Future Cinema

Course Site for Future Cinema 1 (and sometimes Future Cinema 2: Applied Theory) at York University, Canada

Transmedia Storytelling in Education

Posted on | October 31, 2016 | No Comments

Transmedia in Education

Transmedia in many ways is the future of our global communication. Transmedia as multiplatform media enables us to interact, experience and participate in digital stories. Interaction and participation through multiplatform media avail us to immerse within the digital world. Through media convergences like transmedia, we embrace the sense of future with questions, such as: What kind of world will we engage with and live within the future? How will technology treat us? How will we reveal the world through technology? And how will our future generation learn to learn?

In the context of education, teachers give their efforts to engage with students via the use of exciting and empowering media. It is essential for the students to engage, participate and create their own ways to learn. Just like media that evolves and develops over time, teaching and learning evolves as well. Therefore, it has become an avid intention for teachers to create fun and exciting classroom environments, avoid boredom and engage students with participation and creativity. The fact that traditional model of learning is struggling to meet the learners’ readiness and willingness to learn; it forces the teachers to look at new models in the learning process. This urge is reasonable as Fuller said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something; build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” (Fleming, 371).

For that purpose, transmedia storytelling offers digital stories for students to engage in, participate and create their own learning process in fun, rich and fruitful ways by providing stories, games, activities, and self-reflections. Furthermore, Jenkins also states that “The best transmedia storytelling serves four key functions. It extends the timeline, maps the world, explores secondary characters, and engages the audience” (Jenkins, 2006). Consequently, the use of transmedia storytelling has become very essential in the classroom. It would also be affecting the urges of the teacher to modify, enhance and empower their curriculum and teaching approaches through transmedia projects. Also, creating a transmedia learning world is the ideal goal for teachers in schools in North America. In addition, Fleming assures the importance of Transmedia Learning World with the argument that creating a Transmedia Learning World means engaging with the capabilities of ubiquitous technologies, real-life experiences, and learner-focused pedagogies, making for profoundly productive and powerful learning experiences (Fleming, 371).

Furthermore, Transmedia Learning World (TLW) emphasizes the essential aspects of Literacy skills in the process of transmedia learning. Literacy skills in transmedia projects will allow learners to be able to identify transmedia navigation that will embody the ability to follow the movement of the stories and information across multiple modalities (Jenkins, 2009). A good example for enhancing the literacy media skills is Inanimate Alice, a very rich, fruitful and empowering transmedia storytelling for teachers and students to engage with, participate and experience digital literacy.

Inanimate Alice is a game simulated story, which is still ongoing (till now there have been 6 episodes). It tells a story about a girl who wants to become a game designer. She moved to different places and has her imaginary digital friend, Brad. This project has received high acclaim and awards because of its unique concept and rich literacy skills. It certainly helps the reader/learner navigate the contents, but it also provides learners a chance to create content and also engage emotionally within some topics in some episodes.

In short, Inanimate Alice is one of the trendsetters of educational transmedia, whereas it empowers teachers and learners through several literacy skills; multimodal literacy, problem-solving literacy, cultural literacy and social-emotional literacy.

Additional Notes: Jenkins (2009) through his book, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century, divided media literacy skills, which are:

1.       Play: The capacity to experiment with the surroundings as a form of problem-solving.

2.       Simulation: the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes.

3.      Performance: the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery.

4.      Appropriation: the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content.

5.      Multitasking: the ability to scan the environment and shift focus onto salient details.

6.      Distributed cognition: the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities.

7.      Collective intelligence: the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal.

8.      Judgment: the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources.

9.      Transmedia navigation: the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities.

10.   Networking: the ability to search for, synthesize and disseminate information.

11.    Negotiation: the ability to travel across diverse communities discerning and respecting multiple perspectives and grasping and following alternative norms.


Abba, Tom. “Hybrid Stories: Examining the Future of Transmedia Narrative.” Science Fiction Film and Television, 2009: 59-75.

Alper, Meryl, and Rebecca Herr-Stephenson. “Transmedia Play: Literacy Across Media.” Journal of Media Literacy Education 5, no. 2 (2013): 366-369.

Dudacek, Oto. “Transmedia Storytelling in Education.” Procedia (Social and Behavioral Sciences), 2015: 694-696.

Fleming, Laura. “Expanding Learning Opportunities with Transmedia Practices: Inanimate Alice as an Exemplar.” Journal of Media Literacy Education, 20113: 370-377.

Harvey, Colin B. Fantastic Transmedia: Narrative, Play and Memory Across Science Fiction and Fantasy Storyworlds. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

Jenkins, Henry. Confronting the Challenges of the Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2009.

Phillips, Andrea. A Creator’s Guide to Transmedia Storytelling: How to Captivate and Engage Audiences Across Multiple Platforms. McGraw-Hill, 2012.

Raybourn, Elaine M. “A new paradigm for serious games: Transmedia learning for more effective training and education.” Journal of Computational Science, 2014: 471-481.

Rodrigues, Patrícia, and José Bidarra. “Transmedia Storytelling and the Creation of a Converging Space of Educational Practices.” International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning 9, no. 6 (2014).

Sangalang, Angeline, Jessie M. Quintero Johnson, and Kate E. Ciancio. “Exploring Audience Involvement with an Interactive Narrative: Implications for Incorporating Transmedia Storytelling into Entertainment- Education Campaigns.” Critical Arts, 2013: 127-146.


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