‘If this was real … ’

researching student meaning making in a digital rolling role drama

Christine Hatton*, Jennifer Nicholls

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article explores the interplay of the ‘live’ experience of drama learning in the classroom and curated digital content on learner meaning making, collaborative creation and subjectivities. It examines a case study conducted in an inner-city secondary school in Sydney, Australia, as part of a larger innovative international collaborative drama exercise entitled ‘The Water Reckoning Project’ (http://www.water-reckoning.net) which focussed on sustainability education. Data collected and analysed included ethnographic observations, video documentation and digital curation of students’ creative work, focus groups, and pre- and post-surveys. Findings of this study reveal the importance of the aesthetically charged, embodied experience of drama as the key driver of learning when integrating drama with digital technologies. This unique project enabled students to critically and creatively engage with significant real and fictional contexts, as well as issues of local and global relevance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-395
Number of pages19
JournalEthnography and Education
Issue number3
Early online date21 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2018


  • drama
  • process drama
  • Dorothy Heathcote
  • rolling role
  • digital technologies
  • sustainability education

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