The #WalkMyWorld Project
Overview of the WalkMyWorld projectFor ten weeks, participants visually represented an aspect of their lives using any preferred medium, such as images or videos, applying the #WalkMyWorld hashtag on Twitter as they explored their own and each other’s lifeworlds.1 #WalkMyWorld grew as an extension of a five-year project examining the intersection of social media and poetry.2 Participants in #WalkMyWorld documented their world by posting of pictures, videos, blog posts, comic strips, etc. on Twitter. This emergent community completed a series of “learning events” involving reading and responding to the poetry of Robert Hass (See Table 1) by sharing their personal histories through multimodal representations. The shift from individual to collaborative learning developed quickly as participants narrated lifeworlds.3
Table 1: For more information on the project, learning events, and materials shared please visit the following website: https://sites.google.com/site/walkmyworldproject/
Theory and PerspectivesThe #WalkMyWorld project started with a community focus on poetry and multimodal exploration; it then developed into a community of inquiry.4 Participants explored various lifeworlds5 by responding to and authoring multimodal poetry.6 In #WalkMyWorld, educators and students created a social space of engagement to explore civic uses of social media. This exploration served as an opportunity to consider the media literacies at play as the group participated as a community of writers.
In this project, the participants collectively engaged as researchers and multimodal composers through narrative inquiry as an analytic and philosophical framework to model civic engagement with digital words and worlds.This project also encouraged educators and students in elementary school through higher education to engage in social scholarship practices. Social scholarship utilizes the Internet and other communication technologies to evolve the ways in which scholarship is conducted.7 Like many other social scholarship projects #WalkMyWorld connected formal scholarship with informal Internet-based social practices while embodying specific values (e.g., openness, collaboration, transparency, access, sharing).8 #WalkMyWorld evolved into a space that allowed participants to explore the characteristics of online information and educational opportunities by allowing them to share and develop (a) writing lifeworlds, (b) communities of inquiry, (c) media literacies and (d) expanded perspectives of narrative writing.9 These skills have proven to be integral to the way teachers view themselves as professionals in online and hybrid educational spaces.10
Settings and ParticipantsThe #WalkMyWorld project took the form of a hybrid learning experience in which educators and students collaborated, discussed, and shared in online and offline spaces. Over 6,759 individual tweets, 2,102 original tweets (not retweeted), 5262 links, and 387 instances of threaded conversations were shared over the ten-week period.
DiscussionThe #WalkMyWorld project highlighted the evolution of social scholarship as participants engaged in meaning-making by utilizing the affordance of social media. Collectively, the shared singular experiences engaged all involved and encouraged co-production of a newly formed community. This work led to a reflective practice that examined both participant identities and spaces of learning.
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Pet, Sue Ringler, J. Gregory McVerry and W. Ian O’Byrne. 2013. "Multimodal Response and Writing as Poetry Experience." In Exploring Multimodal Composition and Digital Writing, ed. Richard E. Ferdig and Kristine E. Pytash, 201-225, accessed March 13, 2015. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-4345-1.ch013Selfe, Cynthia. 2007. Multimodal composition. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
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