Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Digital Natives and Virtual Literacy: Process Drama and On-Line Learning

John Carroll.

This paper describes a research project designed to produce a learning experience combining role-based Process Drama and digital interactivity. It explores how the dramatic conventions of process drama, when combined with the learning styles inherent in immersive digital networks, can generate a hybrid form of dramatic performance.

Using the concept of pre-text it attempts to extend the notion into the digital learning environment of young people operating in online virtual communities.

Pre-text was applied to the the popular culture principle that argues that new forms of digital culture, have developed so quickly that there has evolved "perhaps the widest gap - informational, cultural and factual - between the young and the old in human history" (Katz 2000).

Prensky (2002) talks of a chasm between a younger generation of "digital natives" who have never known a world without computers, and an older generation of "digital immigrants" forced to adapt to rapid changes in digital technology. Prensky carries the metaphor further to suggest that many educators are digital immigrants who speak with an "accent" that young natives find difficult to understand.

The aim of the research project was to explore the connectivity, interactivity and dramatic forms available within a "digital native" learning framework. These digital forms are designed to actively engage the participants in dramatic contextual learning of historical curriculum content about the shipwreck of the Dutch ship the Batavia off the Western Australian coast in 1629.


John Carroll  (Australia)
Associate Professor in Communication Research
School of Communication Faculty of Arts
Charles Sturt University

Dr John Carroll is Associate Professor in Communication Research at Charles Sturt University, Australia. His research interests are mediated performance, drama and role, focusing on the relationship between digital production and performance as well as drama across the curriculum. He is a past Director of Publications of Drama Australia and has published widely, examining the connections between process drama and classroom practice.

  • Digital Drama
  • Process Drama
  • Pre-text
  • Digital Natives

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)