Notes on Transmedia Storytelling: second meeting with our experts

As already stated in our previous article, the aim of the project ‘Mediascapes. Transmedia digital Storytelling for audiovisual and media literacy skills’ is to shed light on the methodology of Transmedia Storytelling, a powerful form of communication and at the same time an effective teaching method that is still not very well known among the younger generations and students.

For this reason, the project’s first action was completely focused on carrying out research on Transmedia Storytelling, to create a reference point for young people, students, teachers, researchers, trainers and all those interested in understanding this practice, especially when applied to teaching. Our researchers have focused on a wide variety of texts and essays, to which it was added a ‘field research’ during which we interviewed lecturers and researchers, as well as professional storytellers who recounted their valuable experiences and key reflections on the topic of transmediality.

SECOND ROUND OF INTERVIEWS: Mr. Valerio Di Paola and Ms.Anna Rita Vizzari

During this second appointment, the first interviewed was Mr. Valerio Di Paola, lecturer at the University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ where he is also involved in the dissemination of transmedia logics combined with audiovisuals. Sharing this experience in the interview, he emphasized the benefits that this methodology can bring if it is well integrated in school education. In particular, he gave a brief and valuable account of the benefits of introducing transmedia logics into distance didactics that were made necessary in the pandemic of 2020. He described how during the pandemic and the consequent lockdown, a process of transmedialisation of teaching was necessary to make the virtual classes interesting: using social media, online repositories, devices to create video-photographic content became the way to make teaching transmedial. In addition to discovering the potential of what students were already using on a daily basis, a relevant aspect was the great development of creativity that this process generated: more personalisation, self-expression, exploration of new techniques and ideas.
Finally, Mr. Di Paola also added that in transmedial teaching, it is important not only to distribute sources across various media but also to consider feedback, including the production methods that each of them chooses to adopt for the creation of new content.

The second person interviewed was Ms. Anna Rita Vizzari, literature teacher in secondary school but also a lecturer in Storytelling workshops. According to her approach, it is important that the experience of transmediality is presented to students, especially the youngest ones, in a natural way, i.e. making them naturally part of the curricular activities. The most interesting example she shared was: ‘Students must be encouraged to be free to make videos even during the activities they are doing. For example, students using Minecraft can create a narrative that takes up the salient points of a history chapter or literature text. More concretely, they can simulate how soldiers lived in the trenches in the First World War, set up a scenario with the tools Minecraft provides and then show the characters moving around in it and make a narrative by recording it’.
The most important aspect that Ms. Vizzari emphasized that, thanks to all the different media and different ways of using them, this methodology can also be useful for students with special needs, as it is a compensatory tool that allows the enhancement of different intelligences and the growth of motivation thanks to the customisation of the paths and the creation of a product.

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