This session draws attention to some current dilemmas and solutions related to using the digital environment in education contexts.
The ascendant and ever-evolving digital world presents new challenges for classroom practice, policy and resourcing. This session draws attention to some current dilemmas and solutions related to using the digital environment in education contexts. Drawing on their research relating to the literary landscape, our three presenters raise important questions: how does the digital environment influence our reading practices?; what digital experiences get privileged in high-stakes assessment?; and what innovative, digital resources are available to explore space and place when reading?
- Dr Cherie Allan, Faculty of Education – Ways of reading fiction in a digital environment
- Dr Kelli McGraw, Faculty of Education – Gaining recognition for digital reading/writing in senior secondary English: The struggle is real
- Assoc Prof Peta Mitchell, Creative Industries Faculty – Reading spatially, reading digitally: The Cultural Atlas of Australia
Ways of reading fiction in a digital environment
Dr Cherie Allan, Faculty of Education
We are currently experiencing a shifting literary landscape in which print-dominated fiction is slowly giving way to one (eventually I suggest) of digital dominance. The relationship between a text and reader has always been complex. However, when that text is constructed within a digital environment by a team of ‘creators’ it becomes increasingly complex and, at times, downright frustrating. My recent research examines the diverse ways in which readers negotiate the text, the platform on which it is read and the meanings that might result from these negotiations. In this presentation therefore, I examine the ways in which a digital environment contributes to the construction of reading as an embodied process, reading as meaning-making and reading as a participatory experience.
Gaining recognition for digital reading/writing in senior secondary English: The struggle is real
Dr Kelli McGraw, Faculty of Education
In this presentation the lack of attention given to digital texts in senior secondary English is put forward as a dilemma for schools, and for Australian literary culture. Although theory and culture have moved far beyond reading as a mono-modal, print-only experience, school curriculum appears inexorably frozen in a paradigm where traditional literary works are privileged over media and personal/community writing, and multimodal reading is largely relegated to the study of media texts. With new syllabuses and assessment for senior English in Queensland being implemented in schools from 2019, we can expect to see the conceptualisation of mono-modal, print-based literature as ‘king’ in English mapped back on to junior secondary and primary school studies. Despite English syllabus objectives indicating that newer digital and multimodal text practices have been embraced, the required texts and assessment tasks linked to the study of senior English paint a different picture. Questions are raised about what this means for school graduates hoping to live, love, work and write in a multimodal, screen-oriented world.
Reading spatially, reading digitally: The Cultural Atlas of Australia
Assoc Prof Peta Mitchell, Creative Industries Faculty
This presentation focuses on an open-access digital resource—The Cultural Atlas of Australia (CAA). Funded by an ARC Discovery Grant, the CAA is a digital map or cultural GIS (geographic information system) that plots locations featured in and across Australian literature, film, and theatre. The CAA represents the first digital cultural atlas to map multiple narrative forms, and the first and most comprehensive digital map of the spaces and places depicted in Australian narratives.
As one of the co-founders of the CAA, I will discuss the ways in which this form of digital geo-visualisation (a kind of ‘distant reading’ approach) can foreground and enable particular modes of spatial reading, revealing the complex geographies of Australian narrative space across film, literature, and theatre and help us understand how these different narrative forms mediate place differently.