Visual Storytelling Interacting in School : Learning Conditions in the Social Science Classroom

Abstract: The aim of this compilation thesis is to understand how technology for visual storytelling can be shaped and used in relation to social science education in primary school, but also how social dimensions, technical and other matters create emerging learning conditions in such an educational setting. The visual storytelling technology introduced and used in the study is ‘the Statistics eXplorer platform, a geovisual analytics. The choice of theoretical perspectives to inform and guide the study is a socio-cultural view of human action, but also actor network theory is used to take account also of activities of technology and other matters. The study builds on three empirical materials that generate data from 16 social science teachers, and 126 students from five social science classrooms, in three Swedish primary schools. It contains field notes from the introduction of the technology; focusgroup interviews with teachers; think-aloud interviews with students and two kinds of video recordings from the classrooms (with an ordinary video camera and with software that capture activities at the computer screen, students’ activities and the audio as well). The analysis shows that the visual storytelling technology is shaped in relevant ways for social science teachers. The analysis also illustrates that the visual educational material are usable for primary school students in their social science education. They illustrate further how teachers, students, technology, information, tasks, data types, etc. together and in in close relation create highly complex learning conditions. The technology can therefore be seen as appropriate for the educational practice, but the complexity together with students’ apprehension of how to announce knowledge distribute severe problem spaces in the learning activities. The technology can therefore be assumed as a catalyst for educational change, but to achieve its potentials, reflections on didactic design and knowledge formation is requested to support the quality of students’ knowledge in relation to visual analysis.