#MLA23 Presentation Abstract: Digital Mapping Techniques as Student-Centered Storytelling Practice

Session 726

Panel Organized by Daniel Hengel

Digital Mapping Techniques as Student-Centered Storytelling Practice

Digital storytelling can often be an accessible and empowering way for students to connect course content with their lived experiences. This paper outlines a long-term digital project and two pedagogical strategies for centering student experience both in and outside of the classroom. In the spring of 2019 and spring of 2022, students in my English and New Media classes at Molloy College contributed to a digital mapping project by creating video, images, and written stories of their time abroad in Rome, Italy. Each course was grounded in a “deep mapping” project, or a multimodal approach to combining autobiography, history, and literature, as students learned to tell their stories via various media (images, writing, videos) visualized on a digital map. The project completed in 2019, for example, asked students to “map absence,” historically, politically, and narratively. Students mapped the absence of women and refugees in both dominant historical narratives and contemporary Roman politics. Students also reflected on their own knowledge gaps, detailing how their experience aboard expanded their understanding of civic engagement. The techniques and pedagogy for this project are transferable to any location and a variety of disciplines. I will outline how digital maps are made, how students manage the storytelling process, and how to establish the project in a custom setting.

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