Powerful narratives and stoytelling within the context of my research

I have been doing some research looking for tools to work with for designing together with students their digital environment. One of the things I cam across is the idea of storytelling, which I always have been attracted to, a powerful tool when doing research with a participative mindset. A particular aspect of storytelling that captures me is the fact that when one tells a story inevitably the audience is giving meaning to that story hence co-creating it as it unfolds from the mind of the storyteller. It is in us, the storytellers, to decide what we do with this fact. We could ignore it and create a one sided story or we can take that into account and think about co-creating the story with our audience. In my case the last option is the one I have chosen. My story is a co-created story with students and other people involved in the research. More of this to come further in my research.

In another layer of the storytelling (more on the aspect of form) there are different audiences when telling a story. One is the story I am telling and co-creating with my participants -the co-researchers- and the other one is the one I am telling to the bigger audience, the story about my -our- research, a more static story that is aimed to communicate what has been achieved in the process of co-creation. In both cases I need to have a coherent story which unfolds in a plausible way implying space and time. How will I tell those 2 stories has been my intellectual journey for the last 3 years.

Why so long???
Yes it has been a long process. To start I have had to learn the language in which I wanted to tell the story -English-.
In order to address that particular audience -academia but general public as well- I need to talk a particular language with a special format. On the other hand I also needed, in order to craft a coherent whole, to be familiarized with all the components of that story. I see it like building a machine. I need to now for what is the machine for and what would make the machine do the job effectively and efficiently. For that I needed to find out what parts will suit best the job and how can they be assembled so that the machine functions smoothly and is capable of doing the job for which it was created.

Some of the spear parts are the topics I am interested in: Technology and society (science and technological studies is the big field where those components live in. Technology in this study is seen as a workbench to craft knowledge), Digital literacy which is a relatively new literacy students and citizens in general need to master in order to perform effectively and confidently n a society that is mediated mainly by digital technology. Education, the art of learning: What is that experience like when mediated by a set of digital tools? How can students become the designers of the system of tools they are deploying in their learning experience? How can the process of designing that space be scaffold? What is this scaffold like? What is the nature of the process(es) that needs scaffold? What is it in that process that generates the biggest anxiety and/or fear? Where is the biggest hurdle of difficulty to overcome? Where in the process of having a system of tools are students at? What kind of tools they use? Do they know that what they have is (an informal) system of tools? What does the word system implies or entails?

The bearing that connect those parts to make the motor move and work is still not clear to me. What theoretical constructs can link together technology, students with their needs and their learning experience? How can I link technology and learning in a way that it makes the process of producing some kind of knowledge in collaboration possible? What is the role of technology in that process? What can be done with technology that couldn’t be done without it? Or what can be improved in the process of learning through a digital environment, a workbench? And what can be learned in the process of crafting that workbench? This are, I believe, some of the crucial questions of this study and the process of finding the answers will be part of the story I want to co-create with my participants. Their thoughts, ideas, needs, expertise and experience as well as their hopes in relation to learn and become literate in a post-digital society where most of the future jobs are mediated through digital technologies is crucial in my work.

Students are citizens of a post-digital era, where technologies as the object of interest is disappearing smoothly as they become ever-present and easily available, not for all students but for now to the participants of this project (This study is done in a context of students that have access to mobile phones, the internet and the different platforms and tools that live in the Web). Although this research involves a small account of students, privileged maybe in that they have access to technology and to internet services, the findings I hope can be used with a wider range of students. My aim in the long term is to work with more disadvantage students that are also citizens of the same society thus are needing to become digital literate and able to design their working space as well. Ideas to this future project will be arising in the process of this research I am sure.

Still much to think about and write about…much stories to come and to tell 🙂

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