Principle: Spreadabilty vs. Drillability
When we say that a story has "spreadable" and "drillable" qualities, we can think about these ideas in terms of horizontal and vertical movement. Spreadable texts suggest that content is not only shareable , but that users are encouraged to search across media platforms and subsequently circulate these texts. Drillable texts, meanwhile, encourage audiences to dig deeper, uncovering new layers of meaning .
Henry Jenkins argues that any good educational model will encompass both spreadable and drillable strategies, encouraging students to broadly seek out information that speaks to their interests, while deeply and critically engaging with the texts they encounter. Building on Jenkins' post, Daniel Thomas Hickey suggests that shifting towards spreadable education practices, and a broader movement towards a "publish then filter" model, will "revolutionize the way we identify, refine, and share worthwhile curricular practices" ("If It Doesn't Spread, It's Current Educational Practice"). The distinctions drawn in Hickey's series between Disseminated Instruction Routines and Spreadable Education Practices suggests that the "spreadable" model is not a rejection of more traditional "drillable" notions of literacy, but rather invested in a more flexible, egalitarian, and participatory classroom environment embracing new literacies and modes of learning .
Jason Mittell frames spreadability and drillability as equal but opposing vectors of engagement, and suggests that the "normative stance" within the humanities that has historically privileged depth over breadth should be reconsidered to value both of these valences ("To Spread or to Drill?"). While all scholars endeavor to craft drillable scholarship (conceptually/theoretically, if not always formally/structurally), spreadable scholarship presents some immediate barriers. First, any conception of "spreadable" scholarship is reliant on an embrace open access publishing platforms and creative commons licensing. Second, in the case of transmedia scholarship, in which an argument could theoretically unfold across videos, blogs, articles in peer reviewed journals, archives, and so on, any textual extension residing behind a paywall, and thus not easily spread, could hinder the project's broader drillable meaning.
Principle in Practice:
Alexis Lothian's scholarly vidding
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