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 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.

GoAnimate.com Educational Technology Tool Review

Description and Explanation of GoAnimate.com

GoAnimate.com 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.

Goanimiate.com 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.

 

Goanimate.com Animated Video Creation and Digital Storytelling

Goanimate.com is a cloud based website that assist users with easily creating sophisticated and professional animated videos. Goanimate can be used in a variety of industries to create videos with multifaceted concepts. Business, marketing, education, training and blogging are some of the industries that can greatly benefit from Goanimate. Goanimate provides a variety of easy to understand tutorials to maximize its video features. These features include premade templates for videos, characters with various animations, a variety of themes, graphics, background settings, music and voice over capabilities. In addition, Goanimate provides a seamless process of publishing the animated video and uploading it to a variety of social media platforms including YouTube.

Goanimate is a great tool that can be adapted to meet the needs of educators in K-12, higher education and adult training and development settings. The wide variety of templates, themes and characters allow educators and learners to leverage creativity in animated videos. Educators will find that technological pedagogical content knowledge will assist in easily designing a learning experience that fits their students learning goals with Goanimate. Digital storytelling is an instructional strategy that can be facilitated with Goanimate and applied across various domains of education. Educators in K-12 settings can adapt Goanimate to meet the needs of their students by scaffolding instruction based on students’ self-efficacy. The tutorials also provide an additional level of support to ensure that students can use Goanimate effectively.

K-12 learners can apply a variety of ISTE technology standards and incorporate Common Core standards by using Goanimate for digital storytelling. An example is creating an expository story regarding the evolution of rockets and rocket ships. Higher education STEM courses can use Goanimate to create digital stories regarding how to code using HTML. Adult training and development can use digital storytelling to develop a video regarding a company’s mission, values and goals. Goanimate can be used in a variety of domains and instructional settings to create dynamic video presentations that will meet the needs of educators and learners.

Wideo.co Video Creation Website Review

Wideo.co is a website designed to assist video creators with creating more elaborate videos than can be created via traditional video cameras. It offers multimedia options including various background templates, graphics, photos, voiceovers, characters and animation. In addition, the photo editing component of the website improves efficiency and creativity of the video. All of the video creation and editing are done in a Wideo workspace that is user friendly, with easy to understand icons available to intuitively progress through a video creation. Wideo.co also offers brief, easy to understand tutorial videos to get started using the application quickly and effectively.

Digital storytelling in K-12 settings, higher education and adult learning can be created using this educational technology tool. Middle school students through adult learners can typically easily navigate through the creation of a digital story via Wideo.co. after watching tutorials. However, students in K-5 settings will require more scaffolding and could benefit from creating a teacher led collaborative digital story for the class to get acclimated to using its features. Then, scaffolding can be implemented to differentiate the independent or group use of Wideo.co based on students’ comfort levels. Wideo.co is a great option to enhance technology integration into a variety of instructional settings.

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

 

Digital Storytelling Success in College Humanities Course

Benmayor, R. (2008) Digital storytelling as a signature pedagogy for the new humanities. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education. Vol. 7. No. 2 (pp. 108 – 204)

Rina Benmayor explores and researches the significant contribution of digital storytelling in the humanities and how it is an extremely beneficial pedagogical strategy for students. This study specifically explores how digital storytelling can greatly enhance college students’ abilities to think creatively and apply critical thinking skills in autobiographical digital storytelling. According to Benmayor, “As an assets-based social pedagogy, digital storytelling constructs a safe and empowering space for cross-cultural collaboration and learning.” (p. 188). Benmayor observed that digital storytelling created a voice for students who would not typically share deep and meaningful autobiographical discourse in a traditional classroom setting. However, digital storytelling is an engaging tool that allows students to dig deep and resulted in transformative writings and understandings of other students’ history, cultures and plights. Digital storytelling encouraged students to analyze other stories, which facilitated the knowledge of cross-cutting themes across various students’ lives. This resulted in higher level cognition, self-reflection and connections among the instructor and students. Benmayor summarizes the digital storytelling steps as follows, “Making a digital story involves the skills of conceptualizing, writing, performing, selecting, imaging, integrating, and signifying.” (p. 195.) She also encouraged students to incorporate music and make the digital stories aesthetically pleasing to increase motivation and engagement. Benmayor highlights digital storytelling as a best practice in pedagogy that can definitely have a great impact on humanities’ instruction.

Benmayor’s students have created over 200 digital stories, which were used as data for this research. Therefore, Benmayor was able to determine the instructional validity of digital storytelling across various types of students in different settings. She discovered consistency in the creative and analytical processes that were incorporated into digital storytelling, as well as the meaningful discourse that it created. Benmayor realized the potential for digital storytelling approximately twelve years before she conducted this research. Therefore, her enthusiasm for elaborating on this pedagogy led her to have an excellent instructional tool that promotes transformative and enlightening experiences for her students. This can lead to success in other domains of learning as well.

Digital storytelling is an excellent instructional strategy in the humanities. I also reflected on how it can be used to promote success of elementary students in the area of math problem solving. Math problem solving requires high level thinking and possibly abstract thinking for students to complete the process. Digital storytelling can be incorporated to increase student engagement, technology incorporation and cognition of mathematical concepts.

The Success of Project Based Learning with Digital Storytelling

Huang, I., Hung, C. & Hwang, G. (2012) A project-based digital storytelling approach for improving students’ learning motivation, problem-solving competence and learning achievement. Educational Technology & Society. (pp. 368 – 379.)

This article examines the effectiveness of project based learning and digital storytelling in a science course for elementary school students. It was designed to determine if there would be an increase in students’ motivation, problem solving and achievement by incorporating digital storytelling into project based learning. Project based learning is encouraged in educational settings. However, project based learning has limitations regarding organization, student engagement, efficient time management and its practicality in large classroom settings. This research conducted by C. Hung, G. Hwang and I. Huang sought to enhance the practicality and students’ interests of project based learning by incorporating digital storytelling into a science lesson regarding energy efficiency. Two software applications were used in this study. Meta-Analyzer was used, which is designed to help students understand the instructional task, collect data and to conduct internet research. Microsoft Photo Story was used to incorporate photos and editing into the project. According to Hung, Hwang and Huang, “In this study, digital storytelling has been employed to develop the learning tasks as a project-based learning activity, including taking pictures with digital cameras, developing the story based on the pictures taken, producing a film based on the pictures by adding subtitles and a background, and presenting the story.” (p. 371) The process of this project maximized students’ abilities to activate prior knowledge, cooperate, collaborate, problem solve, integrate technology, apply higher level cognitive thinking and real world application. The results of this study show that students who participated in problem based learning and digital storytelling were more interested and motivated in learning. Their achievement and problem solving capabilities were also greatly improved by this instructional tool. Therefore, project based learning can be greatly improved by incorporating digital storytelling into lessons. Further research should be conducted to determine this effectiveness in other domains of learning as well.

This research produced valuable and substantial conclusions based on how incorporating digital storytelling into project based learning can improve student achievement, motivation and problem solving capabilities. Objectives were established and pretests and posttests were administered to validate the results. Also, student interviews provided valuable qualitative data that emphasized the positive effects regarding motivation and interests of digital storytelling incorporation. This instructional strategy can be utilized to enhance the learning of elementary students.

Integrating educational technology in a meaningful way for elementary school students has to be planned out effectively with consideration for meeting learning objectives. Utilizing digital storytelling in project based learning can help to ensure that more students are engaged, meet objectives and use the best practices of activating prior knowledge, problem solving, cognition and collaboration to maximize learning.