Title

The “Grand Tour” as Spatial Narrative: Story Maps in the Liberal Arts Study Abroad Curriculum

Streaming Media

Submission Type

20-minute Presentation

Abstract

This presentation discusses the use of ESRI Story Maps as a digital storytelling tool as part of a winter 2017 study abroad course to Germany and Italy. Story Maps enable users to create “spatial narratives,” combining interactive maps, text, images, video, and other digital media into a rich package. The course in question recreates the “Grand Tour” experience of the 17th-19th centuries, where young European aristocrats and the educated bourgeoisie would travel throughout Europe, typically to Italy, visiting centers of cultural, intellectual, and historical importance as a kind of rite of passage and capstone experience to their education. Prior iterations of the course required students to submit more traditional accounts of their journey, such as a journal and “travel letters.” Using Story Maps as a course deliverable accomplishes two primary objectives. First, it affords a more holistic method of assessing student learning and outcomes. Second, it provides a vector for building digital skills, such as digital photo, video, and audio manipulation, integration of online media such as YouTube, and basic web application development. Resulting Story Maps can easily be shared for inclusion in, e.g., e-portfolios or class presentations. Beyond this specific use case, Story Maps offer opportunities to enhance spatial thinking - a critical skill that remains largely absent from curricula at many liberal arts institutions - among students in courses that traditionally have not embraced GIS and digital mapping to a large extent, including History, Humanities, and World Languages, providing new pedagogical opportunities and avenues for collaboration both within and outside of class. Despite these potentially promising outcomes, however, Story Maps are not without challenges and limitations. For example, this is not a free service, requiring a license agreement with ESRI. In addition, user and asset management through ESRI’s portal is fairly cumbersome, leading to potential challenges for long-term support and archiving. We will discuss these issues while considering perspectives from faculty, students, and support staff on the merits of Story Maps and ways in which this iteration of the course differs from prior years as a result.

Session

Presentation

Location

Thomas 224

Start Date

5-17-2017 2:40 PM

End Date

5-17-2017 4:00 PM

Grand-Tour-Story-Maps.pptx (1459 kB)
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May 17th, 2:40 PM May 17th, 4:00 PM

The “Grand Tour” as Spatial Narrative: Story Maps in the Liberal Arts Study Abroad Curriculum

Thomas 224

This presentation discusses the use of ESRI Story Maps as a digital storytelling tool as part of a winter 2017 study abroad course to Germany and Italy. Story Maps enable users to create “spatial narratives,” combining interactive maps, text, images, video, and other digital media into a rich package. The course in question recreates the “Grand Tour” experience of the 17th-19th centuries, where young European aristocrats and the educated bourgeoisie would travel throughout Europe, typically to Italy, visiting centers of cultural, intellectual, and historical importance as a kind of rite of passage and capstone experience to their education. Prior iterations of the course required students to submit more traditional accounts of their journey, such as a journal and “travel letters.” Using Story Maps as a course deliverable accomplishes two primary objectives. First, it affords a more holistic method of assessing student learning and outcomes. Second, it provides a vector for building digital skills, such as digital photo, video, and audio manipulation, integration of online media such as YouTube, and basic web application development. Resulting Story Maps can easily be shared for inclusion in, e.g., e-portfolios or class presentations. Beyond this specific use case, Story Maps offer opportunities to enhance spatial thinking - a critical skill that remains largely absent from curricula at many liberal arts institutions - among students in courses that traditionally have not embraced GIS and digital mapping to a large extent, including History, Humanities, and World Languages, providing new pedagogical opportunities and avenues for collaboration both within and outside of class. Despite these potentially promising outcomes, however, Story Maps are not without challenges and limitations. For example, this is not a free service, requiring a license agreement with ESRI. In addition, user and asset management through ESRI’s portal is fairly cumbersome, leading to potential challenges for long-term support and archiving. We will discuss these issues while considering perspectives from faculty, students, and support staff on the merits of Story Maps and ways in which this iteration of the course differs from prior years as a result.