Branching Out

3 mins reading and 15 mins listening

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This is me speaking to Danielle Teychenne in an early episode of the Our Gamified World web series we co-host together (shameless plug, but I promise it’s not the point of this post). This screen-captured image is as fortuitous as it is random, and perfectly connotes an ambiguity in my expression: Am I excited by what Danielle is saying, or terrified…? Or perhaps both? What scary new idea or piece of information has she come out with in this moment? I’m no longer sure – and perhaps I’m too afraid to go check! šŸ˜‰

I usually prefer to use the more ‘gamified’ phrase leveling up when it comes to student learning and staff professional development. But ‘branching out’ works best for this blog, which will in part explore the subject of branching narrative. Further, any conversation I have with my very talented friend and colleague Danielle tends to ‘branch out’ beyond its initial borders, so my use of the metaphor here is going to work on multiple levels…

After speaking to Danielle in a Digital Learning context, I often feel like I’ve been unintentionally up-skilled in some way – whether it be in a new area or a new tool or a new approach. Deeply curious and hungry for level ups of her own, Danielle’s story exemplifies what it means to be a lifelong learner. After completing an undergraduate degree in film production, she dived into volunteer work, made full use of networking opportunities, hunted down further training in the digital space, and in almost no time at all was/is working full-time as an Interactive Media Developer at Deakin University.

Fittingly, in October of 2019, Danielle hosted an outstanding interactive workshop on branching narrative for academic and professional staff. Just several short years after finished her own time as a student at Deakin, Danielle was the one standing up the front of the room, with everyone else sitting down as her ‘students’. Branching narrative is one, ahem, branch of gamification that I’ll come back to at length in future, but the latest episode of the Digital Learning with @digitalzones podcast serves as the perfect teaser.

In Episode 5, Danielle outlines her own personal narrative trajectory before launching into her latest professional trajectory into narrative. As a testament to where her real focus lies though, the podcast ends with a reflection on why students and teachers alike need to continually branch out, spanning themes of vulnerability and lifelong learning that I’ve touched on previously.

Enjoy! šŸ™‚

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