RLCS, Revista Latina de Comunicacion Social

 

 

Revista Latina

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DOI, Digital Objetc Identifier 10.4185/RLCS-2019-1324en | ISSN 1138 - 5820 | RLCS, 74-2019 | Audio-visual explanation of the author |

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How to cite this article in bibliograhies / References

CA Scolari, N Lugo Rodriguez, MJ Masanet (2019): “Transmedia Education. From the contents generated by the users to the contents generated by the students”. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, 74, pp. 116 to 132.
http://www.revistalatinacs.org/074paper/1324/07en.html
DOI: 10.4185/RLCS-2018-1324en

 

Transmedia Education. From the contents generated by the users to the contents generated by the students

Carlos A. Scolari [CV] [o ORCID] [g GS] Profesor Titular de Universidad. Universitat Pompeu Fabra – Barcelona (España) carlosalberto.scolari@upf.edu

Nohemi Lugo Rodriguez [CV] [o ORCID] [g GS] Profesora Asistente de Planta a Tiempo Completo. Universidad Tecnológico de Monterrey (México) nlugo@itesm.mx

María-Jose Masanet [CV] [o ORCID] [g GS] Investigadora Contractada. Universitat Pompeu Fabra – Barcelona (España) mjose.masanet@upf.edu

Abstract
[ES] Introducción: En la última década un fantasma ha recorrido los estudios de comunicación: las narrativas transmedia (transmedia storytelling). Nacida en el ámbito de la investigación sobre los nuevos modelos narrativos participativos, la cualidad de transmedia no tardó en convertirse en un flexible adjetivo que se adhirió a infinidad de sustantivos (ficción transmedia, periodismo transmedia, etc.). En este contexto no tardaron en aparecer experiencias o referencias teóricas a la educación transmedia. Metodología: El presente artículo repasa y reflexiona sobre estos conceptos para evitar abusos semánticos y avanza en una caracterización de las posibles aplicaciones de las lógicas de las narrativas transmedia a los procesos de aprendizaje. Para ello, se analiza un estudio de caso basado en una experiencia de lecto-escritura llevado a cabo en un centro de educación secundaria de Barcelona. Este análisis se ubica en el cruce entre educación, medios, narrativa y culturas participativas. Resultados y conclusiones: La intervención resultó posible y deseable para el aprendizaje y creó una disposición positiva hacia la narrativa.

[EN] Introduction: In the last decade a ghost has been haunting communication studies: transmedia storytelling. Born in the research field of new participatory narrative models, the quality of transmedia soon became a flexible adjective that adheres to an infinity of nouns (transmedia fiction, transmedia journalism, etc.). In this context, experiences or theoretical references to transmedia education did not take long to appear. Methodology: This article reviews and reflects on these concepts to avoid semantic abuses. It progresses in characterizing the possible applications of transmedia narrative logics to learning processes through the analysis of a case study based on a reading/writing experience carried out in a high school in Barcelona. The analysis facilitates the approach to the intersections between education, media, narrative and participatory cultures. Results and conclusions: The intervention was possible and desirable for learning and created a positive disposition towards the narrative.

Keywords
[ES] Narrativa transmedia; alfabetismo mediático; alfabetización mediática; alfabetismo transmedia; alfabetización transmedia; educación transmedia
[EN] Transmedia storytelling; media literacy; transmedia literacy; transmedia education

Contents.
[ES] 1. Introducción. 2. De la narrativa transmedia a la educación transmedia.  2.1. Narrativa transmedia: de la ficción a la educación. 2.2. Alfabetismo/alfabetización mediática. 2.3. Alfabetismo/alfabetización transmedia. 3. Estudio de. 3.1. Diagnóstico. 3.2. Diseño de la experiencia. 3.3. Implementación. 3.4. Evaluación. 4. Discusión. 5. Apuntes finales. Bibliografía.
[EN] 1. Introduction. 2. From transmedia storytelling to transmedia education. 2.1. Transmedia storytelling: from fiction to education. 2.2. Literacy/media literacy. 2.3. Literacy/transmedia literacy. 3. Case study. 3.1. Diagnosis. 3.2. Design of the experience 3.3. Implementation. 3.4. Evaluation. 4. Discussion 5. Final notes. Bibliography.

Translation by the author.

 [ Research ] [ Funded ] 
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1. Introduction

In recent years there has been a lot of talk, perhaps too much, about transmedia storytelling. While some professionals and researchers sometimes refer to "the transmedia" it should be clear from the outset that transmedia is not a noun but rather an adjective that supports different combinations (transmedia storytelling, transmedia project, etc.). On the other hand, while the cultural industry appropriated the concept – first in the United States, then in Europe and then in the rest of the world – some researchers were inspired by it to investigate other disciplines, such as education, or propose actions aimed at revaluing collaborative cultures in learning processes (Jenkins et al, 2009, Scolari, 2018). In this context, is it possible to talk about transmedia literacy or education? In this article we analyse the possibilities offered by the transmedia concept for rethinking educational processes. Beyond this conceptual reflection, the main objective of the text is to present and analyse an educational experience carried out in Barcelona in the period 2014 to 2016.

The text is divided into three sections: In the first one, we briefly analyse the origin of the transmedia storytelling concept, its expansion beyond the world of fiction and its possible applications in the educational field. In the second section, an educational experience carried out in a secondary school in Barcelona is analysed. The third section proposes a critical discussion of that experience, analysing the possibilities and limitations of applying the logic of transmedia storytelling in formal learning situations. The text closes with a few concise notes.

2. From transmedia storytelling to transmedia education

In this section we will briefly describe the origin of the transmedia storytelling concept, its main characteristics are presented and some possible applications to the world of education are reviewed. As with fiction and non-fiction narratives, it is important to clearly define transmedia literacy and transmedia education to avoid promoting, under a fashionable semantic umbrella, experiences that have little or nothing to do with transmedia.

2.1. Transmedia storytelling: from fiction to education

The concept of transmedia storytelling was first introduced by Henry Jenkins in an article published in the journal Technology Review (Jenkins, 2003). The concept, taken up by its creator in a later text (Jenkins, 2006), was soon adopted by professionals and academics and in the last decade became one of the keywords of the communication world. Transmedia storytelling is characterized by two elements: on the one hand, the story expands in many media and platforms; and on the other hand, prosumers (Toffler, 1980) actively participate in this process of narrative expansion (Jenkins, 2003, 2006; Jenkins, Ford and Green, 2013; Scolari, 2009, 2013). This textual production, also known as "user-generated contents", is one of the most relevant and prominent phenomena emerging from the new media ecology. Although this type of textual practice has existed since time immemorial, the arrival of the web and social networks has revealed a true explosion of stories by prosumers. Returning to the concept in question, over a few years the production of transmedia works, which first originated in the field of fiction, soon included non-fiction (transmedia documentary, transmedia journalism, etc.) and marketing (transmedia branding) (Scolari, 2013).

In this context, it is not at all strange that the transmedia adjective has also appeared accompanying the nouns learning and education. Henry Jenkins himself, whose research is not limited to fan productions or tensions between the media industry and collaborative cultures (Jenkins, 2003, 2006; Jenkins, Ford and Green, 2013), has also made fundamental contributions to the understanding of how these cultures are expressed in youth settings and how they can be recovered from an educational perspective (Jenkins et al, 2009; Jenkins, 2010; Jenkins, Ito and boyd, 2015). In a text published in 2010 Jenkins outlined a possible cross between transmedia storytelling and educational practices:

As educators, we need to model the effective use of different media platforms in the classroom, a practice which would support what Howard Gardner has told us about multi-intelligences. In this case, I am referring to the idea that different students learn better through different modes of communications and thus the lesson is most effective when conveyed through more than one mode of expression. We can reinforce through visuals or activities what we communicate through spoken words or written texts. Doing so effectively pushes us to think about how multiple platforms of communication might re-enforce what we do through our classrooms (Jenkins, 2010).

While acknowledging that the principles of transmedia storytelling, inspired to a large degree by the commercial logic of the cultural industry, cannot be automatically transfered to the education field, Jenkins proposes renewing the teaching-learning processes by recovering some aspects of these practices and exploring other dimensions:

Transmedia Storytelling is one of a range of transmedia logics, which might also include transmedia branding, transmedia performance, and transmedia learning. There is sure to be some overlap between these different transmedia logics, but also differences. I don't doubt that some principles carry over but we need to keep in mind that there may also be some core principles for transmedia teaching/learning which will not be explored if we simply try to adopt what we know about transmedia entertainment (Jenkins, 2010). 

What characteristics should a transmedia teaching-learning process have? If we take into account the traditional definition of transmedia storytelling – a story that is told in many media and platforms with the complicity of prosumers (Scolari, 2013) – we could imagine a learning process where the narrative – whether it be the journey of Christopher Columbus, photosynthesis or the formula for finding the surface area of a sphere – is worked on using different languages ​​and media supports in the classroom. In addition, a transmedia learning process should give relevance to the content produced by students. In other words, it would be a matter of moving from user-generated contents to student-generated contents.

2.2.  Literacy / media literacy

The concept of literacy can be understood as a noun or as a verb, as a literacy action. In the first case, the concept refers to a set of knowledge that the subject can acquire and put into practice in their life. As a verb, literacy is understood as action, that is, as learning that can take place in a formal, informal or non-formal environment. Media literacy can also be approached from these two perspectives: as a set of skills and competencies that the subject should possess in order to cope with the media environment in the best possible way (media literacy), or as a training program in media that subjects can participate in, for example, within the school institution (media literacy as an action). In fact, as stated by Gutiérrez and Tyner (2012), considering the importance of media in the informal education of children, adolescents and young people, it is unthinkable that the formal education environment does not adopt a position in this field. And it is in this context that the school, in addition to studying and learning using communication media, has considered it necessary to analyse and understand the media. Consequently, both media literacy and media or digital education, among other terms, have tended to look at two areas: education in media and education with media. Education in media is focused on providing tools and skills to subjects to move within the media environment, through critical understanding and active participation, which refers to the ability of individuals to become producers themselves (Buckingham, 2004); while education with media refers to the introduction and use of media for learning, that is, the instrumental use of media in the educational context. This second option, according to Buckingham (2004), would refer to educational technology or the use of media as a pedagogical resource and should not be confused with media education because it has nothing to do with teaching and learning about the media.

Media literacy was born in the 1960s as a result of the emergence of television, which in those times was a new media that invaded our homes and changed the media consumption routines and media diets of adults and, above all, children and adolescents. Since then it has gone through many different phases. In its more traditional version, media literacy aimed to generate "antibodies" to counteract the (supposed) negative influence of television and other communication media (Potter, 2005). In this context, media literacy was a research (identifying "the effects of television on children") and action (teaching in the classroom to critically interpret the media and equip viewers with a minimum of skills to move with responsibility in the mediasphere) program. This first approach, although it has never been totally abandoned, soon expanded and became enriched with other approaches based on less functionalist conceptions that were more critical with the apocalyptic views that only saw manipulation and alienation in the media.

In recent years the changes in the media ecology – which can be synthesized in the move from an ecosystem focused on broadcasting to one focused on networking (Scolari, 2008) – and the expansion of collaborative cultures (Jenkins, 2006; Delwiche and Henderson, 2013) have led to a rethinking of the old models of media literacy. On the one hand, the set of media competences and skills has been increased to incorporate the knowledge related to digital technologies and networks (internet literacy, digital literacy, etc.); and on the other hand, media literacy processes have been increasingly enriched by the teaching of critical knowledge linked to the use of interactive digital media (for example, how to identify fake news, etc.).

However, many processes of media or digital literacy continue to be based on a postulate: young people are somehow "victims" of the media and should be "saved" by adult teachers. The old line of research ("the effects of television on children") today has been relaunched under new ghosts: "the effects of video games on children", "the effects of social networks on children", "the effects of mobile devices on children", etc. One way to get away from this viewpoint – or, at least, to complement it with other approaches – is to insert young people from another place: not to consider them as "victims" but as active subjects who are "doing things" with the media, sometimes in a bit of a wild way but with a lot of passion and putting into practice a dense set of skills that are not included in the formal education system. This does not mean that the need for a formal media education that provides young people with the necessary tools for understanding the complex media environment should be ignored, but rather it implies giving value to the practices and knowledge that young people are already acquiring outside the formal education system. Likewise, it should be noted that the debate surrounding the definition of media literacy or concepts related to media education remains open, as shown by the numerous research projects that study it (for example: Koltay, 2011; Rogow, 2004).  This translates into the lack of a precise and consensual definition and a terminological confusion that, as Ferrés and Masanet (2015) point out, is at the same time expression and cause of a great disparity of approaches with different priorities, resulting in gaps and deficiencies. Faced with this situation, Buckingham (2004) alerts us to the possibility of falling into extreme and generalized ambiguity. 

2.3. Transmedia literacy

Like media literacy, we can understand transmedia literacy as a noun or a verb. In the first case, the concept refers to a set of transmedia skills that the subject has learned in non-formal and informal environments, from social networks to video gamer communities, YouTube and discussion forums. This conception also includes a research program with renovated questions in tune with the new media reality: What do young people know about video games? What skills do they develop to manage their networks? What knowledge do they put into practice when they produce and share content in social networks? How did they learn to do all these things? In the second case, transmedia literacy is understood as a program of action aimed at recovering this knowledge within the formal education environment (Scolari, 2018).

After this conceptual journey – in which we made an attempt to put a bit of semantic order in a terrain sometimes inclined to adopt concepts as fashionable – we can go on to describe and analyse a specific experience of transmedia education to see how the different components that emerged in this first section are presented.

3. Objectives and methodology

This article presents a case study that is part of a larger research project carried out between 2014 and 2016 in a public secondary school in Barcelona. ​​The school is located in a district with a medium-low income level and a below-average educational level; in 2016 it had the second lowest number of students who continued on to university. The centre was founded more than 25 years ago and serves an average of 400 students. In recent years it has undergone a process of pedagogical transformation, moving from a traditional educational model based on the usual class structure, to an educational model based on project learning.

The four main research objectives (Lugo, 2016) of this study are:

1) To explore whether in the education centre there are practices derived from the transmedia culture that promote media education transversally, that is, in classes not dedicated to media education per se, but rather dedicated to learning other areas (mathematics, literature or science);

2) To detect in which classes there is potential for promoting transmedia education in a transversal way;

3) To explore the educational potential of students creating products derived from transmedia culture in the educational context;

4) To detect which factors promote and which factors hinder the implementation of transmedia education during the educational process.

To fulfil these objectives a methodological design was proposed that combined ethnography and design. A method –Development and Design Research– oriented towards action and intervention centred on the participant (Alias, 2015) was used. The research phases included: 1) diagnosis, 2) didactic design of the educational experience, 3) implementation, and 4) evaluation of the experience to enrich the design or model. 

To carry out the research, first the educational centre was contacted, the research objectives and activities were established and the work deadlines were agreed on. Second, during the participant observation period, it was detected that the subject of Spanish literature, taught as an optional subject in the humanities area, had the potential of promoting transmedia education transversally. Given that an intervention in the classroom based on storytelling was proposed, it was easier to adapt to the class dynamics of a subject that works on narrative. Authorization was requested from the centre’s management and the teacher in charge of the subject to carry out the intervention in the classroom. The teacher agreed to work around the literary work Don Quixote and the experience was carried out over 12 weeks. As this is an optional subject, there were only 12 students (11 girls and one boy), between 15 and 16 years of age. 

The following table specifies the analysis units and the techniques used in each of the research phases:

Research phase

Techniques and analysis units

Diagnosis

  • Participant observation of 5 class sessions in the regular and computer classroom.
  • Students answer a questionnaire.
  • Diagnostic interview with the teacher.
  • Mapping narrative affinities and a discussion of narrative genres carried out by the students.
  • Survey of interest in Don Quixote.

Design

Based on the diagnostic phase, we designed presentations, exercises and materials for 9 class sessions.

Implementation

  • Exercises were carried out in 9 class sessions.
  • Photographic, audio-visual and textual documentation of activities was produced.
  • Students produced transmedia extensions.

Evaluation

  • Questionnaire answered by the students who attended on the day of the evaluation (the number was lower because several students were missing from class on that date);
  • Focus groups for evaluating the experience with the students and the teacher;
  • Interview for evaluating the experience with the teacher;
  • Analysis of the texts prepared by the students.

Table 1: Research phases

In the following subsections, the research phases listed in the previous table are described in detail.

4. Case study
4.1. Diagnosis

The diagnostic phase was used to detect aspects related to the centre’s educational philosophy and pedagogical style, the teacher's concerns and the students' attitudes regarding the subject and the work itself. The students' media habits and uses as well as their narrative interests were also explored. The most important findings are detailed and grouped into the following two topics:

  • Teacher and student attitudes towards storytelling and learning literature 

The teacher liked literature, theatre and art in general and tried to convey these interests to the students. The teacher often assigned exercises of literary creation to improve spelling – as this was a topic that concerned the teacher – as well as reading and accessing original sources that were worked on throughout the subject, rejecting the approach of learning literature by reviewing stories, as she had been taught herself. The teacher was interested in academic rigor and wanted her students to use academically sound resources, which is why she recommended the Cervantes Virtual Center (https://cvc.cervantes.es). One of her concerns was that Don Quixote was included in the university selectivity tests and students needed to study the text for the exam. However, the students found the work boring and very difficult to understand, as well as the footnotes and resources provided by the teacher, which seemed even more difficult. They disliked reading the book, both in class and at home. Their attitude towards Don Quixote was negative and was partly conditioned by previous experiences. There was only one exception, a student who liked the book and mentioned that her father had given her comics of the story when she was a child.

One of the most interesting findings of the diagnostic phase took place while creating maps of narrative affinities and discussing genres, when the students shared their tastes and interests in literature and narrative. During the activity, it emerged that the students liked stories a lot. They animatedly discussed different genres, especially television series and films, and gave their opinions about the coherence, logic and validity of the storylines, etc. They were emotionally moved when they remembered some of the movies they had recently seen and talked nostalgically about the Disney movies that had been part of their childhood. They preferred comedy, although romance and suspense were also popular (but rejected by some participants). This activity showed that the students enjoyed narrative and literature in their free time. However, they did not enjoy the narrative that they were working on in class and it could be seen that they rejected Don Quixote to a certain degree.

  • Media use

The students' use of different devices, platforms, social networks and applications, as well as their preferences and habits of media consumption were observed in the computer room and determined from the questionnaire. The students used media mainly to express themselves and connect with friends, giving them a function of socializing among equals. Media use for academic purposes was limited to some web pages or search engines. The students stated that they did not use these media to learn either on their own or for school work. In the class sessions they did not use the computers to progress in school work, but rather to revise the different social networks in which they had accounts, such as Instagram or Facebook, among others. One student used the computer time to play video games. There was constant distraction and dispersion in the classroom when they had access to media and this dispersion was in no way related to the work they were working on. 

4.2. Design of the experience

The findings in the diagnostic stage were used to determine the specific objectives and priorities of the design of the experience. Given that the learning strategies should be transversal, the activities should promote both learning about Don Quixote and a transmedia teaching-learning process.

Based on this, the objectives and priorities were:

  • To motivate the students' interest and understanding of the literary work by connecting it with the student's culture and the specific media interests that emerged during the diagnostic exercise (map of affinities);

  • To promote the understanding of Don Quixote through graphic and audio-visual materials of the literary work;

  • To promote the use of digital media and take advantage of their collaborative possibilities to promote greater knowledge of the literary work as well as a transmedia teaching-learning process;

  • To promote the appropriation of the work and personal creative expression.

To this end, the teacher was asked to carry out activities focused on producing transmedia textual extensions, that is, to work based on expanding the narrative through different media and adapting it to their different languages. The main sociocultural skill acquired through these extensions is that of appropriation, which is defined as the ability to use and mix content created by others in individual or group creative expression to produce a message with its own communicative intentions (Jenkins et al., 2009; Ferrés and Piscitelli, 2012; Lugo, 2016).

For this study it was considered appropriate to do one-shot extensions that in the world of fanfiction are defined as stories of a single chapter. Fanfiction is defined as written stories created by fans that focus on popular fictional characters and are usually shared online (Carson, 2017). The design of the experience included exercises that students would do before or during the creation process that would help them to create their own stories.

4.3. Implementation

The activities carried out in each of the 9 sessions and their objectives are described below.

Session

Activity

Objectives

1

Hypertextual adaptation of a chapter of Don Quixote.

  • To understand the idea and importance of the concept "collective intelligence" (Lévy, 1997) and its role in group learning.
  • To convert a specific chapter of Don Quixote into hypertext with links to dictionaries for updating words, wikis with descriptions of the characters, articles and blogs about the work in general or specific facts, etc. The objective was to help fellow students to read the chapter and take advantage of the resources for the chapters adapted by other students. This activity could be done individually or in pairs.
  • To learn to share and co-create documents in Google Drive.

2

Brief collaborative writing exercise. What would happen if Don Quixote lived in the 21st century?

  • To review the basic aspects that make the work a parodic chivalric romance.
  • To understand the basic thematic and structural aspects of the work.
  • To bring the work closer to the context, to the present and to the students’ concerns.
  • To understand the concept of transmedia extension.
  • For the students to be able to express themselves in a playful way.

3

Exploration of adaptations of the work to graphic novels, narrative illustrations and other graphic works.

  • To understand specific contents of the literary work.
  • To explore the parts of the work that are interesting to the students, regardless of whether or not they are included in the chapters that should be read for the university selectivity test.
  • To perceive the reading of the work as something playful and enjoyable.
  • To recognize some basic elements of the narrative illustrations and the graphic novels.
  • To associate and relate Don Quixote with other narratives of the students’ choice.

4

Critical review of the work through mental maps.

  • To recognize the essential themes of the literary work: friendship, fiction and reality, the concept of madness, fiction and addiction, the search for justice, etc.
  • To promote a critical reading of the work through the analysis of its representations and messages.
  • To promote comparing the work with current narratives of interest.

5 and 6

Production of one-shot extensions.

  • To apply what was learned in the previous sessions to the transmedia one-shot extensions of the alternate universe with help from the teacher and the researcher.

7

Adaptations to graphic or audio-visual media.

  • To adapt the text to comic, video, audio, etc. using free applications (the process is continued in the following sessions);
  • To appropriate the text according to personal motivations, adapting it to a format or genre with which the students feel more comfortable. 

8 and 9

Finish the appropriations

  • To complete the textual appropriations begun in session 7.

Table 2: Activities of the implementation phase

4.4. Evaluation

As explained in the previous sections, the research combined ethnography and design, and therefore it was very important to evaluate the experiences and learning perceived by the students and the teacher. Equally important was to analyse what the transmedia exercises and extensions carried out by the students revealed.

  • Lessons and experiences perceived by the students

These evaluations are based on the students responses to a questionnaire (answered in pairs), the focus group carried out both with the students and the teacher, and the closing interview with the teacher, as indicated in Table 1. 

The students said they had learned about the work and the process of transmedia education. It is important to note that their comments showed that their understanding of the literary work had increased: 

"We didn't know about the justice part of Don Quixote."

"Miguel de Cervantes wanted to make fun of the novels about knights."

"With Don Quixote the chivalric romance genre was over".

In relation to transmedia education, we observed learning related to intertextuality, transmedia browsing and technology. However, an important fact is that the students, through the process, discovered and gave value to their own abilities and knowledge. This helped them to feel good about themselves and to value knowledge and learning that had been invisible to them before, and that, being visible now, motivated them to continue to exploit it:

"We saw that many different versions of Don Quixote have been made, some totally with the same story (but explained with comics or with more photographs) and then others where new stories have been invented based on the original version but in other places or with new characters or set in another time.”

“I have learned that I have more capacity than I thought to invent stories.”

"I've learned that there are applications for the iPad that are very good for editing photos and videos, and I have learned to use them a bit".

"I could not have made a story like that alone, but with the guidelines I could do it".

In addition to learning, it was important to assess motivation and subjective experience. All the students agreed that the exercise that had motivated them the most was the map of narrative affinities, since they had been able to share their tastes and discuss film genres. They also commented on the intervention sessions in general:

"I liked not always having to sit down. I like to express my opinion. Normally in class, the teachers dictate. In the end these exercises also make you think".

"What I liked the most was the tablets".

"We really liked writing stories and from now on I think I'll start writing more".

The students commented that when the names of the applications were given to them so they could download them before class, they looked for them on their own and found out what they could use them for. They therefore began to implement them on their own. They had fun using them and experimented with photos of themselves, adding sound, etc. With this it is observed that their motivation made them begin to learn about the applications individually before they did the class activities. Thus, motivation promoted informal learning. Later, in the classroom, the researcher and the teacher directed the use of the applications in relation to the work on Don Quixote.

The teacher also mentioned the appropriations as a significant exercise for learning:

"They realize that what Don Quixote is about, which maybe they didn't realise because it's difficult to read, has to do with reality and resonates with us just the same. I think that they have moved Don Quixote, the whole story, to current problems like abuse, corruption ... There was no manipulation and I didn't tell them to do that. They see that there is all this in Don Quixote and they have transferred it." 

Although she acknowledged the value of the experience, she also pointed out the obstacles that a literature teacher would come up against doing exercises of this kind in their class. She mentioned that the chapters chosen for the university selectivity test are not always the most interesting for the students. She also highlighted the lack of technology and training in the centres, and finally, that the students are not used to working in groups. Finally, she referred to both the students' and teachers' unwillingness to change:

"Students have a hard time changing their habits, and teachers too. There is a kind of wall, that's not insurmountable, but it's difficult to change. They are used to using their computers alone, I think that this has changed (...) I don't see myself trained in this. I took the step of using computers but I'm not trained".

  • Analysis of the transmedia extensions produced

In this section we will concentrate on the exercises of production, storytelling and appropriation. Both for the exercise 'What would happen if Don Quixote lived in the 21st century?' (carried out in session 2) and in the transmedia one-shot extensions, the students appropriated the work and related it to their interests.

They returned to one or several essential themes of the work, such as friendship, fantasy, justice or addiction to make their creations. A new topic that came up in the discussions was feminism, and the gender perspective appeared in one of the transmedia extensions. One of the students treated the theme of disease and another addiction to literature, updating the subject and turning it into addiction to games. In their story, the students explained how Don Quixote and Sancho met in a casino in Las Vegas and became addicted to gambling. 

The most common theme was the friendship between Don Quixote and Sancho, which manifested itself in the affinity between the characters, in their way of complementing each other, in expressions of loyalty between the characters, etc. In addition to updating the work to the 21st century, most of the students placed it in a context known to them: Barcelona. Below is an example of how one student began her transmedia extension:

"Don Quixote was a lonely young man who spent most of his time at work in a small, dark shop. It was his own business, the family company. His business was repairing printers. That's right, he was a printer repairman. Don Quixote was 39 years old, and lived in Barcelona ​​in a small apartment in the centre. When he was not at work, he spent his time reading supernatural crime novels. His dream was to be a criminologist and solve murders. He has always believed that most crimes are actually due to supernatural causes. He locked himself in a world where he imagined himself killing these supernatural beings and solving the crimes. But one day he got tired of imagining and decided to solve a crime in his city [...]. "

In 5 of the 8 stories presented, Don Quixote and Sancho meet and then start their journey. Although it is possible that the support guide helped them to structure the productions in a general way, it is interesting to see how they appropriated different forms of the work. This was one of the most revealing findings because it demonstrated their imaginative abilities, their interests, their storytelling and technological competences, and their skills in relation to content management and literary resources. The students did the work collaboratively together without advise or help from the teacher or researcher. It was on their own initiative that they not only made intertextual work in relation to the literary work but also referred to television genres and, in addition, used the conventions of the genre in question (mafia, ghost hunting, cowboys) to structure their stories and update the content. In this way they demonstrated that they knew aspects related to genres and narrative structures that they themselves did not realise that they knew, and that these aspects were given value in the activity. 

5. Discussion

The transmedia education intervention in the subject of Literature was not only possible but desirable for learning, and created a positive disposition towards the narrative. The focus on narrative production proved useful for working based on the students' priorities that emerged in the diagnosis, which were the basis of the pedagogical design of the intervention. The students’ comments and answers to the questionnaire showed that both their understanding of the literary work and their interest in it increased, and collaborative work was enhanced. In some cases, this went further and even gave the students a positive concept of themselves as creators and helped them to value some of their media practices. Even so, previous emotional experiences play a large role in students’ willingness to enjoy complex works such as Don Quixote.

In this intervention it was observed that more than learning new competences, the students used transmedia skills related to storytelling and production. The pedagogical design allowed them to use these skills in the classroom to learn about the literary work. In this way, the experience promoted not only reflection on literature in general and the story in particular, but also established a real link between formal and informal learning –usually carried out in informal contexts– in the context of formal education.

The technological resources do not seem to be such a decisive factor, especially if the final result of this process does not have to be a digital product. However, technology seems to favour students becoming involved and facilitates collaborative work.

The students were observed to be most motivated in the activities for sharing their tastes, producing and creating. This is understandable if it is considered that they want to be active and taken into account, as they themselves expressed it. But it also points to the need to know the students, their preferences, concerns and interests, to be able to motivate them and bring the educational contents closer to their realities. It also highlights that it is necessary to promote a type of reading that later allows the students to make productions that are not only creative but also critical. In line with the reflections of Ferrés and Masanet (2015), in media education it is not only important to encourage critical thinking but also a critical attitude, and this happens when students insert a critical perspective of the world that surrounds them into their own productions.

Finally, the obligatory nature of work seems to block both the possibility of the teacher choosing the chapters and the positive disposition of the students to the work. The teacher herself recognizes that the chapters assigned for the university selectivity test are not always the most interesting. The fact is that El Quixote has a lot to offer students. The girls were concerned about the issues of justice, friendship, fiction and gender, among other contents; however, the approach to the work from a "compulsory" environment created rejection, and therefore, other strategies for approaching the literary work were necessary. The experience is a first step that offers useful guidelines for working in the classroom based on motivation and entertainment, giving value to transmedia skills developed in informal or non-formal environments.

6. Final notes

It is necessary to bear in mind that the "formal" and the "informal", in the same way as the "real" and the "virtual" – or the "analogue" and the "digital" – are only oppositions that, in actual situations, tend to overlap and remix. Although they are useful for the researcher, at a certain point of the reflection it is convenient to take a distance from them. According to David Buckingham (2018): “A binary distinction between ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ isn’t especially helpful. By definition, media education involves an encounter between out-of-school knowledge –what we might call more every day, vernacular knowledge– and the more academic, high-status knowledge promoted by the school. How these two forms of knowledge (or these two varieties of literacy) interact is complex, and often fraught with difficulty” (Buckingham, 2018: 7).
In this context, if transmedia literacy tends to focus on the competences developed in informal environments, it is worth remembering that both at the analytical and practical levels it is advisable to maintain a constant exchange between the two environments. For this reason, transmedia literacy, understood as an educational practice, aims to take and use the knowledge developed outside the formal environment into the classroom. As Buckingham argues, “The most active media users are not necessarily the most media literate. In my view, media literacy also requires a systematic process of study; and for better or worse, schools are going to remain vital (and indeed compulsory) institutions in this respect” (Buckingham, 2018: 7).

In other words: although in informal environments students learn to do many things with the media, these knowledge and practices should be reworked and complemented in the formal circuit. Transmedia storytelling teaches us that although the culture industry and fan culture have different and often opposed logics, they also need each other. Similarly, transmedia education needs that exchange between what happens with media outside school and the teaching-learning processes that take place within the classroom.

  • This work was funded by the R&D&i project 'Transalfabetismos. Competencias transmedia y estrategias informales de aprendizaje de los adolescents' (CSO2014-56250-R) of the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness of Spain.

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How to cite this article in bibliographies / References

CA Scolari, N Lugo Rodriguez, MJ Masanet (2019): “Transmedia Education. From the contents generated by the users to the contents generated by the students”. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, 74, pp. 116 to 132.
http://www.revistalatinacs.org/074paper/1324/07en.html
DOI: 10.4185/RLCS-2018-1324en

Article received on 25 0ctober 2018. Accepted on 21 December.
Published on 3 January 2019.

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