1) The interactivity of the internet has opened up some intriguing possibilities when it comes to electronic books on the web. I have created an electronic picture book, based on the objectives in the life cycle unit in the elementary science curriculum. The resulting e-book is published in a "choose your own adventure" format, utilizing the strength of the browsing choices presented by the linking format of web pages, and different audio and visual formats. Besides the eBook adventure, the website also includes: ant facts, ant resources, ant and life cycle websites, and ant and life cycle activities for the classroom.

  1. 2)This eBook, then, becomes my initial efforts in dabbling in the world of "ergodic" literature and art, which comes from the Greek words "work" and "path." This type of literature requires special effort to navigate, beyond simple eye movement from left to right found in a traditional book. It can be defined as "one that in a material sense includes the rules for its own use, a work that has certain requirements built in that automatically distinguishes between successful and unsuccessful users." Ergodic literature and postmodern picture books employ "metafictive" devices and multiliteracies including a variety of illustrative styles, unusual design and layout, unexpected forms and texts, alternative endings, and changing structures, perhaps encouraged by technological change. In others words, these types of literary works, whether in print or other formats, "push the envelope" of their genre, creating some mysteries, surprises, paradoxes, and even playfulness, along the way. One does not have to look far to find outstanding examples of ergodic literature in print formats, where the author creatively pushes the constraining boundaries of the format. These are some examples that Ann Grieve suggests, to start with:

  1. BulletThe Jolly Postman by the Janet and Allan Ahlberg

  2. BulletThe Stinky Cheese Man And Other Fairly Stupid Tales, by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith

  3. BulletEach Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

  4. BulletBlack and White by David Macaulay

  5. BulletWhen the Wind Blows by by Raymond Briggs

  6. BulletWilly the Wimp by Anthony Browne

  7. BulletRosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins

  1. A video introduction to the Digital Evolution of Literature, and Ergodic literature, by Michael Wendt.

3) The efficacy of eBooks in the classroom (See "Why Use eBooks In The Classroom") discusses some of the advantages of using eBooks in the classroom.

4) The Possibilities of Combining Fiction and Non-Fiction Together In the Classroom:

Cynthia Chambers (1999) discusses the importance of "finding our own language" in curriculum creation, including "blurring the lines between fictions and non-fiction," and "crossing genres," to create a creative fiction and non-fiction blend not always found in contemporary Canadian curriculum. This adventure combines both fact and fiction in an electronic adventure where the participant decides the outcome of the adventure for the main character, an odd little fellow called "Dewey."

  1. 5)Teaching ideas and approaches inspired the use of literature in the elementary science curriculum in New Zealand.

Ian Haysom goes on to say that we "can't live in, and off, the past. Look what happened to Kodak. To Eatons. You have to reinvent, refocus, become more nimble and quick-witted and willing to change--than ever." I, along with Ian, will continue to "embrace my inner Luddite...respect the past. Embrace the future. And enjoy the roller-coaster ride."


Anstey, Michele (2002). It's not all black and white: postmodern picture books and new literacies. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 45(6), 444-457.

Chambers, Cynthia M. (1999). A topography for Canadian curriculum theory. Canadian Journal of Education, 24(2), 137. Retrieved March 16, 2010, from CBCA Complete. (Document ID: 380991831).

Grieve, Ann (1993). Postmodernism in picture books." Papers: Explorations in children's literature 4(3).15-25.

Haysom, Ian (2011). Embrace both print past and digital future.Times Colonist (Victoria, B.C.) p. 1:D2.

Hutchinson, Linda (1998). A poetics of postmodernism: history, theory and fiction. Diacritics 13(4), 33-42.

Lewis, David (1990). The constructiveness of texts: picture books and the metafictive. Signal 62, 130-146.

McKenzie, John (2005). Literature and the curriculum coursepack. Christchurch: College of Education. p. 74.

Nodelman, Perry (1988). Words about pictures: the narrative art of children's books. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press: p. 222.

An Ant 
Life Cycle eBook Adventure  


(Click the rock or ants, above, to go right to

An Ant Life Cycle eBook Adventure)

Teacher Area:

This Teaching Unit As An Exploration Of The

Evolution Of Literature From The "Print Past" To The "Digital Future"

The Evolution of Literature (This Web Page) In Presentation Format

"The frontiers of a book are never clear-cut: beyond the title, the first lines and the last fullstop...."

-Linda Hutchison-

"There is a tendency for us not to perceive picture books as unconventional and exceptional creations despite the fact they frequently possess a playful and subversive quality."

-David Lewis-

The text and illustration of a picture book can "have an ironic relationship to each other."

-Perry Nodelman-

"The world of literature...enables the imagination to come to life and have permission to roam and be set free."

-John Mckenzie-

This eBook and its accompanying teaching ideas has given me the opportunity to personally and creatively explore some of the possibilities related to the sometimes chaotic and uncertain evolution of literature from the "print past," to the "digital future." I stumbled across an article in the (print version of the) Times Colonist that talks about some of these changes and trends. Ian Haysom talks about the fact that the "paradigm of our everyday lives continues to shift rapidly, with casualties everywhere," including "bookstores closing, Encyclopedia Britannica deciding to abandon its print encyclopedia," etc. It is uncertain where the "print past" is headed, especially in the area of literature and textbook formats, but I have found it exciting to be able to explore some of these emerging changes in this science unit: