14 September 2011

Transmedia Jewish storytelling

For the last month I've been busy in learning and expanding my knowledge on Transmedia storytelling and incorporating it into Jewish learning. With this purpose in mind, I took the time to search, select and request from an international Transmedia storytelling mogul to be my mentor and guide me throughout my Transmedia learning and transformation journey of being a Jewish educator (consumer) and become a Jewish educator/ producer of Transmedia experiences (my take on being a prosumer).
I am most happy and honor to say that this extremely kind and brilliant person has agreed to help me. However at this time I will not reveal his name.

Here is some of what I've learned. I am happy to share it with those of you who might be interested in applying this exciting format of storytelling into Jewish education.

  1. First thing to remember is: "The story and your goals for the project are the Key part in the planning stage.
  2. Simultaneously, you must envision what do you want people to feel, think and what are the education learning goals you have for your project. 
  3.  Only then, choose your media (social networks, games, movies, communication tools, etc).
I will be posting a lot about this on my blog. I am also going to collaborate with two other Jewish education professionals who had expressed their interest in exchanging ideas on implementing Transmedia storytelling in the Jewish classroom.
We had planned to have our first Wizq session/meeting today but unfortunately I am a little under the weather right now. We will reschedule it. If you are interested in joining us, feel free to contact me and add you to our group.

It is important to point out that a person or teacher who is not a film maker/producer, electronic artist/ designer, or a digital media specialist, still is able to produce a Transmedia storytelling project. Although to be successful at it, requires full collaboration from a team.

My crazy teaching style- Now has a name!

With out knowing and instinctively, I've been using a "Transmedia interactive learning style" for a long time. Some of the tools I had used on different projects with my students had been: cell phones, instant messaging, visual media, TV anchor, green screen story production and more recently, GPS tracking.

Mission Impossible: a very incipient example of Transmedia storytelling creation in a Jewish education project.

Four years ago, when I was still working on Day school, I created, planned and organized a middle school project called "Hamerraglim- mission impossible" about the 12 spies sent by Moshe to eretz Canaan on sefer Bamidbar.
Students got a text message from me (at their cell phones) with instructions for a scavenger hunt/role play Jewish learning experience. Students had to run around the building following the text messaging and a map provided to them. At that time our cell phones did not have GPS capability (not everyone had an IPhone) so I managed to give them a map I made on Google maps.

This multitask hands on activity had also multiple individual learning goals (based on student's learning intelligences). Some of these goals were:

To Elaborate on the following Midrash Tanhuma (Parshat VaYakhel 1) on a person's name:

את מוצא שלשה שמות נקראו לו לאדם, אחד מה שקוראים לו אביו ואמו, ואחד מה שקוראין לו בני אדם, ואחד מהשקונה הוא לעצמו. טוב מכולן מה שקונה הוא לעצמו. -מדרש תנחומא ויקהל, א. There are 3 names by which a person is known…
The name which his parents give him.The name which others call him the name which he gives himself. 
The report from the spies (the minority report made by Yehoshua and Caleb, and the evil report made the rest of the spies). Through out the activity, students needed to research on their tanach to answer key questions on the story.
The life of a merragel (a spy) learning about spy coding: text message came in a special spy code format and students needed to decode it (we had previously worked on class on this). Plus they learned about famous Israeli and Jewish spies (one of my favorite subjects). Kivunim (directions) and biblical geography (in Hebrew) of eretz Israel.
 This project is very extensive and although students were able to complete all requested activities, the feedback did not reach the level I was expecting. We did not have enough time to complete all was planned and we did not have time to finish it in other class periods.
Today, I will change many parts of this project to use time more effectively.

During the planning process of this project, I imagine how my students should feel and think throughout the throughout each stage of it, and that really allowed me to select the tools we need. In this respect, the activity was a huge hit with the students. I still remember the shocked faces of some parents, school visitors and colleagues (except from Andrea Hernandez, 21st century technology specialist extraordinaire, who was ready to join us in) when they saw us sending messages to each other, running and hiding (as a real spy) throughout the whole building and during school time!
Oy vey!

What's got into my head now
 One of my medium term goals, beside learning more about Transmedia, is to start working on two of classroom projects that my students and I had worked on.
I will Re-direct the learning goals for both projects and I will change their current formats (book and video) and create an extension of them into a Transmedia storytelling format that students in different places could follow. I believe that I will probably need funding support at a certain point on my project. I'll keep everyone posted.
To have a feel of how Transmedia is changing storytelling, check out this links.

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