Learning and Teaching as Communicative Actions: New Ways of Learning: Transmedia - EdMedia 2013
How do can we combine such informal learning with formal
learning? How do we foster such extended classrooms?
In our digitally and socially connected world learning occurs both
formally in the classroom and informally outside of the brick-and-
mortar walls of our institutions and schools. Often the
conversations that occur on the spheres over the social digital
networks lead students to learn from each other through seeking
artifacts and sharing these among friends over social media such
as Facebook, Instagram, and Google+. Such artifacts may
include links to videos and pictures posted on websites. They tell
How do we re-teach thinking skills to our students and bring thinking
back as an important piece of learning in our classrooms?
Gosney (2005) noted that our teenagers today are computer savvy and
enjoy using multimedia.
They also like games. Both playing individually and collaboratively.
Alternate reality games (ARG) include game elements in a fictional but
near-real environment and Transmedia Storytelling is a hunting and
gathering process where a story is told over multiple platforms, i.e.,
using various computer technologies. Documented educational uses of
ARGs and Transmedia storytelling are still few; however, slowly growing.
Gosney, J. W. (2005). Beyond Reality. A guide to alternate reality gaming. Boston, MA: Thompson.
Active learning through Transmedia Storytelling allows a way to use
various digital technology tools, seek content, weave together
storyline, share, communicate, and express individual understanding –
arguing, defending, and critiquing. It provides students an opportunity
to cognitive learning together in a community where they have a stake
in the learning experience. It may also help build the important critical
thinking skills – all while engaging in playful learning using multimedia.
Giovagnoli, J. W. (2011). Transmedia storytelling, Imagery, shapes and techniques. ETC Press.
Alternate Reality Games (ARG) and Transmedia Storytelling
experiences are closely related as they both involve and mobilize the
audience – Participants are immersed in a seeking and sharing, set
into place by the narrator or the game designer. ARGs may be seen
as mainly synergistic, i.e., collaborative for an enriched outcome.
Transmedia experiences are participative or synergistic (Giovagnoli,
2011). Transmedia storytelling may exist as stand-alone stories,
however, are more enriching when experienced as a group.
We will next share an example of how we can use transmedia
storytelling in our classrooms for collaborative, creative, and
• Normative Communicative Actions
• Strategic Communicative Actions
• Constative Communicative Actions
• Dramaturgical Communicative Actions
Learning and Teaching as Communicative Actions (LTCA)
Warren and Wakefield (2012). Learning and Teaching as Communicative Actions: Social Media as Educational Tool.
The instructor shares through normative
communicative actions the requirements and
expectations of students’ work. This will include
collaborating in teams, designing story, teaching
peers, evaluating each other’s performance etc. to
achieve a certain grade for the unit. Normative
communicative acts set the level of performance or
Start with curriculum content. It should always be the key to the
learning experience – to set the stage. This can be a novel students
are to read, a journal article, a professional video, and/or websites).
Since curriculum is often determined or mandated by schools,
systems, and authorities, it is shared as the strategic communicative
actions, i.e., the shared consensus as we know it. This reified
knowledge provides the foundation of our transmedia learning
Assign teams of students to collaborate. Learning together
through inquiry, design, teaching each other, and applying learning
(knowledge construction) happens through Constative communicative
actions – a sharing back and forth of truth claims and rejections until
consensus occurs. Collaboration and communication skills are
essential today. Through communicative acts and discourse students
learn to weight claims made by others and negotiate for a shared
In a shared design, the strengths of
each team member are brought out
as each can contribute to the larger
collaborative story project with their
smaller parts as the story unfolds.
Ideas for technologies that may be used by students as they design
their stories collaboratively for multiple platforms:
• Google maps
• QR codes
• PB Wiki
• Vines video
• MS Office
Collage by A. Wakefield using the
Pic Collage app for iPhone with Web images.
GPS coordinates and tweets may be
used as part of a location-based game
such as in Lance Weiler’s ARG
Pandemic where players both in the
park and online collaboratively sought
to stop the pandemic by searching and
retrieving hidden artifacts in Park City
given a deadline for completion.
QR codes can be used
to find out additional
information shared over
another platform. Thus
work well as part of a
Andersen, (2011, Jan 14). Sundance film festival is ground
zero for Lance Weiler’s Pandemic 1.0.
Presentation of student-created stories. Story presentations can
be classroom presentations, students’ classroom teaching of peers,
or a game experiences such as a treasure hunt that takes the student
across various media looking for artifacts to extend the story while
learning. Content such as podcasts, video, QR codes etc. lend them
self well for sharing clues as to where additional or new content is
located. Created by peers each allows the learner to traverse various
platforms and learn in a storied landscape.
A Unity game as
a part of a
told over a blog,
Unity game, QR-
Dramaturgical Communicative actions involve sharing internal life-
world in an artistic way– making the subjective understanding made
visible to the world. Truth claims are shared back and forth with peers
until claims and rejections result in consensus.
Have students keep a blog or a journal for the purpose of expressing
internal life-world. This journal should be open for peers to read and
provide feedback contributing further to the collaboration,
communication, and knowledge creation. Through communicative
acts and discourse students learn to weight claims made by others
and negotiate for a shared understanding.
Learning through developed, shared, and distributed stories delivered
over various media and over various platforms lets students engage
and immerse in the educational materials while also allowing for
critical thinking and problem solving to be components of a
collaborative experience. Incorporating transmedia storytelling in the
classroom may thereby allow for one possible way of supporting
immersive classroom learning and higher order thinking skills such as
metacognitive reflection. This reaches towards a goal of improving
communication, self-regulated learning skills, group and individual
problem solving, and creativity. Our LTCA theory supported example
lesson plan serves as one example educators may use and modify
depending on their classroom topic.