of us made up of researchers, media artists and educators created our own experiment to push the boundaries of designing transmedia play experiences through digital publishing. We were given David Wiesners wordless picture book, Flotsam to use as content in the experiment. Our goal was to apply the transmedia play principles to an actual product development.

Part of creating paradigm-shifting play patterns was to expand the notion of what reading and writing are in the digital age. We developed places to play both inside the digital book and in their physical locations which allowed for different points of entry for different types of learners. 4

Traditionally how wordless picture books are readBut often there are stories that are right behind the edges that with minor prompting could open the door to a childs imagination and creativity.Explain Story Prompts (2 kinds)5

But to shift away from cause and effect and often the limited scope of a childs participatory reading experience, we shifted the play pattern within the Flotsam experiment to design ways to encourage a child to co-author and co-design in the reading experience.

One way we did this was to take the explorer kit in the printed book and expand it into a tool box for scientific inquiry in the reading experience. This tool box could be made digital and / or a physical one to accompany the digital experience.6

Another example is for children to have the ability to add themselves to the story or use the built in Camera interface to add their own contributions.7

Which can then be remixed with the original story in the creation station, allowing a child to co-author and personalize their reading experience.8

Flotsam blends science fact and science fiction as a way to provoke curiosity. The team enhanced this element by layering an integrated science curriculum connected to the sea life and geography depicted in the books illustrations over the narrative through the Interactive map features.9

This feature was further enabled through collectable explorer cards that were both digital and10

physical for use in an actual trading card game.

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Search T is for Transmedia on Slideshare.nethttps://vimeo.com/62031511

So, Id like to share with you a couple of case studies that we also researched while designing and developing PLAY. These are expounded upon as examples of the transmedia play design principles in the T is for Transmedia publication.13

Places to PlayOne of the case studies is Caines Arcade which originated as a short documentary film by Nirvan Mullick in 2012 about then 9-year-old, Caine Monroy, who created a game arcade out of cardboard boxes and everyday objects. The film soon spread across the web and inspired people to foster creativity and entrepreneurship in children around the world.

Today, Caines Arcade and the Imagination Foundation are building open-access spaces that allow for rich transmedia world building. These places to play include

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http://www.imagination.is/1) A web platform for kids, parents, and educators to share stories like Caines Arcade and add project-based learning activity kits and curriculum to them;

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2) a network of permanent and pop-up maker spaces in underserved communities, and

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3) the orchestration of locally-hosted events like the Global Cardboard Challenge, which foster creativity and community.

These spaces blend in-person locations with online communities such as DIY.org and Minecraft.

Play Caines Arcade video -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ul9c-4dX4Hk&feature=youtu.be17

CARDBOARDCHALLENGEWhich is what Id like us to do now

This is a model of Creative Play that is based on a couple of learning methodolgies: project-based learning, constructivism and design-based thinking.

Brainstorm ideas for games or other cardboard creations. Discuss whats possible. Sketch out designs and mix-and-match ideas. Freely play with materials to fuel new ideas and thinking. Make cardboard arcade games, toys, robots, rocket ships, a city, a map, a maze, whatever you can dream up. Create, construct, measure, cut using the provided materials. Well save time to share and give suggestions for modification and improvement as we tinker and play with what we each come up with.18

This is the world we live in where our stories (whether fiction or nonfiction) cross different media platforms and offer the audience more opportunities to participate than ever before.

What we have seen throughout the examples is that to encourage joint media engagement through transmedia play, we must offer spaces that are mobile, accessible, replayable, resourceful and social together, they encourage opportunities for us to learn from each other.

19Erin Reillywww.annenberglab.comereilly@usc.edu@ebreilly / www.ebreilly.comCreative Director & Research FellowUSC Annenberg Innovation LabThank you! Any questions?20