“The mob will be coming out soon. Keep the door closed and you’ll be safe.”
And, with that, my boxy hero returned to the dark forest.
I did feel safe. For the first time in what seemed like hours, I could breathe without feeling the hot, putrid breath of zombies down my neck. I could enjoy the luxury of standing still, really still, and not feel the need to swivel my head constantly to pick up marauding spiders.
I was caught up in this storyworld, hook, line, and sinker.
I think this is the kind of experience that Martha referred to as emergent storytelling in Campfire#2. It really is, in many ways, improvisational storytelling — and more. There is something about “being there” in a virtual embodiment that makes the storytelling an even more immersive experience.
For a brief delusional moment, I thought I had coined a new term and then googled to learn that immersive storytelling is a form of transmedia storytelling, a term I first heard Henry Jenkins discuss. Beyond the Screen, a forum on immersive storytelling, describes this as a new age of storytelling when “audiences are transitioning from simple consumers of entertainment into dynamic participants in their media of choice.”
Bryan Alexander, who as Alan likes to say, “wrote the book on digital storytelling,” chronicles this evolution of storytelling as he describes the “public performance” nature possible through blogging. I find blogging as a storytelling device fascinating, and I’m blown away by the The World Without Oil concept with multiple bloggers collaborating to produce the unfolding story of a reality game. I understand better now the relationship of storytelling and gaming.
As a teacher-educator, I’m always on the lookout for projects that could be replicated in the classroom, and the time-based historical blog projects, such as “The Orwell Diaries” or “World War II Today” would work great. Creative teachers have always designed projects that require students to build a storyworld where they collaborate, assume new identities, and role-play. One of my all-time favorites was the La Verona Ning where English students became characters in the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and “lived” there during their reading and discussing of the play. Immersive worlds like Minecraft offer a new space for accomplishing emergent storytelling that transcends any physical or geographical limitations.
Just wanted to add that I have worked/played in Second Life for over five years now. We have built installations, for example, the “Unwind Room” from Schusterman’s YA novel, Unwind, and we often dress in costumes. But, primarily, we use the space to meet in seminars and book clubs to discuss learning though literature with young adults. We talk about stories but we’re not participating in stories. We can do more.
There is unprecedented potential — in part technology-related. In a sense, this is the greatest time in human history to be a learner. — Bryan Alexander
When Bryan Alexander made this comment in a recent Future of Education webinar I got goose bumps. I know I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this ride.
After reading a bit from Bryan’s book and hearing him present twice in one week, The Future of Education and the Camp MacGuffin=DS 106 campfire, I’d say we could extrapolate “this is the greatest time in human history to be a storyteller.”