Original Research Paper
Newman, L., Woodrow, C. & Arthur, L. (2016). Visible difference: Photostory as capacity building, research and evaluation method. NZ Research in ECE Journal, Special Issue: Equality and Diversity, 19, 90 - 105.
Visible difference: Photostory as capacity building, research and evaluation method
Linda Newman*, Christine Woodrow and Leonie Arthur**
*The University of Newcastle, **Western Sydney University
While visual documentation of learning in early childhood settings has become ubiquitous, the application of visual methodology to educational research has been relatively minor, suggesting a timeliness to investigating its application in early childhood education contexts. This paper discusses how a socioculturally informed visual methodology, and in particular photostory method, demonstrates the potential to support strengths-based participatory research and professional learning. In our study, photostory was used in conjunction with an environment rating scale to produce and document changes effected in the learning environment. We are interested in how photo story contributed to this success and discuss issues emerging from the complexity of such an endeavor in cross-national research. Findings show that the use of photostories to document processes of change facilitated the participating educators' reflective practice, contributed to enhanced communication with families and agencies, disrupted traditional power relations such as those between the academy and the field, and educators and families, and enabled the co-construction of knowledge. These findings support our contention that visual methodologies can be usefully incorporated as robust research methodology for complex capacity building projects.
Key words: Reflective practice; evaluation; professional learning; visual documentation; photostory.
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