Templeton, T. (2020). White Australia Policy [Sway].
The Immigration Restriction Act of 1901 was one of the first pieces of legislation created by the newly formed Australian Federal Government and is the main focus of this digital narrative (DN). Commonly referred to as the White Australia Policy (WAP), the Act was designed to maintain racial homogeneity and the economic value of the Australian man (Fong, 2018). Whilst the Act is addressed in Year 10 History and Senior Modern History, the cognitive and curriculum focus of this DST is aimed at the 9/10 History Unit of work – Australia – From Federation to the Bicentennial (ACARA, 2014a; ACARA; 2014b). The utilisation of a multimodal DN in a flipped classroom (FC) dynamic was a strategic ploy to encourage student ownership of learning, approach sensitive content suitably, promote collegial discussion, and allow the teacher to meet the needs of a diverse classroom (Gonzales, 2016; Schmidt and Ralph, 2016, p.1).
Digital storytelling (DST) is an emerging pedagogical practice that effectively combines technology and literary work for use in recreational, personal or educational endeavours (Ciccorico, 2012; Ohler, 2013, p.94). It is the modern adaptation of oral traditions, and the use of the narrative structure promotes reflective processes whilst communicating content in a manner that meets the cognitive, behavioural and developmental needs of students (Vidales-Bolanos and Sadaba-Chalezquer, 2017). DST promotes Information Communication Technology (ICT) acuity, competency in digital literacies and a participatory culture, as it encourages students to move beyond passive consumption and into interacting and creating with it (Leu et al., 2011; Hashim and Vongkulluksn, 2018).
A DN created with Microsoft Sway allows students to interact with the different literacies and interactive elements, furthering valuable 21st century skills and improving the quality of transactions between the narrative and the reader (Ciccorico, 2012; Moran et al., 2020). The format allows for the successful integration of visual and audio resources, and the use of personal devices increases teen engagement because technology is intrinsically linked to a teen’s social capital (Moran et al., 2020, p.6; Vidales-Bolanos and Sadaba-Chalezquer, 2017).
Flipped classrooms (FC) are a transformative student centred teaching strategy with two distinct components, an external technology-based component followed by an interactive section (Ozdamli and Asiksoy, 2016, p.99; Schmidt and Ralph, 2016, p1.). This inverted learning sequence allows students to gain access to the content prior to the lesson, which then allows for the teacher to facilitate discussion and meet the varying needs of the students (Basal, 2015; Schmidt and Ralph, 2016, p.1). Implementing FC also allows student learning and engagement to be observed, documented and any misconceptions clarified (Leask, 2014). As Schmidt & Ralph (2006, p.1) point out, guided discussion is essential for all students but especially for low literacy and ability students. FC are constructivist in nature, self-paced, promote student ownership of learning and build critical study skills which are essential for lifelong learning (Basal, 2015).
Digital technologies and multimodal resources (MR) are an integral aspect of DN and other modern classroom pedagogies (Ibrahim, 2020). MR can be static, such as picture books and graphic novels, or dynamic such as Sway, Powerpoint, Thinglink, digital textbooks, and interactive websites (Ibrahim, 2020). This DN utilises Sway and Thinglink because the software programs embed together well, and their combined interactivity promotes engagement as well as encourage gestural manipulation to access information (Ibrahim, 2012; Heick, 2017).
The resources themselves do not espouse learning. Instead it is the juxtaposition of media which conveys information at the correct level and the subsequent class discussion that has the greatest impact on student learning (Mayer and Morena, 2005; Ibrahim, 2012). When multimodal information complement and enhance each other, the brain is able to decode, deduce, categorise and construct this new information efficiently upon prior knowledge and thereby reducing the cognitive load (Mayer and Morena, 2005; Ibrahim 2012; David, 2020). But when the varying forms of media have less than optimum layout and delivery, the brain becomes overloaded and processing time increases leading to an increased cognitive load leading to lower comprehension and failure to make meaning (David, 2020). Therefore, it is important that DN created for use in a classroom setting utilise the multimedia principles to ensure cognitive load is maintained for optimum intellectual performance (Ibrahim, 2012; Heick, 2017).
School Context – Students:
Daramalan College is a culturally diverse co-educational high school with many students’ descendants of the post war immigration schemes (ABS, 2016). Therefore, discretion and finesse are required when addressing outdated perceptions of race and ethnic diversity. The utilisation of a DST in a FC allows the student to process the information privately and then engage in discussion to develop further understanding.
School Context – Technology:
Sway was selected due to its inclusion in the school’s subscription to Microsoft Office and that it can be successfully catalogued into the library management system. This meets the requirements dictated by the school’s Collection Management and Development Policy. Other benefits include its intuitiveness, ease of use and ability to integrate multimodal resources.
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ACARA. (2014b). Modern History Unit 4 – HASS. Senior Secondary Curriculum. Educational Services Australia. Retrieved from https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/senior-secondary-curriculum/humanities-and-social-sciences/modern-history/
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