Social storytelling: Evidencing a personal learning narrative through digital media

Dr Sarah Copeland @XarahC – University of Bradford and Dr John Couperthwaite @johncoup – PebblePad

A proportion of our future student cohort are returning from school mid-afternoon, throwing their bag down and picking up any number of devices to resume their digital exploration: the remote control; a tablet for streaming media content; their controllers for online gaming; and maybe if they walk to school, a mobile phone. With the exception of the television or radio as channels of unidirectional mass media, our students of tomorrow are communicating, sense-making and identity-building in a social ecology of digital connectivity.

In enabling our students to develop their understanding and skill-sets during their time of formalised study, we are required to provide platforms for collating concrete evidence to support progress. Portfolios are a mechanism that many Higher Educational Institutions employ to facilitate asset and evidence gathering for accreditation.

In our contemporary media ecology, meta-narratives are captured and embedded in other digital channels. Examples of this include tweet chats being reduced in Storify, bookmarking tools are included in module presentations and LinkedIn is used by students in showcasing experiences in a learning context, and a host of other web 2.0 tools [1]. To maintain academic rigour, how can we enable our learners to aggregate the stories they encounter across their digital networks?

In our workshop, we will open discussion around the following themes:

  1. The purpose of evidencing learning for personal development and accreditation.
  2. Accuracy, legitimacy and credentialing of their collated digital artefacts.
  3. Issues of legality and ownership.
  4. How social media has the potential to enrich the curated artefacts in a portfolio-based learning space.
  5. As preparation for our workshop, we will facilitate an on-line digital discussion amongst our peer group of these four perspectives: our findings will form part of this on-going dialogue. The artefacts generated from these online sessions will be available prior to the workshop for participants to consider and inform the discussions on the day. References:

[1] Ridge-Stern, B. (2015) “Digital Storytelling” on The Digital Day blog: [Accessed 25.09.2015]