Transmedia can be defined simply as “across media”. Multimedia mostly applies to the technologies as such, without any structural elements like narrative and storytelling.
Henry Jenkins (2011), in his post “Transmedia 202: Further Reflections”, insists that transmedia is more than just franchising, which is an integrated network of moving graphic figures and brands across media channels without trying to further develop, enhance and build up on a story. Franchising is just an adaptation of the same story taken from one medium to another.
Jenkins re-defines transmedia as “a structure based on the further development of the story world through each new medium”. An extension is fundamental in creating transmedia content by adding substance to the existing story, when it moves from one platform to another.
Hence Jenkins’ updated definition of transmedia refers to transmedia storytelling:
“Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each medium makes its own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story”.
Transmedia takes various shapes depending on the context, audience and purpose. It has enormous potential in delivering enhanced teaching and learning experiences in modern classrooms. “Digital stories provide powerful media literacy learning opportunities because students are involved in the creation and analysis of the media in which they are immersed.” (Ohler, 2005).
Digital technologies and digital media changed students’ expectations and the way they learn (Howell, 2012). With internet, social media, TV, video games, comics and toys, digital native students are active participants and collaborators in the learning process. Traditional and digital tools are being used as fun, interactive environments where knowledge and new concepts can be taught and learnt at everyone’s individual pace.
Engaging students in transmedia storytelling can be as simple as reading a book and then playing an interactive game that expands on the book content. Students can be involved in re-creating their own versions of the story using different media like video or role-play games.
Transmedia builds up on the main story with each media factor offering more information, giving minor characters higher significance or adding new ones to the story (Jenkins, 2011). It “relies upon children’s abilities to decode, remix, create and circulate many kinds of media content, from Sesame Street to Star Wars, across contexts, including school, extended learning programs and home environments…Transmedia play is a way of thinking about children’s experimentation with, expression through and participation in media.” (Apler & Herr-Stephenson, 2013).
Stavroula Kaloregas (2014) observes that students who learnt about the Trojan War through digital story, internet, documentary and film, enjoyed learning experience, more than if they were exploring the subject through the text only. Digital storytelling was considered as efficient form of information that engaged students and fostered better retention.
Transmedia storytelling may interest students with various learning styles and learning difficulties. It promotes collaboration in group settings and adds value in improving student’s awareness through personal ownership and achievement.
Alper, M & Herr-stephenson, R. (2013). Transmedia Play: Literacy Across Media. The National Association for Media Literacy Education’s Journal of Media Literacy Education , 5(2), 366-369. Retrieved 14 May, 2017, from https://lms.curtin.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-4393180-dt-content-rid- 24882474_1/courses/EDUC1000-FacHum-1734979447/EDUC1000-FacHum- 1183084446_ImportedContent_20151214124648/Transmedia%20Play_%20L iteracy%20Across%20Media.pdf
Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. Victoria: Oxford University Press.
Jenkins, H. (2011). Transmedia 202: Further Reflections. Confessions of an Aca-Fan The Official Weblog of Henry Jenkins. Retrieved 15 May, 2017, from http://henryjenkins.org/2011/08/defining_transmedia_further_re.html
Kalogeras, S. (2013). Media-Education Convergence: Applying Transmedia Storytelling Edutainment in E-Learning Environments. International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Education (IJICTE), 2(9), 1-11. doi:10.4018/jicte.2013040101
Ohler, Jason. (2005) Digital Storytelling In The Classroom: New Media Pathways To Literacy, Learning, And Creativity. Web. 14 May 2017. From http://www.jasonohler.com/pdfs/digitalStorytellingArticle1-2006.pdf