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


New Literacies & Implications for Education

Knobel, M. & Lankshear, C. (2014) Studying New Literacies. ResearchGate.

This article explores new literacies and implications for education. New Literacies refer to the new way that literacy and communication are transmitted in the digital age that started in the 1990’s. New literacies are now prevalent because of the innovations in digital technology including the internet, blogs, social media, online research and digital literature. In the past, literacy primarily involved print media on paper, and had a limited scope to its exposure and collaborative options. According to Knobel and Lankshear (2014), “Social practices characterized by a new “ethos,” new literacies are more participatory, collaborative, and distributed, and less “published,” less “author- centric,” and less “individual” than conventional literacies. New literacies have also created new social outlets for people of similar interests around the world. Fan fiction, which involves people who are fans of similar genres or authors of literature, helps to connect people outside of the same geographical locations via social media. This assists in cultivating a much larger social network for people in this digital age.

New literacies are having a substantial impact on traditional literacy courses that are taught in conventional classrooms. New literacies offer a platform for a variety of opinions and perspectives that can be synthesized to create new knowledge, which is a paradigm shift from previous literacy. New literacies involve a new digital language and culture that thrives on flexibility of modes of communication. Therefore, abbreviated written communication with new jargon is continuously evolving with new literacies. As a result, the implication for traditional educators is that explicit, standard literacy instruction must be emphasized to ensure that students have substantial reading and writing capabilities. Educators must also be well versed in the new literacies, especially in the area of conducting reliable and valid research to be able to teach learners how to effectively utilize new literacies in academia.

This article is insightful because it acknowledges that there is a paradigm shift occurring in literature and communication. It discusses the attributes of new literacies as well as the implications for educators in a digital world. Educators need to be aware and proficient in new literacies to develop the best pedagogical strategies to incorporate educational technology into classrooms. New literacies can be used for entertainment engaging instruction. However, educators must also be able to guide learners in how to leverage new literacies effectively in traditional literacy.

As an educator, I believe that new literacies offer a wide range of educational opportunities for students. The interactivity of digital electronics can enhance pedagogical strategies in the classroom. However, students must also be taught the limitations of some new literacies regarding their reading and writing development for their grade level or age. It is pertinent that teachers continue to teach traditional grammar, mechanics, spelling, reading comprehension and writing skills explicitly, so that K-12 students are aware of the differences that may occur in new literacies. Students should still be expected to perform on or above grade level in literacy courses using standard linguistic skills in a traditional classroom setting.

Related Article:

Everett-Cacopardo, H., Leu, D., McVerry, G., O’Byrne, I., & Zawilinski, L. Comments on greenhow, robelia, and hughes: Expanding the new literacies conversation. Educational Researcher.