Breanne Pitt: “My challenge is to help students develop better media literacy skills”

Breanne Pitt: “My challenge is to help students develop better media literacy skills”

Breanne Pitt is a PhD candidate at Trinity College Dublin’s (TCD) School of Computer Science and Statistics researching narrative design for structuring multi-perspective content through mixed reality and other digital experiences. She is a DREAL funded scholar, which is The Science Foundation Ireland’s Centre for Research Training in Digitally-Enhanced Reality. She obtained her MSc at TCD in Interactive Digital Media, and her Bachelor of Science(B.Sc) from Boston University in Communication Studies. Breanne has 10+ years working experience in secondary education and broadcast media, and presently, she is a Research Fellow for the World Economic Forum’s Strategic Intelligence (SI) Platform.

How do you describe the main focus of your personal research interests?

I have experience in both education and media industries, which allows me to see first-hand how and why students struggle with understanding the vast array of stories disseminated through the internet, social media, and news outlets. Therefore, it is my goal to discover different ways to tackle this challenge and help students develop better media literacy skills. I feel it is one of the most pressing issues of our time, yet, teachers and educational institutions are not well equipped with methods or tools to teach the world’s most challenging topics. Hence, I am studying methodologies and looking to create digital tools to support both teachers and students in the pursuit of knowledge. 

How did you discover this COST Action and how it is helping your research?

My PhD supervisor, Mads Haahr, is an INDCOR MC Member representing Ireland, and therefore the process of getting involved with the COST action happened very naturally for me. My first participation in a COST Action event was the INDCOR Training School in Malta, and after meeting all the PhD and Post-Doctoral Researchers there, I was hooked! It was such a pleasure to be surrounded by like-minded, motivated individuals, and I have been an active INDCOR member ever since. 

What would you underline about the network of INDCOR?

One of the best parts about INDCOR is that it has provided me with incredible networking opportunities. The individuals I have met through the various training schools, work groups, and general meetings have become life-long friends, colleagues, and sounding boards for any question or ideas I have about my own research. A PhD can be a very lonely feat, and INDCOR has provided me with a community to connect with – a way to break through the isolation and engage in learning with other like-minded individuals.

How INDCOR has changed the way you see complex digital narratives?

The INDCOR community is made up of individuals with a wide spectrum of expertises. There are researchers specialising in everything from media studies, narratology, psychology, computer science, theatre and more. Having this diversity offers me a unique opportunity to look at interactive digital narratives through many different lenses. I come from an education and computer science background, and therefore being able to connect with researchers who specialise in areas like video game design and political science really enriches my understanding of complex digital narratives.

What is your main task at the World Economic Forum?

My Research Fellowship at the World Economic Forum involves investigating ways to integrate the Strategic Intelligence Platform’s systems thinking tools into innovative learning approaches for schools, universities, and various learning institutions. I am speaking with global thought leaders from academia and other knowledge communities to learn about the different approaches being used to imbed SI tools in learning, and incorporating these use cases into a White Paper titled From complexity to clarity: why systems thinking needs to be brought to the classroom. The idea is to have a white paper that provides educators and students with a guide for using systems thinking and the tools developed by the SI platform into their learning and teaching. I really believe in the power of a systems thinking approach to understanding our complex world, and believe that it needs to be introduced into curriculums across the globe.

During my Fellowship, I was presented with the opportunity to expand the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network to the INDCOR community. On March 1-3, the Forum hosted 30+ INDOCR members at their headquarters in Switzerland, and there we discussed the Metaverse, systems thinking, and how to integrate narrative into the Strategic Intelligence Platform. This collaboration has been the highlight of my work at the World Economic Forum thus far, and I am excited to continue to nurture the relationship. 

Breanne Pitt