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Case study 1: Landscape - University of Gloucestershire

Page history last edited by Martin Jenkins 14 years, 7 months ago


Case Study 1: Landscape Design, University of Gloucestershire

(taken from Gravestock, P. & Jenkins, M. (2009) Digital storytelling and its pedagogical impact, in Mayes, T. (ed.) Transforming Higher Education through Technology-enhanced Learning.)


As part of the Landscape Design programme, first year students are required to develop designs for a small-scale landscape development.  Reflections on the learning and design process had not been traditionally made explicit through the course.  Digital storytelling was introduced to encourage the students to reflect, in words and images, on both the learning and design processes.  So as well as reflecting on how their designs evolved over time the students were also asked to reflect on themselves as designers: how they generate their ideas, how they have developed the specific designs in question, what this says about them as novice landscape designers.  Digital storytelling provided a creative and visual way to link these two elements of reflection.  Students were able to draw upon their portfolio of work, importing digital photographs of 3D models and directly importing 2D drawings, which could then be overlaid with their commentary on the design’s evolution inter-linked with reflections on their own personal development.



In this particular application the personal development ‘story’ is important as this articulates the tacit learning.  This articulation is part of the process of professional learning, developing the students’ own awareness of themselves as landscape designers and how they meet design challenges.  So while images are obviously important to this technique, and especially so to design-based students, the driver for the development of the digital story is the ‘narrative’.



The stories were created as individual reflections.  Landscape students are used to working in a studio culture where open discussion and sharing is part of the assessment process, where staff and students critique work.  In the first use of this technique the digital stories were viewed only by staff.  It was recognised that this did not reflect the studio culture and subsequent uses have played the stories to the whole cohort.  The digital story fixes individual student’s reflections at a particular time, yet using them as the basis for discussion and critique means they provide a basis for further development.  Used in this way digital storytelling has been found to reinforce the culture of the design studio.

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