Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Digital Storytelling in the Classroom

What is Digital Storytelling?

Digital storytelling has recently emerged as an effective teaching and learning tool that engages both teachers and their students (Robin, 2008). A Digital Story is a multimedia piece that delivers a message or story that incorporates still images complemented by a narrated sound track (Condy et al., 2012). What many people do not know is that digital storytelling is not a new concept since it was first created in the late 1980’s (Robin, 2008). Yet, the way in which they are created has changed drastically alongside technology. Today, there are numerous programs that can create digital storybooks such as movie maker, powerpoint and photostory (Howell, 2012).
Why is it important to include Digital Storytelling in the Classroom?

Digital Storytelling allows digitally fluent students to become creative storytellers through a traditional process (Robin, 2008).

1.      Select a topic
2.      Conduct Research
3.      Write a script
4.      Develop an interesting story
5.      Combine with various types of multimedia
    • Pictures
    • Recorded Audio
    • Text
    • Video Clips
    • Music
6.       Share with peers
(Robin, 2008)

According to Robin (2008), through the process of creating a digital storybook both the necessary 21st century skills and old literacy skills will be reinforced. There are a number of literacy skills that encompass digital storytelling ranging from researching, writing, organizing, presenting and problem solving. The 21st century skills promoted include cultural literacy, information literacy, visual literacy, media literacy and more (Robin, 2008).
“Students live in a technological world where ICTs are integral to everyday situations” (Essential Learnings, 2007). Therefore, there is an expectation that teachers allow students to both express their knowledge and understanding through a relevant portal and also learn how to create a deep and meaningful understanding of the storybooks produced by peers.

Is Digital Storytelling to advanced for early years students?

Digital storytelling fits nicely into the early years pedagogy, supporting fundamental learning activities such as creativity, play and experimentation. Even in the Early Years, students are quickly developing their digital fluency. This means that most Early Years Students will have already attained the basic skills and experiences required to create something such as a Digital Storybook (Howell, 2012). Please find below an example of a short information report in the form of a digital storybook that looks at the explorer James Cook.

According to Howell (2012), the types of skills that would be required include:
  • How to Operate the program you are using to create the your storybook (For example : Step by Step instructions to use Photostory)
  • How to load images, add sound files, re-order images, add title and credit slides, add text/ voice narration.
  • How to export your storybook into a format that can be used (a common movie format)
  • How to transfer your storybook onto a USB device
Teachers may be required to support this activity through thorough scaffolding and modeling of the task. It would also be beneficial for the students to work in pairs or small groups, as they will be able to support each other in peer-mediated learning. This type of interaction would allow for an engaging learning experience for both teachers and students.

Reference List

Condy, J., Chigona, A., Gachago, D., & Ivala, E. (2012). Pre-Service Students' Perceptions and Experiences of Digital Storytelling in Diverse Classrooms. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology , 278-281.
Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT: Digital Pedagogies for Collaboration and Creativity. Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.
Queensland Studies Authority. (2007). Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) Cross-curriculum priority by the end of Year 3. Retrieved April 25, 2013, from
Robin, B. R. (2008). Digital Storytelling: A Powerful Technology Tool for the 21st Century Classroom . In B. R. Robin, Theory into Practice (pp. 220-228). Houston: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group.

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