Living the stories we create: an educational response to narrative in the digital age
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Narrative forms, play a vital role in human enrichment and development. Through them we acquire a sense not only of our environment, but of our own identity. We are drawn to describe our world and subsequently seek to emulate the image we create. The recent shift from a society dominated by print, to one where digital media prevails invites us to consider the consequences for storytelling. While theorists such as Barthes have noted the development of narrative forms in oral and print cultures, the influences of digital media on narrative are only beginning to emerge. What new stories have grown from this transition? How have these influenced contemporary expectations of storytelling? In the event of such profound change, how will education seek to address this? In this regard it is interesting to consider the case of Shakespeare's Macbeth. Conceived with the intention of entertaining, becoming subsequently the subject of literary scholarship, Macbeth is a work of enormous cultural significance. Written in approximately 1606 Macbeth has its roots in a culture of orality and yet has sustained through centuries of print dominance. Indeed as both text and performance the work itself embodies both the literary and the oral. Yet as a staple of many second level curricula (including the Irish Leaving Certificate) more and more Macbeth is perceived as an educational text. This research will examine Macbeth as a case study in seeking to explore the implications of digital media for learning, as well as its possible potential to constructively facilitate in realigning formal learning contexts to contemporary perceptions and expectations of narrative.