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Virtual Forum Theater: Creating and Sharing Drama to Resolve Conflicts

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Presented at the 1st Digital Media and Learning Conference at San Diego- February 2010 on Digital Media Production and Social Change Panel co-chaired by me.

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Author: Alice Mello Cavallo

Published in: Education, Technology
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Virtual Forum Theater: Creating and Sharing Drama to Resolve Conflicts

  1. 1. Virtual Forum Theater: Creating and Sharing Drama to Resolve Conflicts Interdisciplinary PhD in Child Development, Computer Science, and Drama Tufts University By Alice Cristina Mello Cavallo Advisors: Alva Couch, Downing Cless, Marina Bers and Edith Ackermann. Digital Media and Learning Conference 2010
  2. 2. Order of presentation  Virtual Forum Theater  Theoretical Background  Activities  Findings  Conclusion  VFT & New Media Literacy Skills Digital Media and Learning Conference 2010
  3. 3. Virtual Forum Theater  VFT is a computer-based learning experience that supports face-to- face, computer, and multimedia-based drama.  The VFT toolset  The VFT process  A VFT performance Digital Media and Learning Conference 2010
  4. 4. The VFT toolset
  5. 5. The VFT process The VFT process includes:  Dramatic exercises  Improvisations  Using VFT toolset  Within-group discussions  Group-to-group interactions Digital Media and Learning Conference 2010
  6. 6. A VFT performance The VFT play:  Depicts situations of oppression or injustice meaningful to the participants.  Provides a starting point for resolving conflicted situations.  Suggests frames where audience should propose alternatives (“virtual joker”). Digital Media and Learning Conference 2010
  7. 7. Inspirations for VFT  Research shows that disadvantaged children and youth seem to have difficulties expressing themselves and arguing for their points of view.  Drama-in-Education (DIE), Theater-in-Education (TIE) and Creative Drama (CD) help children develop expression abilities.  Theater of the Oppressed (TO) is used with adults to rehearse reactions to oppressive situations.  VFT combines DIE, TIE, CD, TO and technology to create an experience that enhances expressive fluency.
  8. 8. Theoretical Background Freire’s Boal’s Pedagogy Theater of of the Brecht’s the Oppressed Epic Oppressed (1972) Theater (1974) Papert’s (1964) Virtual Constructionism (1990) Forum Theater Piaget, Vygostky, Brunner, Lave &Wenger, Koschman, Dorothy Heathcote
  9. 9. VFT Activities  Script improvisations  Group discussions  Photo taking  Recording character lines (VFT toolset)  Creating the animation (VFT toolset)  Creating intervention frames  Watching virtual plays  Rehearsing or discussing responses to virtual plays  On-line chatting  Video taping the sessions  Watching clips of videotaped sessions  Groups meeting at my house
  10. 10. VFT Activities N-Noelia L-Luana M-Matheus D-Daniel T-Tania
  11. 11. VFT Activities (1) A-Adroaldo L- Lillian R-Rebeca Res-Researcher T-Tadeu
  12. 12. Collaborative interactions  A “virtual joker” frame suggests the audience to intervene and propose alternatives.
  13. 13. The studies  Teachers or vice-principals selected the participants Somerville, Ma (USA)  1st Study: • Somerville Youth Community Center (SYCC), 8 participants; 10-12 year old girls; 6 returned surveys Salvador, Bahia (Brazil): Public Schools  2nd Study: • Landulfo Alves School 6 participants; 14-18 years old; 5 returned surveys  3rd Study: • Kabum School of Arts and Technology 6 participants; 11 years old; 5 returned surveys • Rotary High School 8 participants; 14-16 yrs old; 3 dropped out mid study • Aplicacao Anisio Teixera School 8 participants; 14-17 yrs old; 6 returned surveys
  14. 14. Evaluating VFT I studied how VFT extends and augments:  face-to-face dramatic activities for improving argumentation skills/style,  expressive fluency,  social consciousness and awareness,  conflict resolution skills in disenfranchised youth.
  15. 15. Findings  Importance  Fun and engagement  Argumentation skills/style  Expressive Fluency  Conflict Resolution  Dramatic expression  Social Awareness  Facilitator’s role
  16. 16. Other Findings  The facilitator seems crucial in enabling use of technology and in deepening arguments and discussions  VFT toolset augments face-to-face interactions and serves as catalyst of discussion  VFT toolset is not a director, but an object “to think with” (Papert), “to argue about”, and “to enact with”
  17. 17. Conclusions  VFT improved social awareness, argumentation style, and expressive fluency.  Role of facilitator could not be separated from the other parts of the intervention. Digital Media and Learning Conference 2010
  18. 18. NML Skills – Henry Jenkins  Play- the capacity to experiment with the surroundings as a form of problem solving.  Appropriation- the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content.  Judgment- the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of multiple sources
  19. 19.  Negotiation- the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms  Networking- the ability to search for, synthesize and disseminate information.  Collective Intelligence- the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal.
  20. 20. VFT & NML Skills  Play & Performance  Script improvisations  Photo taking  Recording character lines (VFT toolset),  Creating the animation (VFT toolset)  Creating intervention frame  Negotiation & Judgment  Key when interacting and proposing solutions for a VFT play Digital Media and Learning Conference 2010
  21. 21. VFT & NML Skills  Appropriation  Rehearsing or discussing responses to virtual plays  Remixing VFT plays  Networking  Chatting and sharing VFT plays  Collective Intelligence  Solving each other drama together, remixing VFT plays or creating new ones. Digital Media and Learning Conference 2010
  22. 22. Virtual Forum Theater: Creating and Sharing Drama to Resolve Conflicts Interdisciplinary PhD in Child Development, Computer Science, and Drama Tufts University By Alice Cristina Mello Cavallo Advisors: Alva Couch, Downing Cless, Marina Bers and Edith Ackermann. Digital Media and Learning Conference 2010

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