I think this is an excellent point. It’s easy to get mesmerized by the new shiny toys, and I LOVE the digital storytelling and gaming that’s emerging. But, absolutely, transmedia storytelling can be no-tech and low-tech, low-cost and no-cost, which makes it very accessible for schools and informal education groups.
There are some terrfiic projects emerging out of the experimental theater world, I’m discovering. If your core story is a live action performance, to take one example, there are a number of ways to draw out the characters, events, themes.
My sister (middle school teacher) and I created a Living Tableau activity for historic events such as the Boston Tea Party. It’s a theater exercise in which kids read aloud some of the primary source descriptions of the event. Then, they take on a character and improvise the action sequences as a troupe, silently. At key points, the director says, “Stop!” and everyone freezes. The idea is to note what you’re doing, what others are doing, what’s happening, what’s about to happen, and what the mood/feeling is. Then, the action continues, stops again, continues until a finale tableau at the dramatic climax.
To extend that activity into other media (brainstorming here), you could:
add a news broadcast (live, fake, or taped; radio/sound or video or reporter-on-the-street) to the event, including side interviews and pre- post-event commentary, weather reports, etc
have spectators/passers-by live-tweet (for fake or real) or comment/discuss via IM
ask actors to write a journal entry or letter to a friend afterward (in character) to flesh out motivations and feelings, then compare notes
have teams on each side of the issue draw storyboards for a potential movie (on paper or using tech tools, whatever’s easiest), which would explore point of view and bias
hold a mock trial of the guy caught stealing from the ship
invent a taxation game (board game, card game, video game—whatever works)
make a taxation infographic (on paper or interactive), for the data crunchers in the class.
The educators in this forum could better determine what works in a classroom, is feasible, ties to the curriculum, and also how to facilitate or direct these activities. We education writers used to label these kinds of activities “extensions,” which were usually optional or assigned as extra credit. But one exciting goal of transmedia is to make them fully integral pieces of a unified lesson which, in this on-the-fly example, centers on one tight, action-packed, emotionally rich, historically complex core story.
(PS This is not quite a shameless plug, since our books are out of print and we aren’t receiving another dime, but Louise and I wrote: 15 Primary Source Activities: American History and Great American History Games, two Scholastic titles that take a creative, multimedia approach to social studies.)