Exploring Rural Contexts with Digital Storytelling

Donna G. Wake


This article describes rural middle school students’ exploration of their identity and their rural contexts through the vehicle of digital storytelling. Participants included 40 7th and 40 9th grade students at two rural schools in the Southeast United States. Students worked in shared writing groups to create digital stories expressing their views on teen life in a small, rural town. The resultant stories were analyzed using comparative grounded theory yielding some themes which may be posited as unique to a rural population while other themes were typical of the developmental age regardless of geographical context. Study findings indicate that the rural nature of the participants’ communities had a significant impact on their identity formation and understanding of community. This study supports students’ use of technology to promote exploration of identity within geographic and sociological settings.


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