Transmedia narratives are innovative tools, designed to support the teaching-learning and communication processes in the field of education.
Mg. Luis Fernando Gutiérrez Cano
Mg. Luis Jorge Orcasitas Pacheco
Nowadays, contemporary society finds itself immersed in an irrefutable amalgam of persistent and vertiginous technological transformations, where digital media are highlighted, which are linked to profuse communication and information fabrics that, in one way or another, have singularly coerced forms of approximation and exchange in the conventions and accesses that individuals have to access knowledge.
The teaching-learning methods have not been alien to the technological transformations that are currently being experienced and from different academic instances there is debate about the role that these technologies can play within a context with communication and information flows in incessant development.
That is why the main agents involved in the education sector have channeled their concerns in trying to clarify formulas how media technologies can become viable and potential allies to provide useful educational tools that can contribute to the optimization of pedagogical processes , both in the classroom and outside of it.
What this article proposes, alluding to the exploration of transmedia narratives as learning tools, does not have the ambition to establish itself as an absolute or definitive prototype nor to establish itself as an univocal formula to effect and strengthen education; On the contrary, the essence of the abstraction outlined here is aimed at knowing and re-knowing the implications of "trends for education" (Jenkins, 2008, P. 32). Regarding Amador (2013) affirms:
"Transmedia learning" is a proposal that does not intend to become a model or a formula for effective academic performance in schools and universities. It is, rather, the recognition of a new public-private sphere in which subjects, knowledge, practices and interests are present, which underlies the interactive cultural convergence, that is, ways of being, thinking and acting that emerge from the transit of the receiver-user to the prosumidor. This transit is mediated by the participation of ordinary people in the digital narrative and in interactive environments (media ecology). (p.25).
In short, what is intended is that they can adopt and adapt some of the alternatives and facilities provided by the technological devices of the ecosystem that make up digital media, with an obsequent purpose: transmedia narratives and the universe of technological means that embraces, they become useful objects of learning as stimulating and motivating factor of learners (De Grande, 2016).
Transmedia narratives and education
As Rampazzo Gambarato (2013) points out, even today there are certain uncertainties about the academic consensus of exactly what transmedia narratives mean, NT- in English Transmedia Storytelling, TS-. It can be said that until now the enunciation space of the NT continues, in a certain way, open and expanding.
Therefore, Henry Jenkins creates a conceptual framework of the notion of transmedia narrative from the analysis of the phenomenon that caused the movie Matrix, configuring the transmedia as a narrative that "is developed through multiple media platforms, and each new text makes a specific and valuable contribution to the whole "(Jenkins, 2008, p.101). The above refers to the mediatic transcendence of a communicative narrative, as the NT are meaning and re-signify in a kind of media journey of the message, which gives a sense of experiential depth to it (comprehensive), in front of its users. This from an eminently capitalistic foundation, but is also applicable in the case that is being addressed: object susceptible to apply in pedagogical processes.
For this reason, Massarolo and Mesquita (2013) consider that the increasingly omniscient presence of digital media components such as the NT in the current educational spaces, has led them to be guided in a diligent search of innovative pedagogical tools that propitiate renewed teaching-learning models, in accordance with reality.
On the other hand, Jenkins highlights the use of NT as concrete and effective pedagogical tools, which also create a break with the already known educational paradigms since they evoke different ways of promoting education through the development of precise capacities, so that learners participate. fully in the teaching-learning processes themselves and can go beyond the simple necessity of traditional education "to distribute the skills and knowledge necessary to train informed citizens" (Jenkins, 2008, P. 256).
However, the progression of NT as tools (or strategies) to support educational processes can be exploited and applied in the perspective of gathering those particular narrative structures, which are prone to expand through different languages and means of communication, for the creation and product innovation for educators and learners.
In order to achieve the interaction and participation of these in the formulation, execution and understanding of the messages (audiovisual, radio, iconic, textual, etc.), for the construction of pedagogical experiences that promote the formation of participatory communities that together , allow these same communities to discover, rediscover and solve the multiplicity of questions that the objects of study project. In this way, the academic communities are able to redefine the ratification, expansion and subjection of new knowledge, taking advantage of the virtualization facilities provided by digital media.
In short, the NT are likely to offer components that are undoubtedly part of Lévy's thesis on virtualization, as a way for the constant construction and transformation of knowledge, in order to optimize educational processes in any area, starting from the transverse incorporation of elements such as the capacity for differentiation, the capacity for immersion, continuity and multiplicity, extraction, construction of the environment, seriality, subjectivity from different perspectives and generation of collective contents for individual consultation.
Characteristics of transmedia narrative
From the context of expansion currently presented by the media, the so-called "new media age", where these are expanding from our needs, technology appears according to the needs that are created and it transforms those own needs in something useful (we must clarify that technology does not transform societies, on the contrary, society creates demands that technology will address during the transformation).
As mentioned at the beginning, in the existing links of transmedia narratives with education, there are already related uses and articulations of elements such as ICT, for example, applicable to the teaching process of certain academic contents; the operation of virtual education platforms through the implementation of Learning or Management System for the development of multi-channel and multimedia on-line courses (e-learning, b-learning and multimodal); and the implementation of environments and virtual learning objects (Amado, 2013).
However, it is also important to point out a certain degree of complexity that is immersed in the practices of transmedia narratives in education, since they also demand the creation of universes much more complex than those that a film can show (Matrix case) or a television series (Lost case), since the transmedia, connected with education, acquires other dimensions of what can be seen on the screen.
That is why it means and implies a more arduous work, and that also generates new demands for involvement, commitment and immersion on the part of educators, precisely because, within that context, the "traditional" educational processes they do in the day to day, many times they do not manage to dialogue with those "publics" of the way to channel the communication (remember that this dialogue only occurs when all the individuals start from the same base of linguistic and communicational structure), hence When different dialogical levels are presented, they end up surrounded by lack of diligence, to the point that one of the parties will not understand the other.
Therefore, we must create structures and create strategies that achieve dialogue with those "public" more active and possibly more interactive and it is at this time when transmedia narrative arises then as a proposal of support in this journey of the educational process.
Formula for transmedia application in education
Undoubtedly it is difficult to establish a univocal formula for the application of transmedia narratives in education; However, what is clear is the existence of some parameters that are necessary and possible, to structure a narrative or transmedia organization to support educational processes.
1 The first step is to clearly state the content of the universe you want to discuss. At this point the teacher must be aware that the production that is going to take place must have a function beyond the "traditional", this is fundamental for the development of the different components of the universe that one wants to work. That is why the teacher (who works as a transmedia producer) must have the ability to understand the whole topic and how the story (product) and the different contents that make up the whole have been created.
2 In a second instance it is essential that the teacher knows, recognizes and identifies the main characteristics of their students (target audience). In the same way, you must find out which are the languages to be worked on, which are the spaces, the resources that this "public" has, the limitations that are available, because it is necessary, within the possibilities available, to select and distinguish those issues that will really address the needs of students.
Likewise, the educator must take into account that the target audience with which he / she will work collaboratively, has access to the devices, technology and infrastructure required to have the possibility of using those contents. In short, you have to know the public before creating an educational structure, that is known what exposes them, that which does not yet allow accessibility at different levels (from financial issues to intellectual issues), in order to achieve direct productions for that public and that this has access and get dialogue with them, because it is feasible that certain groups are not yet able to consume certain content; If these elements are not available, the teacher does not earn anything by creating a type of help for the class and that no one can take advantage of it.
3 It is also necessary to plan all the means of communication and platforms that can be used. The more you can plan the different technologies, the different languages and the different media to be used, the more specific will be the elements of the universe that will be created. As far as possible, the teacher must articulate each of these means before starting to produce them, establishing how the media relates and do not create difficulties between them and defining the narratives and the nuclei. It is important to draw the differences between the means for the universe that is going to be counted from questions such as: where do they converge and where are they independent?
Resources for creation in education
It is not a closed list; However, a priori there are technological resources that can be added within a transmedia structure and that most of these can be done with a reasonable economic investment. These are: video, animations, crossmedia material that converges at some point, DVD, linear content, gamified system, virtual reality and expanded reality, "traditional" books and texts, iBook, interactive books, collaborative narratives: RPG creation structure ( programming), from the collaboration of the interpretation and applications for mobile devices, electronic games, neurological games. It should also be noted that these resources do not imply the substitution of face-to-face and in the same way they can be used in different types of education.
The transmedia narratives, in addition to constituting itself as the most active form in the teaching-learning process, offers a responsibility for the construction of individual and collective knowledge, as well as acting in one of the aspects that are needed in the whole of the educational processes and it is the motivation of the academic communities to participate more actively in the particularities of the process.
Transmedia narratives make possible the exploration of the particularities of narrative languages and what they say. The idea is that you do not learn by a single means simply, because it is clear that you learn by the composition of different media, different resources, different audiovisual and intellectual styles.
The idea of applying transmedia narratives is that it offers the option to explore each of its constituent elements, its composition and the convergence between them for the creation and construction of knowledge. In the same way, an approach to the issues is made from different points of view, because it is necessary to tell something from a simple narrative line, but also from those who propose several of those lines and the convergences that are established between them, that is to say, educators and learners will be able to make several approaches, of several contents of the same subject.
The transmedia narratives facilitate learning and collaborative work, the collective construction of knowledge through the sum of the small knowledge and the baggage of the individualities (if the commitment of the participants is achieved), which allow to take advantage of the specific knowledge of each subject for add, to collaborate, explore and add to the whole. It is clear then, that transmedia narratives configure a sense of responsibility in the construction and participation in teaching-learning processes, which goes beyond the obligation of presence, passivity, reception.
In short, the idea of the transmedia narrative is not to overload more content in the classroom, the idea is to give support, offer possibilities to the student so that he can get involved and the content is a much more pleasant matter. Involvement is more subtle in that sense, but it is not a greater obligation.
Transmedia is not a definitive solution in educational processes, indeed, there is still much to be done, the concept is not so horizontal, therefore, the great challenge is to think and rethink collectively; For example, one of the great differences that arise in the application of transmedia educational strategies is the infrastructure capacity of the students.
This is why you should carefully observe the type of resources of students: if you have computers, high-speed Internet, mobile phones, etc .; if the educational institution has the resources, if the same teacher has the resources. The application of new narratives in education depends on the technological structure you have, also if the teacher has the resources to create content.
We must also consider the enormous difficulty that exists in teacher training specialized in this type of resources, since from the field of digital media, technologies and new languages, the presence of traditional media in the courses is still timid. of teacher training and when there are, sometimes they are more technical courses (for example, they ask them how to record a video, but they do not involve the language of video in education or the potential of the image in education; teaches how to use software but does not deal with how that software can be implemented within an educational structure). It is clear that it is still very slight in the curricula, how to use the media within teacher training.
Finally, both planning and evaluation are also very complex actions. Many teachers have faced the question of how to produce different content and materials in educational processes using audiovisual resources; also, if it is feasible that the teacher can find the necessary time within the pedagogical-administrative structure established by the institutions, something that is sometimes very difficult to achieve. That is why the academic community must make the agents of the system understand that transmedia is a major issue in the contemporary educational context.
To conclude three important elements to take into account when establishing the transmedia narrative as support for teaching-learning processes:
1 Media convergence as a reality already configured.
2 The NT represents a more difficult issue than it seems, it is something more complex.
3 The educational agents must work in the same direction of this new reality.
Mg. Luis Fernando Gutiérrez Cano. Social Communicator-Journalist (Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana), Master in Education (Tecnológico de Monterrey), PhD in Technological Management and Innovation (Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana). Professor of Social Communication-Journalism School of the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana. Coordinator Master in Digital Television Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana. Teleantioquia Viewer Defender. You can write to: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Mg. Luis Jorge Orcasitas Pacheco. Social Communicator-Journalist (Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana), Master in Theory and Practice of Creative Documentary (Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona), Mestre in Imagem e Som (Federal University of São Carlos, UFSCar). Teacher-researcher Faculty of Social Communication-Journalism Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana. Member of the Research Group in Urban Communication-GICU. You can write to: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org