Transmedia Storytelling: Becoming More Modern with APPS

When a digital story is finished it should be remembered for its soul, not the bells and whistles of the technology tools. (Bernajean Porter, 2004)


Transmedia storytelling is the ultimate mash-up of ancient traditions and new communications models. Media technologies have come a long way since cave painting and have so many new capabilities. The clash between words and images have recently been tipped by the immersive, interactive reading and learning environments enabled by media technologies. Transmedia storytelling engages, informs and inspires participants - who are more than mere ‘readers’ or consumers of organized concepts – to become immersed in participatory experiences by connecting with and collaborating over content meaning-making. In spite of the breadth and dazzle of media technologies, transmedia storytelling is really about using a multitude of technologies mixed together in the service of a higher goal: learning, thinking and communicating through storytelling ~ rehearsing and mastering narrative intelligence to persuade, motivate, inform, excite and incite others to engage in life together.

Through emerging and dynamic, participatory online digital tools, a new brand of transmedia stories are emerging as complex every changing fictional worlds. Yet, transmedia stories are not just media properties, as anyone with a personal computer, mobile device, or tablet PC can create one. In education, these same techniques can be used to create a powerful emotional connection with curricular content. Quality transmedia narratives are written with an openness that allows opportunities for extension using varying methods and modes that enable different entry points into the environment they have helped create.Transmedia storytelling does not simply disperse the story; using narrative storytelling a set of roles which readers can assume are often provided as they engage and/or co-create emerging content, plot points and character development tapping into collective wisdom.


Prepare to modernize your communication skills while personally immersed in crafting your own transmedia storytelling product. Along the way, learn the processes and tools that engages a multitude of skills for reading and writing ANY multimedia communication. Literacy in an information age can no longer be limited to JUST text-based communication. For students (authors) to be effective communicators in the 21st century, sophisticated skills in expressing ideas with multiple communication technologies will be needed. And with 65,000 You-tubes posted a day, the goal is no longer to make a movie. Being able to DO any technology is not the same as tap into It is about designing information that has attention power – impacting and influencing others. Every medium has a grammar and a fluency requiring rehearsal and mastery. Are ALL your teachers and students prepared to demonstrate being effective communicators in an increasingly multi-facted digital world?

Exploring and Expanding Media Modes

How literate can students really be if they only know ONE medium of communication? Words are an important foundation literacy but not the sole communication How many modes of communication are present in your learning environments? How many genres of digital mediums are students rehearsing and mastering expressing their ideas and understandings beyond words? While there are always learning curves in using new mediums - FIRST make sure the author has something worthy to express before packaging it with any digital tools.

View Bernajean's interview at ISTE 2010 on 3D Virtual StoryWorld (Storytelling) built by Ramapo Middle School students Second Life - or take your avatar on a personal visit of the exhibit "inworld" @

StoryMaking MODES ~ Creativity Abounds in New Narrative Forms

• Podcasts and Broadcasts

• Comic / Graphic Novels

• Docu-dramas using VoiceThread

• Dramatic Blogs ~ AS IF you are a fictional or non-fiction character making facts come ALIVE for others

• 3D Pop-up Books

• Movie Making

• Visual Storytelling ~ Using Images ONLY to Unfold the Story

• Animations - e.g. GoAnimate; XtraNormal

• Choose-Your-Own Adventures - Never-Ending-Stories ~ using Hyper-Media / Web-sites or Video

3D Participatory StoryWorlds ~ e.g. Second Life; Quest Atlantis; and GraveYard

• Around the World in 80 Days a la QR Codes

Thursday's Fiction - A Video Sharing Reincarnations of StoryTelling

• Choose Your Own Adventures a la Video [HairCut]

• Place-based StoryTelling a la Google lit trips

• Online Transmedia Literary Adventures ~ e.g. The Amanda Project; FanFiction;

• Transmedia Literary Adventures a la APPS ~ Cathy's Book, Skeleton Creek Ghost in the Machine

Machinimas: Mixing Magic and Film-Making

Welcome to a new world of creativity! Machinima is a hybrid term for machines and cinema. The planning steps for creating any film-making are the same except filming takes place in virtual worlds not real life (Second Life, SIMS, Halo, MineCraft or World of WarCraft). All avatars are actors NOT animations with sets, costumes, animations and backgrounds built specifically for the storylines. Machinima (creating video using 3D virtual worlds) holds real potential for developing numerous 21st century media literacy skills as well as proficiencies in communication, collaboration, creativity, and problem solving. Here are a few examples:

  1. Bernajean's In-world presentation on "All Technology Uses are NOT Equal"
  2. Anne Collier's (Founder and executive director of its parent organization, Net Family News, Inc.) shares an in-world presentation on Online Safety: Myths and Facts -a special guest feature at Bernajena's Monday Nite Conversations in SL
  3. A Child's War - a student production video sharing the trauma of Sudanese Boys
  4. Toto's Africa - a beautiful musical machinima
  5. Beloved - a haunting historical machinima based on Mao's Second Wife