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Bridging Learning in Urban Extended Spaces (BLUES) 2.0

This Cyberlearning and Future Technologies EXP proposal describes a set of collaborative design studies and innovative tool development activities to create and refine learning networks and mobile applications that bridge between curated collections (in museums and libraries) and public urban spaces using mobile digital technologies. This exploratory project will continue collaborations started and supported by an EAGER award among learning sciences researchers, exhibit designers and curators in library and museum organizations with extensive cultural heritage collections, and community organizations serving the regional area of Nashville, TN (aka the "Music City"). The innovation we are developing is a set of tools and practices that allow youth and other city residents (or visiting tourists) to create and share digital spatial story lines (DSSLs). DSSLs use personal narrative to map archival media, currently housed in the collections of our library and museum partners, onto city neighborhoods at a walking or biking scale. DSSLs are narrative index and media delivery structures that make vibrant aspects of past and present cultural heritage (e.g., American Roots Music and Civil Rights activism) available at a personal, embodied scale. Making and sharing DSSLs holds great promise for engaging youth and other city residents with learning about public history that is both grounded in and augments experiences with city neighborhoods. This project aims to further develop and expand our concept of digital spatial story telling as a form of learning by making places (or in some cases restoring the history of forgotten places). We have demonstrated that these tools and activities are usable and engaging for high school-aged youth and their teachers, and we will further develop archival material, tools, and approaches to learning and teaching public history with museum, library, and public school partners. We propose three interwoven strands of work over two years: (1) Further develop archival material as digital sandboxes for story telling at a regional scale in the Music City, (2) Identify and develop concepts in data curation, digital mapping, and spatial analysis for explicit use in making and sharing DSSLs, and (3) Design and study experimental teaching focused on making DSSLs to learn about public history, data curation, and digital mapping and analysis. What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity? Technologies for mapping, practices of data curation and management, and new forms of spatial analysis and modeling using open source data are undergoing a profound advance at this historical juncture. The tools, archival materials and forms, and approaches to a pedagogy of learning by making places —as exemplified and supported in our approach to making and sharing DSSLs as a way to contribute to public history and explore cultural life in the city—can meet this historical moment in ways that are powerful for learning with and about new technology. By iteratively studying how our partners, youth, and other city residents use and learn with these tools and resources, we intend to make new contributions to theories of learning through processes in which people make places for future activity (e.g., creating tours of historic places, gathering and geocoding data on the ground to influence future economic or property development in city neighborhoods). What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity? Continued research and development of DSSLs as a way of learning about public history and new digital literacies for data curation, mapping and spatial analysis can have a broad impact on how (or whether) learning sciences research informs the learning and teaching of public history. This is particularly important for pedagogy that invites civic engagement and fosters what we think of as “deep democracy.” This research will also have an impact by developing new approaches to learning and teaching new digital literacies that involve data curation and modeling with large-scale, open data sets. This is important not only for the academic fields drawn together in this work, but also for organizations that engage and serve diverse communities in city neighborhoods. The tools, forms of data curation and mapping, and the teaching activities that we are developing are intended to further these engagements in ways that are general in purpose, and we will seek out opportunities to invite others to use and join in the development of these resources with us.

Grantor: NSF

Expected completion date: 08/31/2018

Project or Grant: Grant
Date Span: September 01, 2016 to August 31, 2018
Principal Investigators: Rogers Hall
Academic Department: Teaching and Learning



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