In Convergence Culture, Henry Jenkins spends a chapter describing how the creators of The Matrix engaged storytellers in many different media to tell complimentary parts of the entire Matrix story. Playing the video games, reading the comic books and watching The Animatrix extended the story with some overlaps to the movies.
In the May/June 2007 issue of EDUCAUSE Review, Carie Windham makes suggestions to faculty considering podcasts for their classes in her article “Confessions of a Podcast Junkie“. One particular suggestion struck me:
Offer something more: For the professors who have implemented podcasting technology, the most common concern they hear from their peers is that students will stop showing up to class if the material is downloadable. In reality, they say, the opposite is true. The trick, students say, is to make sure that there is something to gain by attending class and downloading the lecture. Podcasts should add a new perspective or offer supplemental material. If lectures are podcasts, faculty should use classroom time to facilitate discussion, demonstrate models or simulate problems. “You’re going to gain something out of the classroom experience — it’s that personal lecture experience,” says Maier. “You get comments from other individuals, and examples are brought to the table by other parts of the class.”
This reminds me too of the e-mail that’s sent out a day or two after each installment of the BBC radio show In Our Time is recorded. The host, Melvyn Bragg, extends the story of the broadcast by sharing the conversation he and his experts had before and after the show.
By using different media to discuss the subject in complimentary – and not redundant – ways, faculty can create an engaging and complex learning environment that, like The Matrix or In Our Time, lets the learner build the bigger picture.