Interactive technology – Storytelling in the digital age

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The introduction of new digital tools has allowed for storytelling to be a more immersive experience; it allows the audience to have a higher level of engagement. The idea of storytelling has exsisted for generations. In recent years the way in which literature is represented has progressed. The basic structure of a story; a plot, a narrative, characterisation, has not changed. The platforms they are shared on have. The combination of the art of storytelling with multimedia such as video, audio and graphics has become more popular in the digital age (Alderman, 2013)

Digital literature is often represented through video games, interactive documentaries and through some social media platforms. The combination of storytelling and the digital age has added another dimension to literature. Interactive technology allows for the audience to have an increased level of emotional engagement. Each user will have a different experience because of this interactivity, improving audience engagement. Interactive technology has the ability to represent choice, allowing the audience to influence the story. The interplay between creativity and technology can be seen in certain video games. Games or digital media that contain a storytelling component can be useful for decision making and problem solving. Digital storytelling allows for the development of critical thought.

Interactive documentaries such as Bear71 prove to be hugely immersive and engaging. The user is directly involved in the telling of the story. Even though the same narrative and soundtrack was heard by each user, each user’s experience was different because of the interactive nature of Bear71 .This allowed the documentary to be more engaging than a traditional documentary. This interactivity enables the audience to have a more immersive experience.bear.jpg

Interactive technology could help optimize children’s potential in a learning environment. Fun, interactive tools help children retain more information thus optimizing their learning opportunity (N/A,2012). Children get distracted easily, interactive technology could help children remain attentive. Promoting technology to children is sometimes frowned upon by older generations, however the children growing up in this digital age will be expected to be accustomed to the technological era. It is inevitable that interactive technology will be utilised in learning and development environments.

Television was once just an electronic box people sat in front of. Today, interactive technology has enabled the interactivity between the user and their device (such as a television). This interactivity allows for a more immersive experience, allowing more information to be shared and collected. Take the Wii console as an example, a highly popular device for all age groups. The user’s movements/actions are broadcasted onto the television screen. There are various fitness, roleplay, story and educational Wii games. They’re all of an interactive nature, the user plays a significant role in the telling of the story or of the completion of tasks.

Interactive technology is developing at an unprecedented level and will continue to develop as the digital age progresses. Stories that are represented digitally and allow interaction enable the user to have a more immersive experience. The possibilities for interactive technology ranges from education to advertising.

 

Bibliography

Alderman, N. (2013) How interactive technology is transforming storytelling, url: http://www.theguardian.com/culture-professionals-network/culture-professionals-blog/2013/jul/12/interactive-technology-transform-storytelling-fiction Accessed on the 3rd of December 2015

De Leeuw, I. (2011), The 6 Most Innovative Interactive Web Documentaries, url: http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/the-6-most-innovative-interactive-web-documentaries Accessed on the 4th of December 2015

N/A.(2012) Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8,url: http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/PS_technology_WEB2.pdf  Accessed on the 3rd of December 2015

 

 

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Booktrack: The future of reading?

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As the digital age develops traditional concepts also develop. Reading itself has not changed, however the various ways people can read has. We have not been taught new ways to read, but have found new platforms to read from. Readers are not just confined to a paperback or hardback text. Text has been digitalised and can now be collected and shared through an internet connection. The amount of people who read from a screen has increased hugely (Hayles,2010) .The introduction of e-books and electronic reading devices was met with mixed emotions. Many saw traditional books as the only way to properly read. Others saw these reading devices as an easily accessible catalogue of books in their back pocket.

Text has not only been digitalised and confined into a tablet, there have also been many possibilities with regard to book soundtracks. Their purpose is to provide the appropriate soundtrack to the text that is being read. Booktrack offers this service, it works off an estimated reading pace and inputs the appropriate soundtrack in accordance with the text. Booktrack claims to transform reading, just like sound transformed film (Booktrack,2014) . Its idea is to provide a soundtrack that emotionally corresponds to the words on the page. Having explored some books that Booktrack had to offer, it is evidently an inventive idea. However, the entire reading experience alongside a soundtrack proved more challenging than immersive. The point of the ‘movie-like’ soundtrack is to make the text more engaging. I found myself concentrating more on pace rather than the text itself. It was very difficult to read at a normal pace while the soundtrack was playing. This in turn caused the soundtrack to be faster than my reading pace, which confused the situation even more.

The question also arose whether books with soundtracks would entice non-readers or occasional readers to read more. It is apparent that a book with a corresponding soundtrack does sound more fun and intriguing, it adds another dimension to the written word. However, adults who have not read for leisure in several years would probably not become avid readers solely because of an added soundtrack. It most definitely would be of interest to avid and occasional readers at first, but might prove to be more of an annoyance than anything else. Is this the future of reading? Will ideas like this transform how people read? Or will people stick to a more simplistic approach?book2.jpg

Booktrack also offers a ‘create’ section, which allows users to add a ‘movie-like’ soundtrack to their own text. This particular section on their site could definitely be utilised in a learning environment. Children, who are encouraged to read from a young age would find a tool like Booktrack more stimulating than a traditional book. The ‘create’ section would appeal to children and would promote creativity on a digital platform.

David Gutowski (Morais, 2011) argues that adding a movie-like soundtrack to books would no longer allow books to be books, but more of a multimedia experience. The combination of literature and music could quite possibly be the future of reading for those who want a multimedia experience as they read.

 

Bibliography

Morais, B. (2011), Books With Soundtracks: The Future of Reading?, url: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/08/books-with-soundtracks-the-future-of-reading/244344/ Accessed on the 4th of December 2015

Hayles, K. (2010), How We Read: Close, Hyper, Machine, url: http://nkhayles.com/how_we_read.html Accessed on the 4th of December 2015