Thursday, May 13, 2010

Storytelling in a digital landscape

We are a storytelling people and we live in a story telling landscape. That is if we choose to participate. I first noticed this when I was a young mother and I would tell my childbirth experience to other mothers, they always came back with an interesting story of their own. Over the years I have heard many stories each of them weaved and connected with shared experience. We live our life stories like bubbles blowing in the wind, floating between all alone yet never far always seeking each other. In the nod of a head we may gently cradle fragments of each other’s story in relationship for brief moments and connect what is similar our lived stories. “There is a reflexive relationship between living a life story, telling a life story, retelling a life story, and reliving a life story”(Clandinin & Connelly, 2000, p. 71). Following Dewey my goal is to look for connected experience, not to go chasing after certainty but to tell a reflexive story that others can learn from. With my inquiry I want to be active or rather participate with my own curiosity. What makes me curious is my confusion. Teachers are being asked to become digitally confident and to create learning environments were students could develop fully as digital citizens. What confuses me is how teachers are expected to gain confidence when many teachers report that their students know more than they do about the digital landscape. When teachers have no personal experience with technology they also worry about the time to learn something new. They also complain that it takes so long to get IT help when the network goes down and they are not able to personalize computers by adding new applications when they feel they need them. There are many barriers for teachers using technology in the digital landscape but none more frustrating than attempting to give something you do not have. I hope that my research may reveal possible paths to smooth the crumpled tension I believe many teachers experience daily as they endeavor to teach digital citizenship to students.

The place I wish to situate my research is in a reflexive landscape because I believe in the power of lived knowledge best described in experience. Yet I fear that standing in the middle of this ever-changing vista may cause me to loose my balance. As a reflexive narrative researcher I expect an unending negotiation to maintain my flexibility and openness. I think it best to settle in, to work alongside teachers and make myself useful. I risk perhaps putting myself out on the edge like an uninvited guest, while I explore the gap between the teachers narrative experience and my own. I understand that the negotiation of the most precious research relationship is ongoing and unending throughout the whole inquiry but in the end is only a snap shot, a brief moment in time. “Good narrative working relationships carry with them a sad and wistful sense born of the possibility of temporariness”(Clandinin & Connelly, 2000, p. 72).

Clandinin, D. G., & Connelly, F. M. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nancy,
    Do you have criteria on how you will select the teachers or schools for your study? How many teachers do you think might be needed to provide voice? Have you written your own narrative experience already or will you write later? I wonder if your experience or perspective on your own experience will change after working alongside the teachers in your study. I love the line "What makes me curious is my confusion."