Our research supports an argument for storytelling as a tool and practice, which provides a new way to engage people in learning about local history. Data analysis gathered during iterations using the framework indicates that the practice of storytelling as part of the curation and sharing of map-based story tours allowed participants to develop an understanding of history as a perspective on the past as opposed to a set of facts to be learned. We suggest the increased sense of agency which students demonstrated in their choice of story theme and selection of their own media helped them to view history as a version of events told from someone’s point of view.
The intellectual toolkit which students work with as part of the DSSL framework contains conceptual tools for making sense of their place in the world, which is especially relevant to students who have developed master or schematic narratives from interactions with only dominant accounts of the past. The contextual historical knowledge and understanding, and the conceptual tools students utilize during their storyline research, curation and sharing challenge their preexisting schematic narratives. Over time, the DSSL framework may enable them to develop a more sophisticated understanding of history and their place in the historical present (Wills, 2011; O’Neill, Guloy & Sensoy, 2014).
The pre- and post-task ‘Day in the Life’ story telling activities can be used by educators as an assessment of learning within the DSSL framework. From analyzing the pre- and post-task stories which groups have produced, we have found that students’ learning appears to develop in a number of ways:
•Recall of historical facts and dates increases
•Spatial awareness of city streets, neighborhoods and regions increases
•Post-task stories are longer and more developed than pre-task stories
•Post-task stories include multiple perspectives indicating that students appreciate that a historical narrative is a perspective on the past from a particular point of view
•Students report finding the post-task easier than the pre-task as they have better historical contextual understanding and have increased agency when authoring historical fiction.
•Participants ask more questions about the past, including those which challenge the version of history they are reading and the perspective that has been represented in the archival material.
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