Monday, August 12, 2013

The Bridge, Layering Information and Redefining Literacy

The Bridge is a new FX TV show that I picked up on demand recently. The topic of a thriller around the border crossing between the US and Mexico seemed like an intriguing opportunity to examine how pop culture is viewing the issues.

While I found the series thoroughly enjoyable I was even more intrigued by their effort to integrate media. The website for the show includes everything in both English and Spanish just like the show itself alternates between English and Spanish as appropriate for a scene.

In addition the series created a free iBook that provides additional textual and photographic layer. I think that this aspect of the show is very interesting for educators trying to create content that is interesting, integrated, and meaningful. The way I think about it is purposeful layering of information in different information without guiding the conclusion. For example the series shows many facets of immigration and the people who are impacted by it but it does not come at it from an obvious pro or con stance. The book just thickens that layer and allows those who are interested to explore further.


In a way the show is a good example to how popular culture and the entertainment industry are seeing as the next step and I see as a redefining of literacy. Literacy is no longer primarily reading and wring on paper but instead a multimedia weave of forms and content- including visual, audio, video, word, and social. It is as interactive and social as we'd like to make it. The layering allows each person to choose an entry point and explore in different directions.

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