Education - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Bringing the magic of life: The power of co-constructing digital storytelling with people with dementia

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-08-09
Abstract: 

The number of people living with dementia is continuing to increase. Past research found benefits of digital storytelling for persons with dementia, including enhanced relationships, communication, improved well-being, and social citizenship. My research explored the experience of digital storytelling for people living with early stage dementia as part of a cross-Canada project including three sites: Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto. The Vancouver research was conducted as my thesis research. In Vancouver, six participants were recruited from retirement residences, a care facility, and the Alzheimer Society of B.C. I met with participants for 6 to 16 sessions to create digital stories. Data collected included observational field notes, audio recordings from the sessions, and interviews that were transcribed and analyzed. The process illuminated the experience of digital storytelling for people living with dementia. Aspects of participant’s experience included creating a legacy, dementia awareness-raising, facilitated reminiscence, engagement in the process of creation, and generativity.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
David Kaufman
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Connecting, sharing and reshaping life stories: Experiences, benefits, and challenges of older adults in a digital storytelling course

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-07-23
Abstract: 

There is a global demographic shift with older adults increasing in number. With this shift comes many challenges and opportunities. Older adults may benefit from increasing their digital literacy skills, sharing their life experiences through story, and participating in lifelong learning. This thesis evaluates a project that provided these opportunities. The theoretical lens used is a combination of a life course approach, narrative theory, and social constructivist theory. The thesis used a case study approach that examined 15 offerings of a digital storytelling course attended by a total of 98 older adults. Each course ran for 8-10 weeks (two hours once a week). Data collection for the research conducted involved background information (including participant computer skill level), post course evaluation forms, focus groups, and a questionnaire handed out to viewers during a “Sharing our Stories” event. The findings indicated that there were more female participants than male participants and over half of the participants had immigrated to Canada at one point in their lives. There were a range of digital skill levels at the start of the course, with most participants claiming to be beginner or intermediate. Results suggest that most older adults who completed the digital storytelling course reported an increase in digital literacy skills (computer, software, and Internet) and digital storytelling skills. Educationally, the course was also seen to be beneficial as participants suggested they had learned something new, whether from the program, the process, or both. However, sometimes the technology posed a challenge and time constraints were highlighted as being an issue. Participants also reflected on their stories and lives, at times reliving them and reshaping their stories. The artefact created through digitizing a story was considered as a way to connect to future generations and current family. The digital storytelling course appeared to create social connectedness to self and to others (in the past, present, and future). These findings suggest that courses using story and technology and creating a community of learners can be a beneficial approach for older adult learning environments. This thesis research contributes to the field of older adult education and educational technology by providing a deeper understanding of older adult learning with storytelling and technology and the benefits and challenges this provides. It also offers insights into the experiences of older adults within a digital storytelling course and examines the way in which storytelling and multimedia can play a role in lifelong learning.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
The accompanying video is an example of a digital story created by one of the participants in the course.
Senior supervisor: 
David Kaufman
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Art as a means to locate and disrupt embodied prejudice with emotional sensations on the body: The artful and transformative telling of stories of stigma and HIV.

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-07-11
Abstract: 

This arts-based inquiry investigates how the arts can challenge the embodiment of prejudice and bias by its ability to inspire, through sensations on the body, a transformative empathetic experience in an individual. I located implicit bias through sensation awareness on my body by accessing associated embodied memories and disrupted such bias with the deliberate intervention of art imagery. I then, collaborated with a former dancer living with HIV and followed my felt sensation responses to artfully tell of her experiences with stigma using dance to create two videos that inspire transformative, empathetic sensation responses that disrupt my learned embodied resistances around HIV and help me better understand her experience. Through this research I learned what it means to be an artist researcher in an artistic endeavour of inquiry in the receiving and telling of difficult stories. Engaging through sensation awareness as inquiry, meaning-making and storytelling is an emergent reciprocal process of listening, receiving and offering. Remaining open to receive sensations on my body required that I be attentive to the storyteller throughout the creative process.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Lynn Fels
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Unforgiveness: An alternative space for people who cannot forgive

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-07-26
Abstract: 

There is a gap in the current instantiations of forgiveness that prevents people who cannot forgive from exploring alternatives beyond the dyad of forgiveness and vengeance. As such, it is imperative to not only recognize the gap, but also to endeavour to create a space whereby those who cannot forgive can assemble alternative responses to harm and wrong-doing. This thesis explores the possibilities of describing such a space of unforgiveness that can become a vector for those who cannot forgive to constitute an alternative to the prevailing injunction to forgive. Forgiveness is fundamentally a moral concern, which, in turn, has implications for moral education. I focus here on the educational possibilities that could emerge for people who cannot forgive. Such possibilities include the recognition of anger and other so-called negative emotions as legitimate and teachable responses to harm and wrong-doing.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ozlem Sensoy
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The relationship in between mathematics students' self and group efficacies in a Thinking Classroom

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-07-23
Abstract: 

Self-efficacy has been thoroughly studied in its connections to mathematics education and student learning. However, the modern secondary mathematics classroom is shifting towards increased group activities and tasks. The Thinking Classroom model is a particular means of increasing student engagement through group work. As classrooms evolve, group efficacy has become an increasing factor in student achievement. This study is an exploration of the possible relationships between self and group efficacy in a Thinking Classroom. Students were observed during group work and then given a questionnaire to measure their self and group efficacies and any possible variation. A select group of students was then interviewed. After the interview, the results were analyzed for common themes of particular efficacies. The results suggest that the Thinking Classroom model can lead to more positive group efficacy, which then leads to more positive self-efficacy.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Peter Liljedahl
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis (Education)) M.Sc.

Making in the classroom: A self-study examining the implementation of a makerspace

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-07-10
Abstract: 

Making is a popular trend that holds many promises for classroom education, the most salient of which is as a vehicle for constructionist learning (Cohen, Jones, Smith & Calandra, 2017). In this self-study, I examine tensions that arose from implementing the makerspace concept in my grade 10-12 alternate classroom. Self-study is an ideal way to explore the application of makerspace in the classroom as it is both improvement-aimed and contributory (LaBoskey, 2004). This study found that my fear and uncertainty that arose in implementing a makerspace in the classroom contributed to privileging of choice and autonomy over other aspects of makerspaces. Self-study helped me to re-connect with my values and beliefs of supporting student empowerment and student autonomy through scaffolded practices. This self-study also highlighted the importance that fear plays in surfacing tensions that need attending. This rich description of one teacher’s experience contributes to the conversation of how to bring makerspaces into the classrooms.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Shawn Bullock
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

More than words: Using qualitative video-recall procedures to contextualize queer couples’ communication and partnered gay men’s sexual communication

Date created: 
2018-06-19
Abstract: 

This thesis contains two manuscripts related to the study of queer couples’ communication. In the first manuscript, I discuss qualitative video-recall procedures as valuable tools for generating contextualized and queer-affirmative understandings of queer couples’ communication. I argue that these procedures address limitations of dominant approaches to couples’ communication research, enabling researchers to attend to important social and political factors that shape how queer couples communicate. In the second manuscript, I use these innovative research procedures to explore partnered gay men’s sexual communication. In this study, three diverse gay male couples had video-recorded conversations about their sexual relationships, followed by separate video-recall interviews. Findings explore how gay male couples collaboratively navigate complex sociopolitical contexts by resisting, creatively modifying, and negotiating dominant sexual scripts. I explore how dominant sexual discourses and interpersonal power dynamics shape these dyadic processes.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Sharalyn Jordan
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Building a contemplative classroom for students with anxiety

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-06-19
Abstract: 

This thesis addresses student anxiety in school. Many students feel a deep and chronic sense of anxiety, and this thesis thematizes this topic around the author’s experience as a primary school teacher. The author undertakes autobiographical reflections on her teaching experience and observations about students she teaches, studies the literature on student anxiety, and finally brings all of these into the conceptual framework of contemplative inquiry. The contemplative inquiry framework provides a lens through which to interpret and understand students who are anxious, and moreover, it provides ways of working with anxiety. The thesis presents the understanding that, for students to feel comfortable and safe in the classroom atmosphere, it is vital for educators to help create a classroom that students may feel is positive. The thesis goes into detail on inner work, mindfulness, and living curriculum. The author’s first-person experience of studying and learning in her Master of Education program, as well as autobiographical writing that capture the author’s childhood memories that pertain to the thesis topic, are presented in this thesis.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Heesoon Bai
Department: 
Education:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Design and usage of a private margin on public online discussions: Experiences from semester-long mixed-mode courses

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-03-16
Abstract: 

In the transition from paper-based to web-based document sharing and commentary systems, the ability for readers to respond directly to what they are reading in a private, context-preserving, easy to use manner has been lost. While paper margins have been used for centuries for commenting and developing ideas, web-based systems have emphasized public contributions. This study examined if the loss of an affordance for private annotations could be significant to postsecondary learners. This question was addressed by adding a private “Virtual Margin” to an existing web-based forum used by two classes of Education graduate students, and examining their usage of it over the duration of a complete semester. The Virtual Margin was introduced to students at the start of the semester, but they were not instructed on how to use it to support their work, or given any grade incentive to encourage their use of it. Quantitative traces of students’ activity and detailed qualitative coding of their annotations indicate that several students in each class used the Virtual Margin as an integral part of how they participated in the web-based forum over the full duration of the semester. Some students clearly invested substantial time and effort in their Virtual Margin annotations, even though they knew there would be no reward for, or acknowledgement of, their work from anyone else. Three of the most common uses of the Virtual Margin were to privately record opinions on other students’ notes, to create summaries of them, and create private drafts of notes to post publicly at a later time. Less common uses included reminders for themselves and diary-like personal reflections – which for one student involved a very large investment of effort. Some expected uses, such as self-monitoring, goal-setting and other self-regulatory behaviors, were observed to a much lesser extent.The results of this study suggest that a private, context-preserving virtual margin with a flexible and easy-to-use writing area has some potential to aid students in their learning and public forum contributions. Though a minority of students might use this feature, it is simple to implement and may contribute to time-on-task and student learning.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Kevin O'Neill
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Buddhist understanding and skilful means: Adding depth and meaning to K-12 teachers’ practice of mindfulness

Date created: 
2018-02-28
Abstract: 

With the documented benefits of Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) such as the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program, training in mindfulness has become increasingly popular in North America. Recently, MBIs have been developed to advance K-12 teachers’ social and emotional competence, and to support them in dealing with work related issues such as stress and burnout. These interventions are consistent with the relational approach to Social and Emotional Education, where students’ social and emotional competence is augmented by teachers’ personal advancement, and their increased capacity to cultivate caring relationships. MBIs for teachers typically focus on a few elements of Buddhist theory – primarily mindfulness, as well as kindness and compassion training. These foci are to the exclusion of the broader theoretical framework of the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path, in which the practice of mindfulness originated. When the practice of mindfulness is divorced from the Buddhist teachings of which it is part, what is arguably lost is a deeper understanding of the conditions that lead to human suffering, and a more substantive means to addressing it – leaving mindfulness at risk for being misunderstood and misused. Within the current thesis, I argue that there are other elements of Buddhist theory (i.e., wisdom and ethics), that are secular in nature, and important to ensuring K-12 teachers receive, and sustain, maximal benefit from mindfulness-based practices. These include teachers having access to (1) trainings included in the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path, and (2) ongoing support. Such knowledge and support can enrich educators’ understanding and embodiment of mindfulness-based practices, which will be of benefit not only to their personal wellbeing, but will also help them in their efforts to create caring classroom environments, enhance teacher-student relationships, and support student wellbeing.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Lucy Le Mare
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.