Transmediality and audiovisuals in the classroom: the first “Mediascapes” workshops in Italy

After the initial activity of methodological research on Transmedia Storytelling in the field of education, the workshops started in both the schools where the project is active. The workshop activities, based on the creative and participatory practice of Transmedia Storytelling, develop and implement what was collected in the propaedeutic phase of methodological research, promoting the development of soft skills, meta-cognitive and emotional learning of students with special educational needs.

In Italy, at I.C. Emma Castelnuovo in Rome, three classes took part in the Mediascapes workshops. During activities, which took place over 7 meetings, different types of media were employed from a transmedia perspective:
-Video, by filming in class through the guided use of professional equipment and in outdoor spaces by exploiting the potential of smartphones;
-Audio, by working on soundscapes and voiceovers;
-Drawing, by experimenting with the use of graphic tablets;
-Photography, by conducting group exercises. 

All the materials produced by the students will make up the short film that will then be edited and will constitute a work in progress of the activities of this first part of the workshop meetings.
The theme that characterized the students’ work was that of their neighborhood, narrated through the emotions, problems and contradictions they experience daily. Fundamental was to stimulate the participants to tell their stories freely, putting into play theatrical-style exercises thanks to the presence of two expert trainers in this field, Mr. Eugenio Banella and Ms. Francesca Marras, working on listening, empathy, exchange and dialogue with the group. This initial approach gradually encouraged the boys and girls to talk openly about their experiences in the neighborhood, sometimes even in a personal and intimate way, and in this way, through the media products they produced, especially the audiovisual ones with the help of the trainer Stefano Cipressi, they were able to clearly express the way they experience the neighborhood they live in and the activities they carry out there, as well as how the neighborhood itself influences their lives.

The creative practice of Transmedia Storytelling allowed the children to experience the classroom and the moment of exchange with the peer group as a moment when they were both actors and spectators at the same time, i.e. sharing without limits and learning to listen without prejudice, having fun and being able to overcome emotional obstacles. The value and potential of Transmedia Storytelling as a teaching method was positively received by the students, who actively participated in the activities, brought their own skills into play and understood how the combination of different media content can create a storytelling that tells about themselves.

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