The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic has seen unprecedented disruption to contemporary society. Through an educational lens, this includes pupils and students being required to rapidly accept new physical conditions in which to continue their education, and for many educators a drastically different approach to teaching, supervising and assessing. With these changes and uncertainty, a great deal of stress and anxiety has been surfaced through media channels for learners, and classroom-based educators have been asked to carry on delivering a quality in teaching via digital technologies in a fraction of the time normally allocated to such transitions (Batty, D & Weale, S, 2020; Kerhohan, D, 2020).
We do not yet know when social distancing will end and face to face learning activities will resume as the norm. But at some point, there will be a period of reflection and time to contemplate education pre-Covid-19 and the changes that ensued after its arrival. In amongst this, personal journeys through uncertainty and drastic change. For some this will also include loss. Within the context of culture and our everyday lived experience, ‘cultural tools’ are seen to enable sense-making in our changing lives (Erstad & Wertsch, 2008) and narrative plays a large part in that. Telling and sharing stories not only enables sense-making (Bruner, 1997; Lowenthal, 2009), but forms part of our identity. The process of construction of meaning gives primacy to certain cultural attributes (Castells, 2004) and these ‘distinctive characteristics’ identify what is meaningful (Giddens, 2001). Identities are fluid; they change as time passes and “transformations embedded in the development of cultural tools” can see actions fundamentally altered (Erstad & Wertsch, 2008, p.36). Will we collectively return to what we understand to be normality or will some of the rapid changes we have lived through define new norms in education?
In drawing together reflective pedagogies, two approaches will illustrate how learners and educators can come together in a sense-making process. Digital Storytelling method and ePortfolio as pedagogy combined give primacy to authentic narrative on the part of the participant. The richness of reflective practice combined with the creativity of digital storytelling provides a “valuable, transformative tool” (Friedus & Hlubinka, 2002).
This session seeks to demonstrate how the collaborative Digital Storytelling method (DST) can be combined with the largely autonomous learning practice of recording, reflecting, collecting and curating in ePortfolio, the latter working towards sharing over time. Both are developmental for the participant; DST has been observed to lead to a sense of catharsis and transformation (Lambert 2006; Lambert & Hessler 2020; Meadows & Kidd, 2009; Freidus & Hlubinka, 2002) and carefully considered ePortfolio design can support transformative learning experiences alongside other benefits (Munday, 2017). Both methods leave digital artefacts to share, if desired.
Elements of the processes will be demonstrated in this session, and participants will leave with research-based ideas of how to encourage students or colleagues to come together to make sense of this fluid learning landscape. The difference between digital storytelling as a general term, and digital storytelling method will also be discussed.
Presentation of content, rich with examples, followed by a participatory discussion considering perceived and understood differences between Digital Storytelling, the general term, and Digital Storytelling method (DST).
Access to a tool to support reflective writing, ideally an ePortfolio, following the event is advised.
15 minutes pedagogy context and research-led ideas
10 minutes DST method deconstruction and group discussion
5 mins questions
Links will be shared beforehand for orientation to DST and ePortfolio examples
Batty, D and Weale, S. (2020). UK students’ union calls on universities to cancel summer exams. [online]theguardian.com. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/mar/31/uk-students-union-calls-on-universities-to-cancel-summer-exams. [Accessed 01/04/20].
Bruner, J. (1997). The Culture of Education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Castells, M. (2004). The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture, Vol. II: The Power of Identity (2nd ed., Vol. 2). Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Erstad, O., & Wertsch, J. V. (2008). Tales of mediation: Narrative and digital media as cultural tools. In K. Lundby (Ed.), Digital storytelling, mediatized stories: self-representations in new media (pp. 21–39). New York: Peter Lang.
Giddens, A. (2001). Sociology (4th ed.). Oxford: Polity Press.
Kernohan, D. (2020). Which Universities are moving to remote teaching? [online] wonkhe.com. Available at: https://wonkhe.com/blogs/which-universities-are-moving-to-remote-teaching/. [Accessed 01/04/20].
Lambert, J. (2006). Digital Storytelling: capturing lives, creating community (2nd ed.). Berkeley: Digital Diner Press.
Lambert, J., & Hessler, B. (2020). Digital Storytelling: Story work for urgent times (6th ed.). Berkeley: Digital Diner Press.
Lowenthal, P. (2009). Digital Storytelling in Education: An Emerging Institutional Technology? In J. Hartley & K. McWilliam (Eds.), Story Circle: Digital Storytelling Around the World (pp. 252–259). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Meadows, D., & Kidd, J. (2009). “Capture Wales” The BBC digital storytelling project. In J. Hartley & K. McWilliam (Eds.), Story Circle: Digital Storytelling Around the World (pp. 90–117). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Munday, J. (2017). An Embedded ePortfolio in a Master’s Degree: Is It Working?. International Journal of EPortfolio, 7(2), 175–185.