Understanding how and why our students participate in learning is a key challenge for modern higher education institutions. How students experience learning is not bound by the walls of a lecture theatre or the firewalls of the VLE. Learning practices intersect personal, professional and educational lives in complex, inter-connected and personally defined and managed ways. Learning inhabits conversations, reflections, casual and fleeting connections, ambitions and expectations that are not always located in the classroom or even on campus (Bryant, 2017). How students engage in learning has further evolved within the socially constructed environment of social media, exposing intersections between learning and the rest of a student’s life and challenging and defining notions of expertise, authority, informality, expediency, immediacy and representation (Ellis & Goodyear, 2016; Greenhow & Lewin, 2016). Learning practices intersect personal, professional and educational lives in complex, inter-connected and personally defined and managed ways affording students the opportunity to make and share identity and to tell the stories of their lives to who they choose (Clark & Rossiter, 2008).
Drawing on the both summative content analysis and student-led qualitative interpretation of over 500 students stories collected in the United Kingdom (Liote & Axe, 2016) and Australia since 2016, this presentation will explore the unique methodological approaches of digital storytelling (Robin, 2016; Yang & Wu, 2012) and student-led research used at the London School of Economics and more recently as the University of Sydney. It will expose how technology shapes and intersects the learning experience and identify how students use technology (and especially extended forms of social media) to forms tenuous and lasting connections between their work, life, play and learning (Hare, 2018).
Through several cases, this reflective session will address the critical questions of the digital divide between staff, students and institution, the critical importance of community in higher education and the relationship between ‘our’ pedagogical design and the way students engage with it. This will be a highly reflective session, encouraging participants to engage with artefacts and stories of real students and applying these insights to their own institutional environment. Finally, the session will use these insights to share a model and set of practices that participants can adapt and use at their own institutions to run similar digital storytelling projects and build these insights into how they implement technological and pedagogical change. It will address how to ensure this kind of initiative be scaled and sustained by tracking evolution of this approach from a small institutional deployment through to a much larger approach in a large, complex Business School.
Bryant, P. (2017). It doesn’t matter what is in their hands: understanding how students use technology to support, enhance, and expand their learning in a complex world. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Educational Technologies (ICEduTech 2017), Sydney, Australia.
Clark, M. C., & Rossiter, M. (2008). Narrative learning in adulthood. New directions for adult and continuing education, 2008(119), 61-70.
Ellis, R. A., & Goodyear, P. (2016). Models of learning space: integrating research on space, place and learning in higher education. Review of Education, 4(2), 149-191. doi:doi:10.1002/rev3.3056
Greenhow, C., & Lewin, C. (2016). Social media and education: reconceptualizing the boundaries of formal and informal learning. Learning, Media and Technology, 41(1), 6-30.
Hare, R. (2018). The importance of weak ties. Retrieved from https://rosiehare.com/2018/05/02/the-importance-of-weak-ties/#more-89
Liote, L., & Axe, H. (2016). LSE 2020: Capturing the Student Voice On the Future of Educational Technology. Retrieved from London, UK: http://lti.lse.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/LSE2020visionReport-FINAL.pdf
Palmer, M., O’Kane, P., & Owens, M. (2009). Betwixt spaces: student accounts of turning point experiences in the first‐year transition. Studies in Higher Education, 34(1), 37-54. doi:10.1080/03075070802601929
Robin, B. R. (2016). The power of digital storytelling to support teaching and learning. Digital Education Review(30), 17-29.
Yang, Y.-T. C., & Wu, W.-C. I. (2012). Digital storytelling for enhancing student academic achievement, critical thinking, and learning motivation: A year-long experimental study. Computers & Education, 59(2), 339-352.