#23 Don’t underestimate the e-book


the metamorphosis adapted by peter kuper

Originally uploaded by tsheko

I’m going to talk selectively about e-books. I was really taken by Len Unsworth’s presentation at a SLAV conference last year. It changed the way I viewed e-books. Of course, I’m focussing on only one aspect of the presentation, but it’s the bit that blew me away. In this context, Len stated that we should rethink what counts as literary narrative. This was poignantly expressed when he spoke about digitally recontextualised literary texts. Len pointed out that ‘electronic media are not simply changing the way we tell stories, they are changing the very nature of story, of what we understand to be narratives’. An example he used was Kafka’s Metamorphosis (Die Verwandlung) adapted as a digital story by Peter Kruper. You know the story – one day Gregor Samsa wakes up and finds that he’s turned into a cockroach, and the rest of his miserable life becomes even more difficult. Well, the graphic novel of Metamorphosis works powerfully, but the digital version takes it one step further. Instead of a static page, movement in and around the page, as well as presenting parts of the page dynamically to suit the narrative, give life to the digital story in a way that is new. There is so much more to the types of literacy required for the ‘reading’ than the static visual imagery of the graphic novel. I couldn’t agree more with Len Unsworth: we should not ignore the multimedia expertise of our children. Electronic media has much potential in teaching and learning of literacies, and in inspiring students in reading and writing.

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Filed under Children's books, Education, Web 2.0

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