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Photo-story maps for location-based story making with children: opportunities and challenges

Authors: Corey Martz*, University of Denver, Rebecca Powell, University of Denver, Bryan Wee, University of Colorado Denver
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Qualitative Methods, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: photo-story maps, sense of place, children, online environments
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Often one of the many goals of summer camps and other non-profit and school-based programs is to provide nature experiences for (sub)urban children, both within and beyond their everyday (sub)urban settings. Yet, how do we capture experiences like these that span places in different geographic locations with starkly contrasting settings? In this study, we aimed to understand a group of Denver children’s experience of a trip to nature beyond the city at summer camp through their sense of place. One way for children to voice how they sense or experience place is through location-based story making with photo-story maps. Photo-story maps are online interactive maps that tell stories about places through connected images, narratives, and locations. Here, we consider both the opportunities and challenges of photo-story maps in the context of this study and future studies. We found that photo-story maps facilitate a process of story making through which children can weave together unconventional stories about their sense of place with plots structured in space, rather than time. Moreover, the children’s stories that emerged from photo-story maps and follow-up interviews shed light on their varied “insider” experiences of the mostly urban special places in their lives and “outsider” experiences of nature at summer camp. Along with the opportunities, we also highlight challenges involved with photo-story maps, for example, when georeferenced information could be precise enough to potentially personally identify participants and when collecting, storing, and sharing photo-story maps in online environments with children in a research context.

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