This page lists the current research topics of the members of the Narrative Didacitcs research group.
Click on individual headings for more information.
Digital storytelling is a new method for learning and teaching in which storytelling is combined with digital technologies. A digital story is a short-form video in which someone narrates and shares a personal, cultural or other aspect of their life with others. This process encourages reflection processes about oneself and others as well as working with a specific topic on language, digital, intercultural and many other levels. The level of complexity concerning technology- and topic-related aspects can easily be adjusted according to the context in which a digital storytelling project takes place.
First experiments of combining multimedia elements with storytelling performances can be traced back to California during the 1980s. In 1994, the Digital Media Center was founded in San Francisco, which later became the Center for Digital Storytelling and, in 2015, simply StoryCenter. The center has played an instrumental role in developing and popularizing the practice of digital storytelling, which was initially limited to mostly therapeutic and expressive applications. Scholars and educators worldwide have since discovered and written about the numerous benefits of educational digital storytelling. However, digital storytelling has not yet reached the classrooms and university courses in German-speaking countries.
Schuch, Andreas (2020). “Digital Storytelling as a Teaching Tool for Educators in Primary, Secondary and Higher Education: A Systematic Overview of its Educational Benefits, a Sample Project Implementation and Lessons Learned”. AAA: Arbeiten aus Anglistik und Amerikanistik, 45.2.
Gardner, Abigail, Roberta Maierhofer & Hermine Penz (2019). “My Story – Digital Storytelling for Social Cohesion Across Europe”. In: Andreas Moutsios-Rentzos, Andreas Giannakoulopoulos & Michalis Meimaris (Eds.). Proceedings of the International Digital Storytelling Conference DST 2018. https://dst.ntlab.gr/2018/proceedings/. 235–243.
Pölzleitner, Elisabeth, Hermine Penz & Roberta Maierhofer. (2019). “Digital storytelling in the foreign language classroom”. In: Andreas Moutsios-Rentzos, Andreas Giannakoulopoulos & Michail Meimaris (Eds.). Proceedings of the International Digital Storytelling Conference DST 2018. https://dst.ntlab.gr/2018/proceedings/. 408–419.
In a due to globalization and migration increasingly diverse society, we see ourselves confronted with new and unknown challenges. In order to counteract the forming of parallel societies and promote a multicultural way of live, people need to learn how to approach and live with differences. The starting point for this learning process is the classroom, which is in many ways a microcosmos. Numerous societal issues can be witnessed when 25 children or teenagers come together every day in one room. The promising outcomes of digital storytelling in terms of cultural awareness, critical thinking and understanding have been discussed by scholars worldwide. In that, digital storytelling is used as a tool in classrooms to communicate differences, foster understanding and affection, and in that promote acceptance and appreciation for diversity.
Wallenstorfer, Dagmar (2021). “The Working Language is German!” – On Power and Loss of Power in Educational Settings. In: The Power of Language: Book of Proceedings 3rd International Conference. Shkoder: Fiorentia.
Wallenstorfer, Dagmar (2020). Cultural Barriers in the Classroom: How Education can Cut the First Sod for a Diverse Society. On: Unpacking Migration – Blog. Cultural Barriers in the Classroom: How Education Can Cut the First Sod for A Diverse Society – Unpacking Migration (unpacking-migration.eu). Donau-Universität Krems.
Wallenstorfer, Dagmar (2017). The Bildungsroman in American Young Adult Literature. Growing Up Female Over Time. Hamburg: Verlag Dr. Kovac.
Feminist Narrative Practices
The idea of feminist narratives goes back to the long standing feminist tradition of consciousness raising groups and the concept of “the personal is political”. The idea here is to use it as an educational tool to produce narratives and then investigate them through an intersectional feminist lens to ultimately deconstruct the gendered stereotypes and assumptions that resign in the narratives. Digital stories as well as literary narratives are an ideal tool to be used in educational settings to critically engage with narratives through an intersectional feminist lens.
Haring, Nicole (forthcoming 2021). “Creating Alternative Narratives: Deconstruction of Gender Roles, Assumptions, and Stereotypes in the Language Classroom” Journal of the Society of Philosophical Study of Education.
Haring, Nicole. (2020). “Blogging as a Tool of Feminist Resistance: Intersectionality on feministing.com”. Off Campus: Seggau School of Thought. Meditating and Mediating Change: State – Society – Religion. 83-92.
Schuch, Andreas (2017). “Digital Games as a Means of Raising Awareness About Ageism and Gender Discrimination: Three Principles for Teachers and Game Developers”. In M. Romero, K. Sawchuk, J. Blat, S. Sayago & H. Ouellet (Eds.), Game-Based Learning Across the Lifespan: Cross-Generational and Age-Oriented Topics. Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-41797-4_9. 131–150.
The method of the “Intergenerational Feminist Mic” was developed by May Chazan from Trent University, Canada during an intergenerational workshop with women activists in Montreal through the ACT Research Project (https://www.agingactivisms.org/) . Using digital storytelling as a tool to produce knowledge transfer across generation and deconstructing the common perception of older people as wisdom donors was the aim of the project. The developed feminist methodology is a valuable tool for education as well since it stimulates a critical discourse of certain topics across generations.
This project promotes reading literature for students through a newly developed approach termed the Literature-Enactment-Process (LEP), where students can gain access to and comprehend narratives and associated inquiry topics through a range of phases, with performative methods as a pivotal point. As a pedagogical tool, these enactment strategies are embedded in a larger procedure that combines individual and collaborative comprehension processes. Since enactments, reflections and follow-up tasks (writing in and out of role, new media creations) are fused, literature and the experiences with it become visualized, substantiated and shared.
At the University of Graz, the LEP was tested with current and future teachers as well as language arts students, proved itself in practice and was positively evaluated as an interdisciplinary teaching method in the language arts classroom.
Poeckl, Christina (2021). “The Literature-Enactment-Process: Exploring narratives through performative conventions”. Scenario: A Journal for Performative Teaching, Learning, Research, XV (1). https://doi.org/10.33178/scenario.15.1.4. 76-92.
Pöckl, Christina (2018). “Enacting Literary Worlds: The Use of Drama Methods for a Narrative of Nature”. Master’s thesis. University of Graz.
Multicultural Narratives in Education
The school is a diverse place – children, adolescents and adults with different social, societal and cultural backgrounds and beliefs come together. As a result, education plays a key role in the successful negotiation of different identities. Literary narratives can be used as a vehicle for teaching cultural awareness and tolerance in the classroom; pupils will engage with other cultures and thus perceive it as a valuable contribution to their own identity formation. The aim of the critical analysis of literary narratives is to support appreciation and understanding among pupils. Furthermore, it enables them to reflect critically on their own as well as foreign cultures. In addition, literary narratives not only enable pupils to revisit history, they also provide them with the opportunity to engage with certain concepts prevalent in the narratives that transcend time and are still present in society.