Digital Storytelling: An Effective Teaching Tool
*Suman D C
In this short essay, I am going to discuss how EFL instructors can apply “Digital storytelling” in classrooms to enhance students’ comprehensive skills. In other words, it shows how learning process can be optimized by integrating digital technology tools such as; photographs, sound tracks, computer, internet, and most importantly own voice. Moreover, this tool can become the shortest (2-10 minutes) means to digitalize our lessons that is equal to thousand words. On top of that, this idea is generated with the vision of engaging and making learning process effective for both teachers and learners. Here, I will also share basic ways to create our own version of digital story to make our lesson interesting.
What is Digital Storytelling?
Bernard R. Robin (2008) has defined digital storytelling (DS) as ‘…combining the art of telling stories with a variety of digital multimedia, such as images, audio and video.’ In other words, it is the skill of integrating various spices to prepare a story. Furthermore, Widodo (2016, p. 2) argues that digital storytelling helps children learn ‘integrated language skills, such as writing, speaking, listening, and reading’
Process of Creating Digital Story
The digital storytelling process is personal and engaging at the same time as it starts with the script of the story we would like to tell. Then, we search for readily available materials, such as, photographs and videos. After this, we integrate all those materials with our voice to create a video by using various programs and web 2.0 tools, such as, www.wevideo.com. At last, we share our videos on online video portals such as www.youtube.com for constructive feedback, which is required for encouraging each other.
Types of Digital Story
There are three types of digital stories. They are:
- Personal narrative
- Digital stories that examine historical events
- Stories that inform or instruct
Regarding the benefits of digital storytelling, Robin (2006) enumerates how it helps both teachers and students to enhance their literacies and research skills as below:
- Digital Literacy: the ability to communicate with an ever-expanding community to discuss issues, gather information, and seek help.
- Global Literacy: the capacity to read, interpret, respond, and contextualize messages from a global perspective.
- Technology Literacy: the ability to use computers and other technology to improve learning, productivity, and performance.
- Visual Literacy: the ability to understand, produce and communicate through visual images.
- Information Literacy: the ability to find, evaluate, and synthesize information.
On the other hand, it also develops our research skills such as writing skills, organization skills, technology skills, presentation skills, interview skills, interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills and assessment skills (Robin, 2006).
The use of digital storytelling tool in EFL classrooms is not without a challenge. First and foremost challenge is about having access to technology. Secondly, the basic proficiency to use and integrate them properly may become a hurdle in some cases. Sometimes, bad storytelling leads to bad digital storytelling. Moreover, we need to be aware about plagiarism which has become an ailment in academia nowadays. However, instructors or students must have certain training or guidelines through a number of sessions to cope with the aforementioned challenges.
Digital storytelling is one of the emerging trends in the field of education. It has been a fertile area to conduct research and contribute to its field. And, I substantially feel as an EFL teacher that it is one of the most engaging and integrating effective tool for our classrooms.
Robin, Bernard R. (2008) Digital Storytelling: A Powerful Technology Tool for 21st Century
Classroom. Theory Into Practice. Routledge.
Robin, Bernard R. (2006). The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling. 2006. University of
University of Houston’s College of Education Website. http://digitalstorytelling.coe.uh.edu/
Widodo, H.P. (2016). Engaging young learners of English in a genre-based digital storytelling
project. Cambridge University Press Teacher Research Program, 2,1-22.
(*Mr. Suman D.C. has been working as an English Language Instructor in school and college levels for a decade now. His areas of interest include teachers’ professional development and teacher training. Also, he often contributes to national dailies– The Kathmandu Post and The Republica on teaching and learning issues. He was the recipient of E-Teacher Scholarships from the Department of State, RELO, US Embassy. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)