Volume 10 · Number 3 · Pages 388–396
Learning about Urban Sustainability with Digital Stories: Promoting Collaborative Creativity from a Constructionist Perspective

Maria Daskolia, Chronis Kynigos & Katerina Makri

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Abstract

Context: Sustainability is among major societal goals in our days. Education is acknowledged as an essential strategy for attaining sustainability by activating the creative potential within young people to understand sustainability, bring forth changes in their everyday life, and collectively envision a more sustainable future. Problem: However, teaching and learning about sustainability and sustainability-related issues is not an easy task due to the inherent complexity, ambiguity, and context-specificity of the concept. We are in need of innovative pedagogical approaches and tools that will allow us to design learning activities in which learners will be empowered to develop new, alternative interpretations of sustainability in personally and collectively meaningful ways. Method: We argue that a constructionist perspective involving the use of expressive media for digital storytelling offers an appropriate frame for designing learning activities fostering collaborative creativity in thinking and learning about urban sustainability. Our study is based on the design of a learning activity following this rationale. We adopted a qualitative approach in the collection and analysis of different sources of data with the aim to explore collaborative creativity as a learning process based on the students’ collective processes and resulting in the co-construction of new ideas and insights about sustainability, and new tangible artefacts (the digital stories) encompassing them. Results: Our analysis of the collaborative creativity exemplified in the three digital stories produced identified important creative elements with regards to the three components of a digital story (script, technical characteristics, and ideas of urban sustainability) and how they were embodied in each digital story produced as a result of the students’ joint constructionist activity. Implications: Our study provides some preliminary evidence that collaborative creativity from a constructionist perspective can stand as an appropriate framework for designing learning activities addressing the difficult concept of sustainability. There are several implications for both theory and educational practice in environmental education and education for sustainable development, constructionism, and digital storytelling in education. Moreover, our study opens up new fields for research and theory in creativity.

Key words: Sustainability, urban sustainability, collaborative creativity, constructionism, digital storytelling, learning design.

Citation

Daskolia M., Kynigos C. & Makri K. (2015) Learning about urban sustainability with digital stories: Promoting collaborative creativity from a constructionist perspective. Constructivist Foundations 10(3): 388–396. http://constructivist.info/10/3/388

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