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Maximizing Photo Narratives in Short-Term Study Abroad

How do we leverage those photos and visual narratives to more deeply reflect on students' intercultural development? Photo Narratives provide an assessment tool by which study abroad can embrace digital media while enhancing intercultural learning.

A Nguyen

on 8 November 2017

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Transcript of Maximizing Photo Narratives in Short-Term Study Abroad

When I see this photograph
I supply to this image a memory of
the smell of woodsmoke, the ruckus of turkeys and baaing lambs, voices carrying
up the mountain slope from neighbours’ courtyards, truck horns, and scratchy cantina music. The feel of dawn frost under my bare foot. You, who have likely never been there, can supply none of this. What meanings and associations extrinsic to this image do you supply?

(Devereaux, 1995b, p. 57) 
Documentation & Photoethnography
Although students have visual and technical competence, they often make the mistake of taking photographs as a way of remembering the story behind the image instead of visually capturing the story
(Kelly, 2009, p. 107)
Alternate Documentation in Study Abroad:
Deardorff, 2011; Jackson, 2008; Kelly, 2009; Olson, Green, & Hill, 2006; Williams, 2009

Image-Based Research:
Devereaux, 1995; Kratz, 2002; Nickel, 2009; Prosser, 1998
Visual Narratives
Maximizing Photo Narratives
in Short-Term Study Abroad

Annie Nguyen, Coordinator of Study Abroad and Global Education
Martha Strickland, Associate Professor of Education
Tracy Williams, Associate Director of Center for International Studies
Table Discussion
Using the photos at your table, categorize them based purely on visual composition.
Table Discussion
Using both the photos and the narratives on the back, re-categorize and discuss how those narratives affect your perception of the photos
Implications for Practice

Focused Reflection
Assessment & Re-Entry
Marketing & Social Media
Key Takeaways

Interdisciplinary Photo Narration
Intercultural Growth and Photo Narratives
Campus Internationalization and Photo Contests
8 Short-Term Study Abroad Programs (2-5 weeks) within Texas
8 In-depth Photo Directed Interviews
10 photos from each student chosen based on encapsulating their study abroad experience
Analysis conducted on theme, compositional focus, visual cues and narrative development
Reflective prompts are needed prior to photos
Visual content does not equal narrative context
Photo Narratives offer a tool for use in individual programs, in education abroad offices, and across campus
Why use Photo Narratives?

Students love to share their photos
Collect a cache of photos that tell stories you want
Create opportunity for reflection

Photo Contest Approach

Intriguing and appealing
Meet our learning outcomes
Invite a variety of photos
Short but meaningful

Our Process:

Submission Process
One submission per category
Must include written narrative
Release to use photos
Review Process
Photo quality
Photo and narrative together
People’s choice award

Photo Contest and the Reflective Model of Intercultural Competence

- Guided Reflection leads to learning development
- Students need incentives to do guided reflection

Allow students to be:
creative and reflective
Learning Outcomes:

+ Knowledge of Host Culture
+ Curiosity
+ Intercultural Skills

+ Self-Awareness
+ Understanding of Others
+ Understanding of World
Higher Education mandate
Study Abroad Engagement (Norris & Gillespie, 2009)
Globalized workforce (Stoner, et al., 2014)
Global mindset (Lilley, Barker, & Harris, 2014; Reysen et al., 2013)

To explore students’ developing global mindset connecting their academic discipline with their international experience using photo narrations.
Theoretical Framework
Cultural Models (Shore, 1996) – “Storylines” (Gee, 2006)
Global Mindset (Lilley, Barker, & Harris, 2014)
Visual Research
Not just record objects but “engage in symbolic communicative activity” (Rose, 2014).
Gazes (Urry & Larsen, 2011)
- Tripper Gaze
- Tourist Gaze
- Traveler Gaze
University Participants
Data Sources:
Daily Journal
Photo Log
Photo Narration Journal

Weekly Classes (6 classes)
Language Exercises
Expert Interactions
Team /Collaborative Exercise
Country Context Knowledge
Photo Exercises

Inductive Qualitative Analysis
Visual Research Method

Data Collection:
Photo Narrations
Student created powerpoint
6 weeks after the international experience
1-1 Narration with instructor
Digital Recordings
Powerpoint Photo Journal

Relational Journey: Storylines of comparison
“It’s basically the home-owners association of the region”
“It’s their Times Square”
“It reminded me of…”

Reflexive Journey: Storylines of Questioning Assumptions
“I mean you have the airport and then the mountains. I thought that was interesting”
"That was an eye-opener for me”
“This was surprising to me”

Criticality Journey: Storylines of Admitting Faulty Assumptions
"I always thought that I wanted to be the best student. going to the forest made me realize that everything that I thought was my strength and my weakness, are all my weaknesses…cause I think we’re…we lived in such a boxed world at this point..."
Social Imagination Journey: Storylines of Seeing Possibilities
“Thinking about the environment”
“Preserving the green”
“Making the world seem smaller and bigger.”

Biologist Lens
Political Science Lens
Tourist Gaze
Novel scenes
Novel foods
Novel people

Tourist to Traveler Gaze
Traveler Gaze
Objects >> Value
Novel scenes >> Informed by discipline
Novel people >> Contributors of the planet
Full transcript