Lab-yrinthe: an online laboratory to observe children’s e-lit and support digital literacy

Abstract (in English): 

Recent researches have revealed some of the factors that seem to hinder both the production of digital literary contents for young readers and their diffusion in the school context. Within the framework of the project led by Nathalie Lacelle (2017-2020) and dedicated to accompanying the development of digital children’s publishing initiatives in Quebec, three major issues have particularly emerged:
- a lack of knowledge about the current editorial offer, by educators, librarians and, more generally, by common readers;
- a difficulty in including e-literary creations in the school canon and in conceiving pertinent educative materials, that seems to be mostly provoked by an unfamiliarity with the poetics and the rhetoric of digital texts;
- a lack of understanding, by creators and publishers, of the young readers’ psycho-cognitive and affective specificities, as well as of the constraints and conditions that define the school reading process.
In order to reduce these limitations, to stimulate the reading practices and, at the same time, to develop young readers’ competencies in digital literacy, a website dedicated to children’s digital literature has been conceived, in partnership with the Littérature Québecoise Mobile group, directed by Bertrand Gervais: Lab-yrinthe.
The website is intended as a virtual laboratory on contemporary children’s digital literary phenomena and aims at providing information based on scientific observations, as well as conceptual and didactic tools to educators, publishers and researchers.
More particularly, Lab-yrinthe presents a catalog of heterogeneous digital literary works produced or distributed in Quebec, including enriched books, mobile apps, narrative video games, geolocated narrations, augmented reality creations, interactive theater performances, virtual installations and podcasts. Each creation is analyzed from a set of descriptive parameters conceived by the research team (Acerra, Lacelle et al., 2021) with the purpose to illustrate the semiotic, multimodal and technological materials of the text, as well as the poetic or rhetoric effects of their combinations. From this basis, some educational and didactic suggestions are depicted: teachers can refer to this section to find a reading key of the digital work and, at the same time, to have clear examples of the possible exploitations of a digital writing process in the school context.
Finally, a dedicated section of the Lab-yrinthe website presents the main co-creation and co-production projects, carried out with partners from the cultural industry (ranging from the National television, to the Montréal Poetry Festival and Bookfair, from digital and analog publishers to National libraries and archives). In this case, both the actors, the contents and the distribution conditions are presented as indicators of the current orientations of the digital publishing field.

Acerra, E., Lacelle, N., et al. (2021, in press). « Décrire les œuvres littéraires numériques pour la jeunesse », Lire, comprendre, interpréter et apprécier des supports composites, La Lettre de l’AIRDF, n° 68.
Lacelle, N., et al. (2017-2020). Soutien au développement de démarches d’édition numérique jeunesse au Québec à partir de pratiques favorables de production, diffusion et réception. Research project financed by the Fonds de Recherche Société et Culture (Québec).

(Source: Authors' own abstract)

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Lene Tøftestuen