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.

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.