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What are the affordances of role in learning through transmedia forms of pedagogy?

Bryer, Theodora Jane; (2020) What are the affordances of role in learning through transmedia forms of pedagogy? Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This thesis is about the possibilities and effects of working in role, across different media, in a classroom context. I draw on evidence from a project that involved student teachers adapting the Old English text, Beowulf, through pedagogies and processes associated with teaching English, Drama and Media. In considering the affordances of role I take account of the differences in the possibilities for storytelling offered by a range of symbolic forms, including the written word; the audio-visual, time-based medium of drama and the recorded, still and moving image. This encompasses reflection on the potential offered by an over-lap in subject pedagogies. I identify the ways that assuming or creating a role encourages students to draw on a repertoire of multimodal resources. Interpreting these examples of acting or role-play as different forms of ‘fiction-making’ (Bolton 1998, 278) suggests that there is not necessarily as clear cut a distinction between actorly roles (the hero, monster or witness, for example) and those that are indicative of particular responsibilities for the crafting of the dramatic action (the director or editor, for example). From my research it is clear that all of these roles involve an intensified awareness of the meanings generated by the configuration of bodies, artefacts and space and heightened by the responsibility for the kinds of aesthetic choices that inform the acts of creation that students engage in. The framing that is a significant aspect of the kinds of role-play that form the body of my research evidence, provides a range of different perspectives, so that a degree of criticality emerges from the students’ readings of Beowulf, realised in different media. I recognise that writing in role places the students ‘in a quite specific relationship with the action’ (Heathcote 1980d/2015, 77) initiated by a teacher in role who positions the students in ways that are suggestive of their responsibilities for the characters that they summon up and address through forms of ‘drama on paper’ (Barrs 1987, 9). I identify the ways that framing the students as image makers, camera-operators and editors has the effect of shifting the focus of the work on Beowulf to questions of representation, as the immediacy and spontaneity of live drama is reflected back for students to appraise. In this way the visual resources of the screen seem to conflate the roles of spectator and actor, introducing a critical dimension that is allied with the creative impetus. Drawing on these resources generates a form of reanimation involving a brief resumption of the role-play that facilitates students’ transitions between different media. Engaging with a computer game made by one of the students appears to have a similar effect, opening up a reflexive space for commentary on the text through forms of ‘serious play’ (Vygotsky 2016, 20). There are many manifestations of role-play identified in this research evidence: from live action and gestural responses to writing and editing. This reflection on the pedagogies associated with the transmedia approach that we assumed in teaching Beowulf is suggestive of the possibilities for learning that come into play when students are offered the opportunity to take on or to create a role.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: What are the affordances of role in learning through transmedia forms of pedagogy?
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10113465
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