I was on the subway a few months after the iPad came out when I saw a mom hand her kid an iPad playing Dora the Explorer. I’m rarely in the chorus of people shouting down technology’s negative effects on children. The only thing that makes me uncomfortable is when it too mirrors television, until . . . UNTIL, I saw this little girl, poking at the part of the screen where she felt Dora should go. There was no sound, she had no head phones on, she was just watching Dora, and said “over here Dora!”
In this spirit, and with the iPad and other similar exciting tools, we are in a place to create some cool things, and make some older ideas work in a different, potentially more satisfying way.
The example of “electronic literature” I always use is Patchwork Girl, which is an early example of experimentation with storytelling in the newly interactive environment (arguably one of the first steps from the reader as a receptor, to the reader participating in their information). What I like about this newest children’s book example is that it is an approachable expansion of the form of a children’s book. The little kid is already interacting with Dora, why not let them paint some flowers, or activate some animation, while stabilizing this change with the comfortable old form of a picture book.
What might be the adult equivalent?