Designing digital storytelling: creative technology for reflection in initial teacher education
Thompson Long, Bonnie
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Reflection represents a foundational, core developmental activity in teacher professional education. Reflection can, however, prove challenging, and even problematic, particularly for novice, pre-service teachers (Calderhead, 1989; Hatton & Smith, 1995; Korthagen, 2001a; MacLeod & Cowieson, 2001; Moon, 1999). Narrative and technology potentially afford possibilities to render reflection more engaging and interactive (Barrett, 2005c). Employing design-based research (DBR) methodology, the research reported in this thesis set out to explore whether and how digital storytelling - as a potential synergy of narrative and technology - could be designed and deployed to enhance reflection in initial teacher education. Positioned in the context of similar developments and innovations internationally, this research is inspired by, and builds on the extant international research in the field of digital storytelling. Following a DBR process, the research utilised a theoretically-informed design framework: R-NEST, to explore systematically the development of a digital storytelling intervention with 308 pre-service teachers. The intervention, in three major design cycles, was undertaken on a longitudinal basis, over a period of four years. The intervention was evaluated using a range of products from the design process, including the pre-service teachers' completed digital stories, their 'working portfolios', online discussion boards, a post digital storytelling questionnaire and qualitative feedback. The data derived from these evaluations are the subject of critical analysis, informed by the R-NEST design model. The contribution of the thesis to the understanding of digital storytelling as a technology-enhanced reflective process for pre-service teachers is significant and threefold. Firstly, the research establishes systematically the potential of DST as a technology-enhanced reflective process for supporting and augmenting reflection in ITE. Secondly, through the detailed articulation of a longitudinal and repeatable DBR process, the thesis demonstrates practically how a digital storytelling intervention was designed and developed to enhance reflection in an ITE program. Thirdly, the thesis contributes to advancing design research, producing a design model: R-NEST, which can be adapted and adopted by other design researchers, educators and education technologists, in designing DST to enhance pre-service teachers' professional practice learning. Although beyond the immediate scope of this thesis, this robust R-NEST design model could be adapted to support the design of technology to enhance professional learning in other disciplines.