Interactivity and Public History

Interactivity and storytelling are readily apparent in a variety of web 2.0 platforms, and I thought it was quite interesting to see how some of this week’s readings related to storytelling in an interactive environment.  The uses of storytelling in interactive environments was perhaps most obvious in the articles related to alternate reality gaming.  In these games participants are not only engaged in a story, they are active participants.  The elements of traditional narrative storytelling are certainly there, but the way these elements unfold is decidedly different.  Alternate reality gamers may have to solve puzzles involving the use of real world technology to unlock new chapters of the ARG.

The uses of this type of storytelling for public history could be very exciting.  Mount Vernon has an interesting kid’s game on its website that places the individual inside a virtual estate where you interact with individuals from the past as you search for various items that are important to George Washington.  While fun for children, this game is not nearly as interactive as ARGs, but perhaps it is a step in the right direction.  Historic sites could use ARGs as “national treasure” type detective stories  aimed at interacting and teaching individuals who may find these types of games more engaging than actual site visits.

These digital environments are also providing new ways in which academics can collaborate.  With web 2.0 platforms, collaboration can occur in real time, with real time feedback and critiques as well.  This question reminded me of that youtube video we watched in class showing the use of google docs to ask a girl on a date.  This same type of engaged discussion can translate to the world of academia in digital environments.

Category: W9: Interactivity
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