Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rethinking Storytelling with Storied Navigation

The MIT Media Lab has published an interesting research project called "Storied Navigation". The project is based on an idea developed by Edward Yu-Te Shen. His thesis has been published under the title and subtitle Storied Navigation : Toward Media Collection-Based Storytelling.

Storied Navigation is said to be novel approach and a tool to construct narratives based on a collection of annotated media sequences like videos and audios. The system is coupled with so called commonsense reasoning technology which helps the user extend his narrative by suggesting related and indexed sequences that could be webbed into the plot.

When reading Yu-Te Shen's thesis I encountered quite a few ideas which reminded me of Ricki Goldam-Segall's work. Goldman-Segall inspired me a lot during the MIRA-Project, when I developed Multimedia Clipboard. I must say that I am a bit surprised, that neither Ricki Goldman-Segall, video ethnography, constructivism or constructionism are mentioned in the references of the thesis, nor the database system Constellations that has been designed by the Media Lab "to enable a community of researchers to catalog, describe, and meaningfully organize data they have collected and stored in digital format or data that is available on the World Wide Web." I'm also surprised because the reader of Yu-Te Shen's thesis is Glorianna Davenport with whom Goldam-Segall collaborated during her Media Lab years where researched under the guidance of Seymour Papert. But maybe it's just because of the fact that the MIT has developed so many technological projects that they stopped referencing them in every thesis.

Anyway, Storied Navigation is an interesting approach and it seems to be a powerful piece of software for educational use. I can easily imagine that it could serve to create digital learning records or conduct ethnographic inquiries to enter into discourse with others - teachers, students, parents - about learning in multiple situations and contexts. Such a tool can also help making sense of and help discover patterns in fragmented or apparently disconnected experiences by tagging and packaging multimedia sequences, descriptions and interpretations.

Of course we shouldn't underestimate that, whatever tool we use for such purposes, recording, collecting and indexing raw data is very time consuming. We also need to acknowledge the fact that meaning is something we don't discover but something that we construct and the possibility that open tools reveal the thinking of the observer as much as the thinking of the observed. Furthermore, depending on the tools we use to produce meaning and to communicate our points of view, they will be different and, valued and understood differently by others.

Website of Storied Navigation

Project abstract with link to Master Thesis
Edward Yu-Te Shen's blog
Edward Yu-Te Shen's blog in English

Some Reading Milestones

  • Towards reflexive method in archaeology : the example at Çatalhöyük (edited by Ian Hodder) 2000

  • The Book of Learning and Forgetting (Frank Smith) 1998

  • Points of Viewing Children's Thinking: A Digital Ethnographer's Journey (Ricki Goldman-Segall) 1997

  • Verstehen lehren (Martin Wagenschein) 1997

  • Computer im Schreibatelier (Gérard Gretsch) 1992

  • The Boy Who Would Be a Helicopter. Uses of Storytelling in the Classroom (Vivian Gussin Paley) 1991

  • La cause des adolescents (Françoise Dolto) 1988

  • Scuola di Barbiana. Die Schülerschule. Brief an eine Lehrerin. (Edition of 1980) / read in German 1982
    Letter to Teacher by the Schoolboys of Barbiana (1970)
    Lettre à une maîtresse de'école, par les enfants de Barbiana (1968)
    Lettera à una professoressa (Original Edition) 1967

  • Vers une pédagogie institutionnelle (Aïda Vasquez, Fernand Oury) 1967

Documentary Films on Education

  • Eine Schule, die gelingt (by Reinhard Kahl) 2008

  • Les temps des enfants (Jacques Duez) 2007

  • Klassenleben (by Bernd Friedmann und Hubertus Siegert) 2006

  • Lernen - Die Entdeckung des Selbstverständlichen
    (Ein Vortrag von Manfred Spitzer) 2006

  • Die Entdeckung der frühen Jahre
    Die Initiative "McKinsey bildet" zur frühkindlichen Bildung (by Reinhard Kahl) 2006

  • Treibhäuser der Zukunft - Wie in Deutschland Schulen gelingen (by Reinhard Kahl) 2004

  • Treibhäuser der Zukunft / Incubators of the future / Les serres de l'avenir; International Edition (by Reinhard Kahl) 2004

  • Journal de classe, 1ères audaces (1), Les échappés (2), Sexe, amour et vidéo (3), L'enfant nomade (4), Remue-méninges (5) (by Wilbur Leguebe, Jacques Duez, Agnès Lejeune) 2004

  • Spitze - Schulen am Wendekreis der Pädagogik (by Reinhard Kahl) 2003

  • Journal de classe, (by Wilbur Leguebe and Agnès Lejeune; Jacques Duez) 2002

  • Etre et Avoir (by Nicolas Philibert) 2002

  • The Stolen Eye (by Jane Elliott) 2002

  • The Angry Eye (by Jane Elliott) 2001

  • A l'école de la providence (by Gérard Preszow) 2000

  • Blue-Eyed (by Jane Elliott) 1996

  • A Class Divided (by Jane Elliott) 1984

  • Eye of The Storm (with Jane Elliott) 1970

Past quotes of the day

For every problem, there is one solution which is simple, neat and wrong. Henry Louis Mencken

Traveler, there is no path. Paths are made by walking.
Antonio Machado

The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Immanuel Kant

The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. Albert Einstein

To paraphrase a famous quotation, all that is necessary for the triumph of damaging educational policies is that good educators keep silent. Alfie Kohn

We used to have lots of questions to which there were no answers. Now, with the computer, there are lots of answers to which we haven't thought up the questions. Peter Ustinov

I had a terrible education. I attended a school for emotionally disturbed teachers. Woody Allen

A professor is someone who talks in someone else's sleep. W. H. Auden

When I was an inspector of schools I visited one classroom and looked at a boys book. He'd written, 'Yesterday, Yesterday, Yesterday, Sorrow, Sorrow, Sorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Love, Love, Love.' I said, 'That's a lovely poem.' He said, 'Those are my spelling corrections.' Gervase Phinn

Real thinking never starts until the learner fails. Roger Schank

If what is wanted is a reexamination of schooling in terms of purpose, structure and process, then testing programmes are the wrong vehicle (...) Caroline V. Gipps

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. Albert Einstein

Act always so as to increase the number of choices. Heinz von Foerster

Another way of avoiding teaching is by relying exclusively on a textbook, workbooks, and other commercially packaged learning materials. Teaching is reduced to administering a set curriculum without giving any thought to the substance of what the students area learning or to their particular needs. H. Kohl

The right to ignore anything that doesn't make sense is a crucial element of any child's learning - and the first right children are likely to lose when they get to the controlled learning environment of school. F. Smith

Learning is the human activity which least needs manipulation by others. Most learning is not the result of instruction. It is rather the result of unhampered participation in a meaningful activity. - Ivan Illich

Too often we give our children answers to remember rather than problems to solve. - Roger Lewin

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain