Transmediated Augmented Reality: Teaching Digi-Lit in a College Chat Room

I created a course titled “Children’s Literacies” in the Department of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University-Camden. My use of technology in the classroom falls into two categories, both informed by the course content. First, my students read several new media texts in order to experience first hand children’s digital literature. Second, though the course is scheduled as a standard classroom meeting, assignments and instruction are both delivered in a variety of electronic formats to give students hands-on experience producing and using new media technologies.

Because the course is about children’s and young adult’s digital literacy, my students read vooks, web-based novels, interactive fiction, picturebook apps, transmediated texts, novels that utilize augmented reality, and Alice in Wonderland delivered in installments via email and RSS feeds, along with children’s own vlogs, fanfiction and videos. Assignments include creating digital pop up books, collaboratively writing Wiki pages, discussion board postings, and classes periodically meet in chat rooms on the course website. All of these have offered challenges of accessibility to technology and students’ unfamiliarity with different interfaces. These challenges become “teachable moments” on certain realities and problematics of “the digital age.”

This talk will describe the success and failures of some of these endeavors, and adjustments made to the syllabus in response to student feedback and my own assessment of the learning activities over three consecutive semesters of teaching this course in 2011 and 2012.

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