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.

4 thoughts on “The Success of Project Based Learning with Digital Storytelling

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