YouTube & Digital Storytelling Educational Technology Tool Review #3

Description and Explanation of

YouTube is a user-friendly video sharing application that provides a platform for users to create their own video channel. In the past, only television networks had the ability to broadcast video content on a large scale. However, with the creation of YouTube, novice to expert video producers now have a platform to edit and share their video content with an international audience via the internet. In addition, mass access to mobile devices also allows viewers to access videos anytime and anywhere. This convenience is a new aspect of the digital age and should be maximized by educators and learners.

Optimizing YouTube in Educational Settings

YouTube has unique features that educators can optimize to share, organize and enhance videos. Each YouTube user has the option of creating a customized video channel with graphics and a theme that adhere to a specific industry in education. Therefore, educators and trainers can create a tailor-made channel page that appeals to the theme of videos and to engage viewers. In addition, YouTube has large digital storage capabilities that allow educators to share and organize an abundance of videos in one convenient location. Educators typically have a variety of courses with various learners. YouTube offers a solution for this by featuring the option to create more than one channel. Each channel can be devoted to particular themes, specific courses or specific students. Then, another layer of organization is offered by YouTube, which is the ability to create playlists on each channel. The playlists are similar to folders, since they allow you to separate and organize videos into various categories. These features are great to keep educators organized for access, sharing and grading purposes.

In addition, YouTube offers a Creator Studio, which provides educators and learners with additional features to optimize video creation. One component of the Creator Studio is YouTube’s built in analytics feature that can be extremely beneficial to educators. The analytics feature provides educators with access to robust data that can assist with instructional decisions. The data shows the number of views that a video has, the length of time that viewers watch videos, as well as the average length of time that videos are viewed. This data is particularly important to educators since it provides an overview of how learners are accessing instructional videos. For instance, in a flipped classroom setting, an educator may decide to use digital storytelling as an instructional tool. Therefore, they would need to ensure that all students are completely watching videos to be prepared for in class instruction. If students do not seem prepared, the analytics feature can help instructors to discover why, and reinforce the importance of it to students.

The Creator Studio also has a catalog of music that can be added to video to enhance digital storytelling. YouTube’s built in video editor offers the ability to merge various videos into one video. So, if an instructor creates different digital storytelling videos for a unit of study, the videos can be seamlessly merged together for instruction. Conversely, educators can remove portions of video that do not directly relate to objectives for student mastery to improve learning efficiency. In addition, the dashboard in the Creator Studio offers educators the ability to correspond with students via comments or messages. Therefore, if students have particular questions regarding instructional videos, educators can have a convenient way to provide scaffolding and guidance to students.

YouTube also offers a plethora of other features to maximize video sharing. One feature is the option to “unlist” videos for privacy purposes that may be required in some educational settings. Therefore, you can specifically share videos with viewers by providing them with an unlisted link, as opposed to random viewers finding and accessing videos via a search on the world wide web. However, some trainers may prefer the listed options as a way to market and provided online training for businesses, which will maximize views and offer limitless viewing opportunities for learners. YouTube also offers a “live” option, which is accompanied by a chat room. This is an optimal solution for world-wide collaboration of instructors and learners via video. In addition, dynamic videos that appeal to multimodal learners can be presented with graphics, text, photos and music. These features provide educators with pedagogical strategies to enhance learning acquisition of learners with a variety of learning modalities.

Digital storytelling is a dynamic and multimodal approach to traditional storytelling that has gained popularity among digital aged learners. It typically incorporates video, text, images, photos, music and a script. Digital storytelling initially began as a video that people could use to share personal narratives as opposed to writing or giving a speech. The narrative aspect of digital storytelling offered digital storytellers a platform to share their important experiences, which led to a more powerful voice and autonomy, since videos could potentially reach the masses. Over the years, digital stories have evolved and expanded to various domains of learning. As a result, instructors and learners can both use digital stories as instructional tools or as assignments for learners. YouTube offers a video sharing platform that can be leveraged by instructors and learners to share digital stories. Instructors in K-12 and higher educational settings can design videos in a digital storytelling format that can convey abstract STEM concepts, historical events, and language arts, among other options. In addition, instructors can assign learners digital storytelling projects to present knowledge in a collaborative format that adheres to the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Students can work in teams to present skills that they learned from a unit of study. Since, digital storytelling is in a video format, students can apply divergent thinking skills and convey concepts through writing a script, dance, art, a play, singing, music, visual photos and graphics. All of these components can engage a variety of learners. Thus, optimizing learning acquisition. Uploading these videos to YouTube, then offers another level of collaboration with other students or on a social media network. Instructors and viewers can provide feedback by “liking” a video or adding comments.

YouTube is a dynamic educational technology tool for corporate settings as well. Corporate trainers can use digital storytelling to create customer service training videos regarding the appropriate way to correspond with customers in the field. Adding problem and solution aspects to the digital story can further enhance mastery of objectives. In addition, computer based training in a digital storytelling format can be uploaded to YouTube. This remote video option is great tool for distance learners that need to access to pertinent trainings.

YouTube and Implementation of ISTE Standards

The ISTE Standards provide K-12 instructors and learners with a framework of skills that should be implemented to ensure that digital aged learners have optimized educational technological learning experiences. When digital storytelling is incorporated into YouTube, the majority of the ISTE Standards can be addressed in this one activity. The ISTE Standards promote writing, speaking, listening, research, digital communication, creativity, higher order critical thinking skills, innovation, safety with technology and collaboration. Incorporating digital storytelling with YouTube’s video sharing capabilities maximizes all of these standards and the application of instructors’ technological pedagogical content knowledge.

One pedagogical strategy that can be leveraged via YouTube is incorporating higher level questioning from Bloom’s Taxonomy to promote critical thinking among learners, which is a significant component of ISTE standards. One way to facilitate this is to use YouTube’s video text feature to embed critical thinking questions throughout a digital story. Another option is to add critical thinking questions in the comment section for students to collaborate and answer the questions there. Students can also add annotations to digital stories that they produce. An instructor can provide a rubric with particular components that must be added to a digital story and students can annotate their digital stories with headings that indicate categories from the rubric. The Creator Studio and various other features of YouTube can assist in creating dynamic digital stories.

YouTube Critique & Suggestions

YouTube is a dynamic educational technology tool that can be leveraged in a variety of educational settings to optimize learning. The video sharing ability provides novice to expert educators the opportunity to incorporate enriching technology integration that can appeal to K-12, higher education and corporate training settings. In addition, YouTube facilitates collaboration on a broader scale for digital learners that was unimaginable prior to the digital age. YouTube is also a fun and engaging tool for digital aged learners and instructors. This helps to increase novelty in instruction and appeal to variety of multimodal learners, especially with the facilitation of digital storytelling. Therefore, YouTube in combination with digital storytelling is a best pedagogical strategy that should be implemented as frequently as possible.

YouTube provides a variety of features to enhance video production. Since educators are moving towards using YouTube for instructional purposes, perhaps adding an option to provide class participation points to specific students for viewing digital stories in their entirety would be beneficial to educators and learners. This enhancement can help YouTube to appeal to more school districts. Overall, YouTube offers a variety of exceptional video sharing components that incorporates digital literacies and engagement of digital aged learners. Therefore, it should be prioritized as instructional tool that can lead to higher student achievement.

Reference: (2017) Manage Your Channel with Creator Studio., in

particular the ability to remix existing video content?


Digital Storytelling and YouTube as a Video Sharing Tool

Digital storytelling is a multimodal approach to traditional storytelling that emerged during the digital age. It began as a narrative tool to express personal discourse and stories. As it evolves, it is also gaining momentum with conveying non-fictional concepts to instruct learners in various domains. A digital story typically contains a video, story script, graphics, photos, music and/ or text. These components appeal to visual, auditory, musical and linguistic learners. In addition, digital storytelling can incorporate movement such as interpretive dance to convey ideas and creative art, which are great pedagogical techniques to engage kinesthetic and tactile learners. Digital storytelling is in alignment with the majority of ISTE standards for learners and educators and provides a technological instructional approach that is multifaceted and multidisciplinary.

Digital storytelling is designed to be presented in a video format. YouTube is a dynamic video sharing application that will allow you to organize, share and facilitate collaboration of digital storytelling videos for students in K-12, higher education and adult learning settings. YouTube’s various features help educators that are interested in enhancing the creation, application and collaboration of digital stories to have an intuitive interface to conveniently implement digital storytelling. YouTube is a free service that can easily be accessed by signing in with a Google account, which will lead you to your home page to begin uploading digital storytelling content. You also have the option of creating a YouTube page by creating your own account outside of Google.

When you access your YouTube page, you will have the option of adding graphics to your homepage that can appeal to a digital storytelling theme. As an educator, you can also use YouTube as a convenient storehouse to organize digital stories that you or you students create on one channel or on various channels. Educators that have multiple courses or trainings can create different channels to organize digital stories for each course. In addition, the channels also provide a playlist feature that allows further categorization of digital stories based on class themes. In addition, YouTube has an option to list or unlist your digital stories. Unlisted videos make the videos available for your personal use or for learners’ who you provide access to.

If you work in a school setting with multiple classes or have international access to other students that would like to share digital stories, the YouTube “live” option allows you to invite other classrooms to view YouTube digital stories in real time. This option is a great way to encourage discourse on the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy with students in different settings via live chat postings. In addition, learners can benefit from having the option to make comments to other learners and the instructor to gain clarification on learning goals. YouTube also features an option to embed music, text, graphics or photos into the video to highlight digital storytelling components.  YouTube is an optimal educational technology video sharing tool that allows educators to conveniently facilitate digital storytelling that will engage digital age learners. Educational Technology Tool Review

Description and Explanation of is an innovative website that offers novice to expert users the ability to create professionally animated videos in a user friendly and intuitive interface. GoAnimate features a user workspace to create animated videos. The workspace includes theme based templates that can apply to various domains of learning, business and marketing, entertainment or for creative personal animation. The templates include a series of slides that are conveniently organized in a sequential format to produce a video. Users have the options of adjusting, deleting or replacing slides to create a tailor made animated production. Other features to enhance GoAnimate videos are a variety of characters with distinct animations that can be used to convey specific movements that correlate to video concepts. In addition, the backgrounds of the video can be adjusted, text can be incorporated, a variety of graphics are included and can be uploaded, music options are available, and it provides access to professional voiceovers. Users can preview videos easily and make adjustments as needed to create a polished finished product. Furthermore, GoAnimate is cloud based to conveniently save animated video creation consistently. Then, the video can be seamlessly uploaded to YouTube, a website or a variety of social media platforms to share. GoAnimate also provides a variety of user-friendly tutorial videos to assist with optimizing its features. can be used in a variety of sectors. However, this review will focus on the field of educational technology and how GoAnimate can be used to create digital stories for digital aged learners. Digital storytelling is a multimodal approach to traditional storytelling. It incorporates various dynamic components of a story in the form of a video that typically includes a script, graphics, music, pictures and incorporates storytelling that can be fictional or nonfictional in a variety of educational domains. Digital storytelling can be created by an instructor to convey concepts to students, or for students to express knowledge in classroom settings.

GoAnimate can be used for digital storytelling in K-12 settings, higher education and for the training and development of adult learners. Educators can apply divergent thinking and technological pedagogical content knowledge to determine how their specific learning goals can be applied to GoAnimate. K-12 and higher education learners have a variety of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills that are abstract and may be difficult for learners to grasp. However, GoAnimate digital storytelling can provide an instructional alternative to traditional textbooks, lectures or typical videos. Best instructional practices advocate activating background knowledge, incorporating real world scenarios, scaffolding instruction from concrete to abstract concepts, humor, technology integration, differentiation and adherence to various learning styles. GoAnimate is an ideal platform to incorporate all of these practices, which will result in learner success.

A nonfictional skill that can be explored in a K-12 setting is the evolution of airplanes. Educators can create a GoAnimate video that incorporates all of the aforementioned best instructional strategies. Background knowledge can be activated by having a character display an image of an airplane and asking students what they already know about airplanes. Real world scenarios can be incorporated by exploring the historical continuum of how the first airplanes were invented, where they were used, and include more abstract ideas such as propulsion system concepts. Animations exhibiting the evolution of airplanes in a timeline format can appeal to visual learners. In addition, the video can demonstrate an airplane’s propulsion system through virtual reality, with an engineer explaining the parts and how they interact to cause air travel. As a character guides learners through the evolution of an airplane, the digital storytelling script can incorporate music or humorous or engaging lines to capture learners’ attention. Then, students can work in groups to find other interesting facts about airplanes and incorporate these facts into their own digital stories for critical thinking and collaboration. These features will engage visual, auditory and musical learners, while optimizing a variety of best instructional practices.

STEM education has a huge initiative to teach students computer coding. Computer coding involves a complex sequence of symbols to allow software and computers to work appropriately. A GoAnimate video is an option to convey abstract coding concepts to students as well. Instructors can explain coding in a storytelling format using GoAnimate, as opposed to just explicitly displaying and explaining symbols represented in coding. Characters can build background knowledge about coding and trigger correlations of coding to mathematical number sentences. Algebraic equations with an equal sign is similar to some coding that uses an equal sign as well. Characters can demonstrate this in a comparison and contrast activity that can assist students with the analysis of coding. In addition, using the graphics features and text can highlight important or repetitive sequences in coding that are important for the foundation of coding. In addition, characters can share how coding is used in everyday software applications, which ties in real world applications.

Another activity that is popular at the beginning of the schoolyear is a getting to know me activity, in which students introduce themselves and share interesting facets of their lives. Instructors can facilitate divergent thinking by allowing students to determine the best way to convey information about themselves creatively within the GoAnimate workspace. Learners can use critical thinking skills to determine if the premade templates are sufficient for sharing their autobiographies, or deciding to develop templates from scratch by exploring the various characters, animated movements, music and graphics to create something innovative and new. In addition, students can use their creativity to create an animation that successfully exhibits their unique styles. GoAnimate can be used to create getting to know me animations that incorporate students’ favorite music, images of their friends and family, video of them engaging in their hobbies or on summer vacation, goals for the school year and sharing a writing talent such as writing poetry.

These are a few examples of how GoAnimate can be used in the field of educational technology. Educators can use this platform to get creative to find ways to make GoAnimate adhere to their curriculum and benefit their students.

GoAnimate and Implementation of ISTE Standards

The ISTE standards have a variety of themes to maximize technology integration into instructional settings. These themes include creativity, divergent and critical thinking, innovation, technological research, exploring digital literacies, speaking, writing, listening, collaboration, digital safety and understanding of how to operate educational technology tools effectively. These themes encompass all six ISTE standards for students and are all components of digital storytelling. Therefore, educators who are seeking an all-encompassing educational technology tool that adheres to the majority of the ISTE standards will be pleased to use GoAnimate to create digital stories for these purposes.

GoAnimate Critique & Suggestions

GoAnimate provides advanced animation tools to ensure that novice and expert users can have success in their video creations. The premade templates, animated characters, themes and sequential slides assist users with quickly and intuitively creating digital stories that are engaging, creative, instructional and multimodal. GoAnimate can be utilized in K-12 settings, higher education and training and development. However, educators must be savvy with divergent thinking and the application of technological pedagogical knowledge to appropriately adapt the features of GoAnimate to meet specific learning objectives and apply the best pedagogical or androgogical strategies to meet the needs of their learners. Middle school learners and above can easily navigate through the creation of a GoAnimate video via tutorials and independently.

Elementary educators can use GoAnimate with their students. However, it would require scaffolding. Therefore, elementary educators should implement direct instruction to explain each feature of the GoAnimate workspace and model creating an animated video based on the particular skill that students are assigned. Then, students can work collaboratively to create their own GoAnimate stories. GoAnimate can make the interface more user-friendly for K-5 learners by creating templates that appeal to elementary students, such as adding more funny cartoons that are geared towards children, templates that show stories at fun amusement parks or children playing. In addition, templates geared towards exploring science museums, or virtual reality templates that allow students to explore STEM concepts such as a chemistry lab would be awesome additions to GoAnimate. Also, historical templates that feature the sights and sounds of important monumental events in history can be helpful for students to create expository digital stories.

Adult training and development templates designed to explain compliance regulations, introductory videos for companies’ missions and visions, how to use work tools, and real world work scenarios resolution are among templates that can encourage GoAnimate usage in instructional design and training digital storytelling. These enhancements can allow GoAnimate to be leveraged in a broader array of instructional settings.


Educational Virtual Environments

Mikrapoulous, T. A. & Natsis, A. (2010) Educational learning environments: A ten year review of empirical research. Computers & Education. pp. 769 – 780.

This article synthesizes over fifty research studies regarding virtual reality (VR) in education. In addition, Mikrapoulous and Natsis research over ten years of various VR studies to develop pertinent research and implications regarding the current success and potential of VR in the future. This study primarily discusses the success of math and science domains in the field of VR. Educational Virtual Environments (EVE) provide an innovative environment for students to be immersed in a VE that they would not typically have access to in a traditional brick and mortar setting. The primary pedagogical strategies that are consistent across most of the studies are constructivism, real world scenarios, collaboration and access to a variety of virtual realities. Avatars are popular among video game enthusiasts. This study focuses on allowing instructors and learners to be avatars in Educational Virtual Environments (EVE), and examines the learning acquisition that occurs in VEs.

This study is significant to the field of educational technology since it provides a variety of scholarly research regarding how learners currently optimize VEs, and the potential for even higher levels of implementation in the future. This research is especially pertinent to the fields of math and science since they require scaffolding, abstract cognitive skills and spatial knowledge. According to Mikropoulos and Natsis, (2010) “In Crosier et al. (2000), pupils learn about radioactivity by making experiments in a virtual laboratory, which resembles a real one.” (p. 775) Radioactivity, physics, engineering, technology and abstract mathematical concepts can be more clearly conveyed in a VE compared to traditional brick and mortar settings. The haptic component of EVEs appeals to multimodal learners, which increases learning acquisition for a larger variety of students. Therefore, future research of EVEs and Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) professional development for instructors can optimize and assist in enhancing the body of knowledge regarding educational technology.

My career as an educator spans elementary education, adult education and eLearning. This article shares that most of the research regarding EVEs emphasizes application of math and science concepts. EVEs can definitely help students’ cognition of spatial and abstract thinking that are required in many math and science concepts. In addition, various domains of education can benefit from real world experiences and the higher levels of interactivity that are provided in EVEs. Future research can continue to enhance the TPCK of EVEs, which can lead to the facilitation of enhanced learning acquisition of learners.

Related Article:

Chao, J., Chiu, J. Crystal, J. E & Pan, E. (2016) Sensor-Augmented virtual labs: Using physical interactions with science simulations to promote understanding of gas behavior. Journal of Science Education and Technology. Vol. 25 No. 1 pp. 16-33




Learner Active Participation & Online Learning Success

Hrastinski, S. (2009) A theory of online learning as online participation. Computers & Education. pp. 78-82.

This article emphasizes the importance of online learners taking ownership for their success in online courses by exhibiting active participation. Active participation is a pertinent aspect of online learning because group discussions, inquiry based learning, problem solving and collaboration are significant components that are required to make online learning a success. These teaching strategies require active participation for high levels of cognition to occur. Online learning best practices include the implementation of interesting and engaging assignments and also require collaboration. Therefore, learners should prioritize cultivating supportive and successful relationships with peers and instructors to maximize active participation and the online learning experience. Hrastinski (2009) explains the importance of collaboration for learner achievement and cognition in the following quote:

“Based on three studies conducted over 5 years of 26 online courses at the     New Jersey Institute of Technology, it was concluded that learners who participated in collaborative or group learning were related with as high or higher learning outcomes as those in traditional settings. However, when “simply receiving posted material and sending back individual work, the results are poorer than in traditional classrooms.” (Hiltz, Coppola, Rotter, Turrof & Benbunan-Fich, 2000 p. 120) (Hrastinski, 2009, p. 79)

This reveals the pertinence of collaboration as opposed to an individualistic approach for ensuring that achievement outcomes are equal to or higher than traditional brick and mortar classrooms. The online learning experience involves a complex learning ecosystem that leverages synthesis and critical thinking skills that will thrive when learners demonstrate high levels of active participation. When learners are passive and cavalier regarding online learning, then their potential for success is limited.

Hrastinki’s (2009) theory of online participation provides pertinent data that is needed to advance educational technology research and online learning. This research emphasizes the importance of leaners’ active participation and how critical it is to ensuring that high levels of cognition, learning achievement and success occur. This information is important for learners who are considering online learning as an option for them, so that they can be prepared for the kinds of high level participation that will be required of them. In addition, Hrastinski’s Theory can assist learners with determining if online learning fits their needs and styles of learning to make the best decision regarding online and traditional learning options.

As an online learner and online learning developer, I recognize the importance of active participation in maximizing online learning. Therefore, I enjoy active participation as a learner, since it enhances higher cognition and learning acquisition. As an online learning designer, I implement engaging learning and content that includes prior knowledge activation, real world scenarios and critical thinking that results in learner active participation. Active participation is paramount to online success and must be prioritized by learners to optimize learning.

Related Article:

Carr, R., Hagel, P. & Palmer, S. (2015) Active learning: The importance of developing a comprehensive measure. Active Learning in Higher Education. pp. 173 – 186.