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Tuesday, 09 October 2012 08:00

The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling

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The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling

© (2007). Licensed under Creative Commons.

Digital storytelling involves the basic desire for sharing one’s story, but in a way that blends audio, video, images, and other media to communicate the narrative. Incorporating digital stories in the classroom becomes an effective tool to promote an environment of media literacy and collaboration.

Using digital narratives in the classroom addresses varied needs and learning styles, and helps students communicate information while employing and embracing various learning styles (see: Multiliteracies Theory ). Digital storytelling allows students to be both creative and critical, while permitting them to experiment with a range of ideas in presentation and foster an acknowledgment of how form and media affect meaning.

Assigning a digital story in the classroom can help students articulate themselves in ways that otherwise may have been limiting, such as if an essay had been assigned instead. Yumi Matsui and Clifford Lee of the Bay Area Writing Project describe this in their video “Literacy, ELL, and Digital Storytelling: 21st Century Learning in Action,” which focuses on a digital story assignment on immigrant subjectivities.

Allowing the students to describe these experiences through digital storytelling helped them articulate these personal histories in previously incommunicable means. The assignment exposed and navigated the students through multiple literacies—such as digital literacy, literacies of experience, collaboration, and critical thought—and methods of communication to achieve the end result of effectively recounting their narratives. Fundamentally, this activity transcended the borders of the classroom, providing students with a more enduringly meaningful academic experience.

The benefits of using digital storytelling are similar to that of assigning more conventional methods of assessment such as essays or reports, but the digital story encourages students to participate more creatively. Researching, structuring, and effectually narrating are achieved, but through a process that the students may find more exciting and fulfilling. A more intuitive and responsive interaction with the project is necessary for the successful delivery of the assignment. Participation in a digital storytelling assignment requires an earnest understanding of the audience as well as the task at hand, ultimately granting the learner with a broader array of literacies.


Boss, S. (2008). Digital Storytelling: Helping Students Find Their Voice. In Edutopia. Retrieved October 5, 2012, from http://www.edutopia.org/digital-storytelling-resources

Digital Storytelling in the Classroom. (n.d.). In Prairienet. Retrieved October 5, 2012, from http://www.prairienet.org/op/stories/the-importance-of-digital-storytelling/digital-storytelling-in-the-classroom/

Literacy, ELL, and Digital Storytelling: 21st Centry Learning in Action. (2009). In National Writing Project. Retrieved September 20, 2012, from http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/resource/2790

New, J. (2005). How to Use Digital Storytelling in Your Classroom. In Edutopia. Retrieved October 5, 2012, from http://www.edutopia.org/use-digital-storytelling-classroom

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