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Transformative Learning Spaces
Teachers’ narratives
in digital storytelling experiences
M. Vivitsou, J. Saari, V. Harju, J. Multisilta, H. Niemi, A. Siewiorek, J. Honkala, K. Lampi
CICERO Learning Network, University of Helsinki
Digital technologies in pedagogy
¡ Teachers seek new ways to integrate technologies
in pedagogical practice. They do so in order to
create opportunities and spaces for students to
make meaningful use of digital media and tools.
¡ Digital technologies disrupt the normal course of
the pedagogical meeting, i.e., where teachers’
and students’ intentional activities intersect
¡ Challenges to meet: search for and apply
appropriate teaching methodologies, address
technical problems, develop new literacies (e.g.,
digital, network etc.)
Therefore, the everydayness of the classroom is in
disorder.
Digital storytelling: a new everydayness
in pedagogy?
¡  Understanding the concept of everydayness is central to making
sense of the structure of a person’s world. Everydayness refers to the
absorption of an individual into the world, it is the rhythm of life or
surface existence; it is the practical, pre-critical way of being in the
world; the term suggests sameness but in everydayness occurs the
moment by moment battle of saving or losing oneself (Ilsley et al,
forthcoming)
¡  Digital storytelling is a complex, multi-dimensional process of
changes and transformations. Among others, creating stories
requires : topic selection, tie with students’ choices and curriculum,
pedagogical design, activity implementation, multi-level
collaboration, peer-to-peer support, multiple literacies on stage.
This complexity creates the space for a ‘new everydayness’ to
emerge in the pedagogical meeting
Transformations in the digital
Topics as students’ objects of study : daily life; myths; recycling; animal rights;
social networking, cyber bullying
¡  Digital stories enable students’ perspective of the object of study to
become visible. During the process of making, the stories are lifted
from the original context and change. Their changes are
transformations and belong to two general categories :
¡  spatial (where the location or the size changes e.g., remixing,
subtitling etc) &
¡  temporal (digital artifact rewind, fast forward, freeze images
etc) .
¡  The changes are also transformations of the content of the DS
experience overall
¡  Transformations of digital artifacts, of the learning and the teaching
experience enable multiple interpretations of the objects of study,
of the story-making process and, eventually, of the world
Digital stories, therefore, are artifacts of polysemy (polysemic); as
such, digital stories advance the human lexicon
Digital Stories as Wings for Imagination
A new definition is shaped out of study insights and preliminary
analysis of teachers’ narratives
¡  DS-telling is a process of making a narrative. Those
stories, therefore, that are the results of the process of
narrative-making & are mediated by mobile and
video technologies are digital stories.
¡  In fact, digital stories are any technology-enhanced
narrative production that makes visible the
storytellers’ cognitive schemes.
¡  These emerge out of the teller’s life events and can
be fictional and/or nonfictional.
We use the DS experience and teachers’ narratives to build our definition :
¡  Kids like fairy tales because this is how their imagination is
mobilized. And this is where the success of this whole venture lies;
in the inherent need to each and every human being, either to
tell a story or to listen to one. This is the deepest motive, this is why
the kids were actively engaged. (GR, 3rd grade)
¡  … it was ordinary in a certain sense... but in another it was not
ordinary or maybe it was somehow advanced; (but) that inner
motivation to do this was so great. You didn’t have to push much.
And it went fast. (FI, 5th grade)
¡  They very much enjoyed the video of the 4 girls driving at school.
They thought it was very funny. This possibly liberated them and
generated ideas. Then they put forward the idea to shoot a clip of
the field next to the school because they can play there. (GR, 3rd
grade)
Teachers’ narratives in the study
Narratives represent the personally experienced stories
¡ The study aim is to explain these stories by making the
meanings of the teachers’ lived experiences visible.
¡ To meet this end we need to clarify the significance of
the digital storytelling-related events. These relate to the
stories as artifacts and the process of their making.
¡ Being expressions of the ‘different’ in the normal course
of everydayness, the storytelling events shape our
perspective of the study and the research questions.
Set of evolving research questions
¡ Does digital storytelling as experience of 'the
different’ signal the dawning of a new
everydayness in schools ?
¡ If yes, in what ways is this manifested ?
¡ In what ways is a digitally-enhanced learning
space transformative ?
¡ What essential structures of digital storytelling
become visible in teachers’ narratives?
Research background & task
¡  In this study our insights from field notes, observations and
interviews shape our view of storytelling as an international,
collaboratively creative experience enhanced by the digital.
¡  The study is qualitative and examines the experiences of the
integration of digital storytelling into the pedagogical meeting.
For integration the Mobile Video Experience platform (MoViE)
was used as a virtual space in the Boundless Classroom-
Digital Storytelling FINNABLE 2020 project. Pedagogical
activities occurred across three countries between October
and December 2012.
¡  For thematic analysis, we use the narratives of teachers that
result from semi-structured interviews. In order to reveal the
meaning structures we apply a phenomenological approach.
Research participants & methods
¡ 3 countries : California, Finland, Greece
¡ 39 teachers; 19 schools; 26 classrooms
¡ Contextual & follow-up questionnaires
¡ Field notes & observations
¡ Semi-structured interviews of teachers
¡ Focus groups of students
¡ Coding, thematic analysis
Teachers’ stories as interviews
¡ Teachers give accounts of the DS experience in their
speech. Through these accounts the teachers’ life
events are made public. The interpretation of the
lived experience gives sense to the behavior of
teachers, students, colleagues and parents during
the DS process.
Preliminary analysis & emergent themes
Liberating imagination, space for creativity, experience of change
¡  Another (dimension) is that we broke away from the 4 walls of the
classroom, visited Palo Alto, travelled to Finland, flipped around
the map, watched several teasers. We realized that children in
other countries are like us, they are not alien. And this whole
experience enables them to shape the global picture of the
world. in this way, by being in the network and through the
collaboration with other schools in different corners of the planet
they expand their horizons. (GR, Teacher, 3rd grade)
¡  That was, when they were getting to the very, very end and
making mash-ups, was very liberating I think for some of them. It
was very creative to make, make a new thing out of previously
existing things... (CA, Teacher, Class Year 5)
The analysis is inductive and still in progress. Main
themes that emerge out of the experience are :
¡ Alternative avenues and pathways of
communication;
¡ Learning spaces that mobilize curiosity & exploration
¡ Teachers’ becoming less authoritative; sharing
control; students taking-on responsibilities
¡  A dialogical, collaborative space emerges
¡  Of inclusiveness; where horizons are expanded
¡ Learning at school is fun & meaningful experience
¡ Participation : Learning to be an active citizen
¡ Key experiences of democracy, equity &
communitarian spirit in the classroom
¡ The human element exceeds the technological in
importance
Meanings of inclusion & expansive horizons
¡  S. was another interesting case because he found space and
opportunity to deal with the difficulty in linguistic expression. You see,
his parents are immigrants. He had to do an upload. When he
finished, he came back to the classroom smiling. His team did not
actively engage in filming but at this point they are the ones who
take on active role. To him, DS was the chance to engage in
something different. (GR, Teacher, 3rd grade)
¡  There’s an element of public speaking, an element of presentation
that I want them to get of it. And I also want them to broaden their
perspective on what’s available in the world and how different kids
learn and how different kids live and to have a better sense of
geography. (CA, Teacher, Class Year 5)
¡  Case of student with special needs in GR, Grade 6
Pedagogical meeting re-visited
Emergent themes reflect the essential structures of the new
phenomenon :
¡ DS-telling adds to the polysemy and richness of the
learning experience and re-defines the
everydayness of the learning space.
¡ A number of transformations occur: of the digital
artifact, the learning experience, the teaching
experience. Emergent themes correlate with
changes in learning and teaching.
¡ The analysis of teachers’ narratives captures their
evolving sense of professionalism, i.e., an enhanced
natural attitude of school teachers
Building a new sense of professionalism
… or the dawn of a new day in schools by allowing space for :
¡ Participative content creation;
¡ Curriculum reshape by teachers and students; based
upon students’ preferences and leading multiple
interpretations of the object of study and, thus, of the
world;
¡ Enhanced understanding of the global;
¡ Student articulation of own voice by teacher sharing
control and creating space for responsibility take-on;
allowing imagination to fly; creativity & collaboration
to occur; international bonds and community to
establish.
Wrapping up the experience
The preliminary analysis and findings of the study show that DS-telling is a
meaning making process that can naturally be embedded in the
everydayness of the classroom. As with every other innovation, the waves
of change cause a sense of disorder of what is normal course of the
pedagogical meeting. However, the change does not seem to be an
anomaly; on the contrary, the transformative learning space that emerges
counterbalances the disruptive effect. Importantly enough, the overall
experience echoes a utopian rather than dystopian view of technology:
¡ one that strengthens the argument of the Internet as human
right; the same way that education is human right;
¡ and underscores the need for policies that eradicate the
digital divide and enable access to knowledge and
advancement to all and for all.
Mari@nna Vivitsou
marianna.vivitsou@helsinki.fi
Thank You for Your Attention! J

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Teachers’ narratives in digital storytelling : transformative learning spaces

  • 1. Transformative Learning Spaces Teachers’ narratives in digital storytelling experiences M. Vivitsou, J. Saari, V. Harju, J. Multisilta, H. Niemi, A. Siewiorek, J. Honkala, K. Lampi CICERO Learning Network, University of Helsinki
  • 2. Digital technologies in pedagogy ¡ Teachers seek new ways to integrate technologies in pedagogical practice. They do so in order to create opportunities and spaces for students to make meaningful use of digital media and tools. ¡ Digital technologies disrupt the normal course of the pedagogical meeting, i.e., where teachers’ and students’ intentional activities intersect ¡ Challenges to meet: search for and apply appropriate teaching methodologies, address technical problems, develop new literacies (e.g., digital, network etc.) Therefore, the everydayness of the classroom is in disorder.
  • 3. Digital storytelling: a new everydayness in pedagogy? ¡  Understanding the concept of everydayness is central to making sense of the structure of a person’s world. Everydayness refers to the absorption of an individual into the world, it is the rhythm of life or surface existence; it is the practical, pre-critical way of being in the world; the term suggests sameness but in everydayness occurs the moment by moment battle of saving or losing oneself (Ilsley et al, forthcoming) ¡  Digital storytelling is a complex, multi-dimensional process of changes and transformations. Among others, creating stories requires : topic selection, tie with students’ choices and curriculum, pedagogical design, activity implementation, multi-level collaboration, peer-to-peer support, multiple literacies on stage. This complexity creates the space for a ‘new everydayness’ to emerge in the pedagogical meeting
  • 4. Transformations in the digital Topics as students’ objects of study : daily life; myths; recycling; animal rights; social networking, cyber bullying ¡  Digital stories enable students’ perspective of the object of study to become visible. During the process of making, the stories are lifted from the original context and change. Their changes are transformations and belong to two general categories : ¡  spatial (where the location or the size changes e.g., remixing, subtitling etc) & ¡  temporal (digital artifact rewind, fast forward, freeze images etc) . ¡  The changes are also transformations of the content of the DS experience overall ¡  Transformations of digital artifacts, of the learning and the teaching experience enable multiple interpretations of the objects of study, of the story-making process and, eventually, of the world Digital stories, therefore, are artifacts of polysemy (polysemic); as such, digital stories advance the human lexicon
  • 5. Digital Stories as Wings for Imagination A new definition is shaped out of study insights and preliminary analysis of teachers’ narratives ¡  DS-telling is a process of making a narrative. Those stories, therefore, that are the results of the process of narrative-making & are mediated by mobile and video technologies are digital stories. ¡  In fact, digital stories are any technology-enhanced narrative production that makes visible the storytellers’ cognitive schemes. ¡  These emerge out of the teller’s life events and can be fictional and/or nonfictional.
  • 6. We use the DS experience and teachers’ narratives to build our definition : ¡  Kids like fairy tales because this is how their imagination is mobilized. And this is where the success of this whole venture lies; in the inherent need to each and every human being, either to tell a story or to listen to one. This is the deepest motive, this is why the kids were actively engaged. (GR, 3rd grade) ¡  … it was ordinary in a certain sense... but in another it was not ordinary or maybe it was somehow advanced; (but) that inner motivation to do this was so great. You didn’t have to push much. And it went fast. (FI, 5th grade) ¡  They very much enjoyed the video of the 4 girls driving at school. They thought it was very funny. This possibly liberated them and generated ideas. Then they put forward the idea to shoot a clip of the field next to the school because they can play there. (GR, 3rd grade)
  • 7. Teachers’ narratives in the study Narratives represent the personally experienced stories ¡ The study aim is to explain these stories by making the meanings of the teachers’ lived experiences visible. ¡ To meet this end we need to clarify the significance of the digital storytelling-related events. These relate to the stories as artifacts and the process of their making. ¡ Being expressions of the ‘different’ in the normal course of everydayness, the storytelling events shape our perspective of the study and the research questions.
  • 8. Set of evolving research questions ¡ Does digital storytelling as experience of 'the different’ signal the dawning of a new everydayness in schools ? ¡ If yes, in what ways is this manifested ? ¡ In what ways is a digitally-enhanced learning space transformative ? ¡ What essential structures of digital storytelling become visible in teachers’ narratives?
  • 9. Research background & task ¡  In this study our insights from field notes, observations and interviews shape our view of storytelling as an international, collaboratively creative experience enhanced by the digital. ¡  The study is qualitative and examines the experiences of the integration of digital storytelling into the pedagogical meeting. For integration the Mobile Video Experience platform (MoViE) was used as a virtual space in the Boundless Classroom- Digital Storytelling FINNABLE 2020 project. Pedagogical activities occurred across three countries between October and December 2012. ¡  For thematic analysis, we use the narratives of teachers that result from semi-structured interviews. In order to reveal the meaning structures we apply a phenomenological approach.
  • 10. Research participants & methods ¡ 3 countries : California, Finland, Greece ¡ 39 teachers; 19 schools; 26 classrooms ¡ Contextual & follow-up questionnaires ¡ Field notes & observations ¡ Semi-structured interviews of teachers ¡ Focus groups of students ¡ Coding, thematic analysis
  • 11. Teachers’ stories as interviews ¡ Teachers give accounts of the DS experience in their speech. Through these accounts the teachers’ life events are made public. The interpretation of the lived experience gives sense to the behavior of teachers, students, colleagues and parents during the DS process.
  • 12. Preliminary analysis & emergent themes Liberating imagination, space for creativity, experience of change ¡  Another (dimension) is that we broke away from the 4 walls of the classroom, visited Palo Alto, travelled to Finland, flipped around the map, watched several teasers. We realized that children in other countries are like us, they are not alien. And this whole experience enables them to shape the global picture of the world. in this way, by being in the network and through the collaboration with other schools in different corners of the planet they expand their horizons. (GR, Teacher, 3rd grade) ¡  That was, when they were getting to the very, very end and making mash-ups, was very liberating I think for some of them. It was very creative to make, make a new thing out of previously existing things... (CA, Teacher, Class Year 5) The analysis is inductive and still in progress. Main themes that emerge out of the experience are :
  • 13. ¡ Alternative avenues and pathways of communication; ¡ Learning spaces that mobilize curiosity & exploration ¡ Teachers’ becoming less authoritative; sharing control; students taking-on responsibilities ¡  A dialogical, collaborative space emerges ¡  Of inclusiveness; where horizons are expanded ¡ Learning at school is fun & meaningful experience ¡ Participation : Learning to be an active citizen ¡ Key experiences of democracy, equity & communitarian spirit in the classroom ¡ The human element exceeds the technological in importance
  • 14. Meanings of inclusion & expansive horizons ¡  S. was another interesting case because he found space and opportunity to deal with the difficulty in linguistic expression. You see, his parents are immigrants. He had to do an upload. When he finished, he came back to the classroom smiling. His team did not actively engage in filming but at this point they are the ones who take on active role. To him, DS was the chance to engage in something different. (GR, Teacher, 3rd grade) ¡  There’s an element of public speaking, an element of presentation that I want them to get of it. And I also want them to broaden their perspective on what’s available in the world and how different kids learn and how different kids live and to have a better sense of geography. (CA, Teacher, Class Year 5) ¡  Case of student with special needs in GR, Grade 6
  • 15. Pedagogical meeting re-visited Emergent themes reflect the essential structures of the new phenomenon : ¡ DS-telling adds to the polysemy and richness of the learning experience and re-defines the everydayness of the learning space. ¡ A number of transformations occur: of the digital artifact, the learning experience, the teaching experience. Emergent themes correlate with changes in learning and teaching. ¡ The analysis of teachers’ narratives captures their evolving sense of professionalism, i.e., an enhanced natural attitude of school teachers
  • 16. Building a new sense of professionalism … or the dawn of a new day in schools by allowing space for : ¡ Participative content creation; ¡ Curriculum reshape by teachers and students; based upon students’ preferences and leading multiple interpretations of the object of study and, thus, of the world; ¡ Enhanced understanding of the global; ¡ Student articulation of own voice by teacher sharing control and creating space for responsibility take-on; allowing imagination to fly; creativity & collaboration to occur; international bonds and community to establish.
  • 17. Wrapping up the experience The preliminary analysis and findings of the study show that DS-telling is a meaning making process that can naturally be embedded in the everydayness of the classroom. As with every other innovation, the waves of change cause a sense of disorder of what is normal course of the pedagogical meeting. However, the change does not seem to be an anomaly; on the contrary, the transformative learning space that emerges counterbalances the disruptive effect. Importantly enough, the overall experience echoes a utopian rather than dystopian view of technology: ¡ one that strengthens the argument of the Internet as human right; the same way that education is human right; ¡ and underscores the need for policies that eradicate the digital divide and enable access to knowledge and advancement to all and for all.