Using Place as Provocation: In Situ Collaborative Narrative Construction
This paper describes a unique model for mobile, collaborative learning embodied in the use of a new software tool called PlaceMark©. The model is overtly intended to help learners reflect on their relationship to particular places, and the relationship between their own experience and other people’s experiences of those spaces. PlaceMark does this not by telling people what a place is, but by instead asking them, as they reflect and write about their own experiences of place. This paper describes how PlaceMark facilitates distributed control in coordinated classroom activities. We believe that the stance to knowledge embodied in the system encourages student responsibility within the learning process and helps teach about multiplicity of perspective in a visceral way. Additionally, as cell phones and other technologies become part of ordinary life, it is increasingly important that children (and all of us) come to have a deeper consciousness of place. This work reports on a pilot study of the software conducted with middle school students, and provides an analysis of the study activity.