YouTube & Digital Storytelling Educational Technology Tool Review #3

Description and Explanation of YouTube.com

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:

Support.google.com (2017) Manage Your Channel with Creator Studio.

https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/6060318?hl=en), in

particular the ability to remix existing video content?

 

Digital Storytelling & Research Interest

Kordaki, J. & Psomos, P. (2012) Pedagogical analysis of educational digital storytelling environments in the last five years. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences. Vol. 26 pp. 1213 – 1218.

This article explores Educational Digital Storytelling Environments (EDSE) and the multiple benefits that they offer for educators and learners. Digital storytelling is a progressive form of storytelling that has evolved from ancient storytelling practices. Digital storytelling offers a form of engaging storytelling that adheres to the interests of 21st century learners in the digital age. This article suggests that much of the research regarding digital storytelling has focused on its technical aspect. However, this research focuses on the pedagogical aspects and best practices that can maximize digital storytelling instruction and production. According to Psomos and Kordaki (2012):

Barrett (2006) found that digital storytelling facilitates the convergence of four student-centered learning strategies: student engagement, reflection for deep learning, project-based learning, and the effective integration of technology into instruction. Building on modern social and constructivist views of learning (Piaget, 1952; Bruner, 1960; Vygotsky, 1978; Jonassen, 1999). DS is a great channel to apply these theories in practice. Moreover, according to Di Blas (2009, 2010):  (a) DS in an educational process that helps students work in groups and strengthen the bonds between children in class, and at the same time between students and their teacher, (b)  As far as digital literacy is concerned, students acquire several technological skills through storytelling, (c) Another social benefit is that creating digital stories helps the integration of disabled students or students with learning difficulties through taking with this opportunity an active role, and (d) Last but not least, a major educational benefit gained with DS, is the ability to narrate.  (p. 1213)

This article also discusses various evaluation models and criteria for the best pedagogical strategies of digital storytelling. Psomos and Kordaki synthesized this information, and also developed a new evaluation tool for digital storytelling entitled, the “DS Pedagogical Evaluation Star.” Psomos and Kordaki (2012) explain the components of this digital storytelling evaluation model as follows:

In fact, sixteen dimensions are proposed for the evaluation of the pedagogical soundness of EDSE, namely: collaborative learning, creativity and innovation, multiple representations, motivation, cultural sensitivity, gender equality, cognitive effort, feedback, learner control, flexibility, learner activity, valuation of previous knowledge, sharply-focused goal orientation, experiential value, knowledge organization and metacognition (fig. 1). The typical 4-grade Likert scale for measuring each dimension is used (low, medium, high, very high). (p. 1214).

The article goes on to provide an extensive list of digital storytelling software such as Storytelling Alice and Shadowstory, that have had success in education by engaging students, promoting technology integration and/ or collaboration. They also evaluated the software based on the “DS Pedagogical Evaluation Star” to determine their pedagogical strengths and areas for improvement.

This research is definitely needed to enhance the reliability of the body of educational research regarding digital storytelling. Focusing on the pedagogical strategies and evaluation tools in digital storytelling can assist educators with selecting the best digital storytelling software to implement with learners. In addition, the criteria of the “DS Pedagogical Evaluation Star” can guide educators with pedagogical strategies when creating their own digital storytelling activities.

As an educator, writer and educational technology doctoral student, this article offered me interesting insight regarding the needs for pedagogical strategies to enhance the field of digital storytelling research. This article as well as other digital storytelling research has sparked my research interests in the field of educational technology. As a result, I will continue to review literature regarding this topic and conduct research regarding digital storytelling.

Related Articles:

Campbell, T. (2012) Digital storytelling in an elementary classroom. International Conference on Education & Educational Psychology. Vol. 69 No. 24 pp. 385 – 393.

Conrad, S. (2013) Documenting local history: A case study in digital storytelling. Library Review. Vol. 62 No. 9. pp. 459 – 471.

Frazel, M. (2010) Digital Storytelling Guide for Educators. ISTE Publishing.

Richmond, J. (2015) Digital Storytelling. The Wired Library. Vol. 54 No. 5

Digital Storytelling Research Interests & Questions

 

Video Games as Forms of Viable Digital Literacies

Steinkuehler, C. (2010) Video games and digital literacies. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. International Reading Association. Vol. 54 No. 1 pp. 61 – 63.

This article explores the perceptions and misconceptions of video games in the field of education. Many parents and educators prefer traditional pedagogical strategies for literacy instruction via the use of conventional print texts because video games may decrease literacy. However, a growing body of research suggests that video games are a viable instructional tool to assist with literacy and a significant component of students’ learning ecologies. Video games provide high levels of interactive narrative and questions in a digital literacy setting, which should be considered as effective options for literacy. Furthermore, online video gaming communities provide multimodal options of creating and receiving various enriching communication, which adheres to learners’ interests. Since teenage boys are some of the most avid gamers, Steinkuehler (2010) conducted research regarding them and discusses it as follows: “The goal of our program was not to build curriculum around games per se but to create a quasi-natural lab space in which we could study this disconnect between the in-school versus in-game literacies of teen age boys (and generate ideas for bridging them).” (p. 62) One particular eighth grade male student exhibited success in online writing regarding gaming. However, he only read on a fifth grade level based on standardized measures and did not like his teacher’s literacy instruction. However, when he was given the choice to select a reading passage, he chose a twelfth grade passage and successfully read at that level. This study revealed that choice and interest had a positive impact on literacy acquisition and reading level performance.

This article is significant to the body of educational research because it reveals the disconnect that many teenage boys who enjoy video gaming literacy feel to traditional literary instruction. The student in this research felt that the instruction was geared towards girls’ interests and minimized his interests. Educators must teach standard literacy curriculum and direct instruction regarding reading comprehension, writing, grammar and mechanics to ensure that students can perform at or above their grade levels. However, it is also important to add choice, student interests and multimodal instruction that appeals to a variety of learners. Therefore, the findings of this research can help to facilitate strategies that can reach a broader group of students.

As an educator, I believe that video games can be an effective instructional strategy. However, it should also compliment direct instruction of curriculum standards. Therefore, students should receive instruction infused with best practices, and also incorporates video gaming that correlate to standards, is age appropriate and engages students into literacy instruction. Education must continue to find ways to effectively maintain traditional instruction while incorporating students’ growing interests in video games to reach a broader range of learners.