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Using digital storytelling to build a sense of national identity amongst Emirati students

Using digital storytelling to build a sense of national identity amongst Emirati students Purpose – Many believe that in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) the perception of a national identity, as a construct amongst Emiratis, is under threat at the moment. The purpose of this paper is to examine this concern and describe how one educational establishment in the UAE, the Sharjah Higher Colleges of Technology (SHCT), a context that presents unique language and cultural issues, used a digital storytelling competition to address this issue with Emirati students. Design/methodology/approach – A total of 150 students at SHCT used a variety of tools to create digital stories around the theme of “Proudly Emirati”, a topic aimed at building a sense of self. Stories covered topics ranging from family traditions to cultural icons. A case study investigated this initiative and addressed how the process of creating digital stories shaped the students' perspectives of self and national identity. We collected feedback on the digital storytelling initiative using focus group interviews and surveys with the students involved. Findings – Strong support is voiced for the competition and its impact on helping students express feelings of national pride and identity. Research limitations/implications – The survey addresses a limited number/range of issues and many more points and implications are raised in the focus group meetings that we would like to include in future research of digital storytelling. Practical implications – The paper highlights the practical implications and huge potential of digital storytelling for learning environments. Originality/value – This is an innovative approach to highlighting a contentious social issue with the students and community. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues Emerald Publishing

Using digital storytelling to build a sense of national identity amongst Emirati students

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2010 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1753-7983
DOI
10.1108/17537981011070118
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – Many believe that in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) the perception of a national identity, as a construct amongst Emiratis, is under threat at the moment. The purpose of this paper is to examine this concern and describe how one educational establishment in the UAE, the Sharjah Higher Colleges of Technology (SHCT), a context that presents unique language and cultural issues, used a digital storytelling competition to address this issue with Emirati students. Design/methodology/approach – A total of 150 students at SHCT used a variety of tools to create digital stories around the theme of “Proudly Emirati”, a topic aimed at building a sense of self. Stories covered topics ranging from family traditions to cultural icons. A case study investigated this initiative and addressed how the process of creating digital stories shaped the students' perspectives of self and national identity. We collected feedback on the digital storytelling initiative using focus group interviews and surveys with the students involved. Findings – Strong support is voiced for the competition and its impact on helping students express feelings of national pride and identity. Research limitations/implications – The survey addresses a limited number/range of issues and many more points and implications are raised in the focus group meetings that we would like to include in future research of digital storytelling. Practical implications – The paper highlights the practical implications and huge potential of digital storytelling for learning environments. Originality/value – This is an innovative approach to highlighting a contentious social issue with the students and community.

Journal

Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern IssuesEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 24, 2010

Keywords: Storytelling; Electronic media; Communication technologies; National culture; Students; United Arab Emirates

References