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What is a digital paper?

Video documentation has become an integral component of data collection in educational research. Video episodes are viewed, clipped, analyzed, transcribed and analyzed again. And yet when it comes to writing up findings, researchers are typically forced to describe the visual nature of their data; the reader does not have access to the data and is unable to see the video itself, resulting in a "flattening" out on the experience of what was a lively, dynamic, and engaging process. Digital video is now emerging as a powerful engagement and portrayal tool; one that is helping teachers to connect with and improve their understandings and interpretation of their practice (Carraher et al., 2000; Pea, 2003).

In 2004, Olivero et al. developed a format called videopapers. A videopaper is a marriage of the traditional paper written by researchers and academics (but not exclusively so) and videotaped classroom footage of teachers and students working in real classroom situations. Combining the video with the text creates a fluid document that is more explicit than the text or video alone.

Building on Olivero's videopaper work, in an attempt to bring video-based research to life, we have generated a conceptual and virtual framework called Digital Papers. Digital papers is a web-based tool, that allows researchers to show their findings alongside video clips, transcripts of the video clips, and conceptual models that frame their work. It is the conceptual model that drives the digital papers and distinguishes them. The diagrams are interactive and frame the ideas of the digital papers so that viewers control their experience through the diagram, navigating through a complex series of layered screens with ease. A second distinguishing feature is that our digital papers focus on one key concept (e.g., Engaging Students in Math Talk) or research story (e.g., Lesson Study as a PD Process).

Digital papers were developed by Dr. Catherine D. Bruce, an Associate Professor at Trent University's School of Education and Professional Learning, along with teacher-researchers Tara Flynn and Rich McPherson, also associated with Trent University and the Trent Math Education Research Collaborative (TMERC). The research team is collaborating with a development team at the Ontario Ministry of Education to increase capacity and production.