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Points of departure, points of viewing: narrative inquiry through a digital lens

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Author: Leong, Julia
This paper considers the ways in which photography can be used as a tool by teachers for their own self reflection. The opportunity for a teacher to capture their world through photography is almost constant. Many teachers have only been trained to use the written word to capture their thoughts and observations of their work and experience. At a time when the pen and paper were the ubiquitous tool for recording this made sense. Now that digital imaging is a ubiquitous tool, teachers and students should be taught to use visual images to deepen their knowledge of their own work. Writing will remain important, but not sufficient. By creating images, not of the classroom, but of their daily living, teachers can greatly expand their own sense of perspective; seeing things in new ways and becoming aware of what they attend to and how they experience everyday living. This sense of deeper understanding of the world around them can lead to expanding the boundaries of learning for their students. By developing concepts through photography, writing field notes, conducting literature reviews, and through discussion, the author invites the reader into a conversation that includes stories of experiences about the process of learning and teaching, about digital media technology, about the relationship of photos to written texts and about attending to lived experiences. The dynamics associated with learning in the rapidly-changing fields of educational technology and digital media production are discussed as examples of self study and inquiry into how these kinds of learning, associated pedagogies, and the institutional arrangements in which they occur can be better understood. This paper is also an inquiry into representations of identity and living inquiry. Who is the self that teaches? What can we learn about ourselves that can help us understand our students’ learning? The result of this exploratory research is a series of practical, methodological, and theoretical questions to inform subsequent phases of research into learning systems, curriculum design, and pedagogy.
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