From ‘media literacy’ to ‘transmedia literacy’: a research project.

A couple of ideas behind our project.

The overall concept underpinning the Transmedia Literacy  project is relatively easy to describe: there is an increasing disconnection between the lives of teens outside of IT. Even as educational institutions have made efforts to upgrade their pedagogical practices and technological infrastructure, the gap between the technological environments of young people and schools appears to be growing. At the same time, teens are developing new and transliteracies by participating social networks, producing and sharing media contents and creating learning communities around videogames. The Transmedia Literacy project will try to bring together both worlds, analysing these informal productions, sharing and learning practices, and creating a series of outputs to facilitate their introduction into formal institutions. 

In the context of the Transmedia Literacy project, ‘transmedia skills’ are understood as a series of advanced competences related to digital interactive media production and consumption (Jenkins 2006: Manovich 2009).

Previous research in this field (i.e. Jenkins et al, 2006) has identified numerous skills including playing (capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of problem-solving), performing (ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery), appropriating (ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content), judging (ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources), transmedia navigating (ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities), networking (ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information), and negotiating (ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms). 

For the Transmedia Literacy project team, transmedia skills will range from problem-solving processes in videogames to content production and sharing in the context of web platforms and social networks; the Project will also focus on the narrative content (fanfiction, fanvids, etc.) produced and shared by teens in digital networks.

The Transmedia Literacy project will start on April 1, 2015, and will last for three years.

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