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<ul><li><p>INTERNATIONAL REVIEW</p><p>Digital storytelling: a meaningful technology-integratedapproach for engaged student learning</p><p>Alaa Sadik</p><p>Published online: 11 April 2008! Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2008</p><p>Abstract Although research emphasizes the importance of integrating technology intothe curriculum, the use of technology can only be effective if teachers themselves possessthe expertise to use technology in a meaningful way in the classroom. The aim of this studywas to assist Egyptian teachers in developing teaching and learning through the applicationof a particular digital technology. Students were encouraged to work through the process ofproducing their own digital stories using MS Photo Story, while being introduced todesktop production and editing tools. They also presented, published and shared their ownstories with other students in the class. Quantitative and qualitative instruments, includingdigital story evaluation rubric, integration of technology observation instruments andinterviews for evaluating the effectiveness of digital storytelling into learning wereimplemented to examine the extent to which students were engaged in authentic learningtasks using digital storytelling. The findings from the analysis of students-produced storiesrevealed that overall, students did well in their projects and their stories met many of thepedagogical and technical attributes of digital stories. The findings from classroomobservations and interviews revealed that despite problems observed and reported byteachers, they believed that the digital storytelling projects could increase studentsunderstanding of curricular content and they were willing to transform their pedagogy andcurriculum to include digital storytelling.</p><p>Keywords Digital storytelling ! Engaged learning ! Photo story ! Technology integration</p><p>Introduction</p><p>Within the last 10 years, the Egyptian Ministry of Education (MoE) with the assistance ofmany international organizations (such as USAID and UNESCO) has introduced manyeducation reforms to improve the educational system and raise teachers technological</p><p>A. Sadik (&amp;)Department of Instructional &amp; Learning Technologies, College of Education,Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Sultanate of Omane-mail:;</p><p>123</p><p>Education Tech Research Dev (2008) 56:487506DOI 10.1007/s11423-008-9091-8</p></li><li><p>awareness and encourage them to integrate Information and Communication Technology(ICT) into the curriculum with a greater emphasis on science, mathematics and the use ofcomputers. In addition, new learning resource centers are being set up in schools, completewith laboratory equipment, audio-visual systems, computers and other teaching aids.</p><p>However, although Egypt has made great strides in its general educational arena, growthin technological supports that facilitate educational advances have been slower. The use ofcomputer software and hardware has not been fully understood or used and the integrationof technology into the Egyptian education system is needed.</p><p>Jacobsen (2001) believe that many teachers worldwide are not able to adopt technologyfor teaching and learning tasks, and the gap between technology presence in schools and itseffective use is too wide. Many teachers believe that technology integration is a difficult,time-consuming and resource-intensive endeavor and is more trouble than it is worth(Sheingold and Hadley 1990). The under-utilization of technology is probably a result of alack of vision of technologys potential for improving teaching and learning (Office ofTechnology Assessment 1995) and the difficulty to cross the bridge between technologyscapabilities and curriculum requirements (SERVE 1996).</p><p>Dexter et al. (1999) indicate that the effectiveness of technology integration into edu-cation is largely dependent upon its ability to engage students into learning. Trilling andHood (1999) believe that the key in using educational technology is to utilize meaningfulactivities that may engage students to construct their knowledge in different ways, notavailable before the technology was introduced. Studies have shown that learnerengagement is paramount to learning success (Herrington et al. 2003).</p><p>Lim et al. (2006) reviewed the literature and found that there is a myriad of definitionsfor the term engagement. They concluded that what is apparent about the definitions ofengagement is that they entail some kind of mindfulness, intrinsic motivation, cognitiveeffort, and attention (p. 213). However, there are different levels of engagement that onecan attain: The engagement can either be classified as high or low.</p><p>Meaningful technology integration and learning</p><p>Meaningful technology integration is defined as curricula utilizing authentic tasks thatintentionally and actively help learners to construct their own meanings from thinkingabout experiences and allows for more interdisciplinary project-based instruction (Jonassenet al. 1999). Integration is defined not by the amount or type of technology used, but byhow and why it is used (Earle 2002).</p><p>Meaningful integration of technology is achieved when students are able to select tech-nology tools to help them obtain information in a timely manner, analyze and synthesize theinformation and present it professionally (Harris 2005). However, harnessing the power ofthe integration of technology requires not only a new or advanced technology, but also asystematic way of utilizing the technology to improve student learning (Schofield 1995).</p><p>Research indicates that in order to achieve meaningful technology integration, learningmust be designed from a constructivist approach that encourages students to learn in asocial context and help them to develop an ability to readily create new knowledge, solvenew problems and employ creativity and critical thinking (Griest 1996; Hoffman 1997;Mergendollar 1997; Richards 1998). Spivey (1997) indicated that constructivists viewstudents as constructive agents and view knowledge as built instead of being passivelyreceived by students, whose ways of knowing and understanding influence what is knownand understood.</p><p>488 A. Sadik</p><p>123</p></li><li><p>In addition, the interaction between students, the flow of ideas and thinking aloudencourage students to foster active learning, in which users discover and address gaps intheir understanding when explaining concepts to others (Kafai et al. 1997; Tyner 1998).</p><p>Constructivist strategies include collaborative and cooperative learning methods,engaging in critical and reflective thinking and evaluation through electronic portfolios(Nanjappa and Grant 2003). Jonassen and Carr (2000) believe that in order to help studentsto construct their knowledge, they should be actively involved in learning with the help ofICT tools. In addition, Wheatley (1991) argued that because a student will construct his/herown meaning based on his/her interpretation, technology can become a vital educationaltool depending on the way it is used in learning. Strommen and Lincoln (1992) believe thatit is not which technology is used, but how the technology is used which is relevant to aconstructivist classroom.</p><p>For example, the initial computers role in education has been largely viewed throughComputer Assisted Instruction (CAI), which is generally used for low-end tasks or pro-viding a richer and more exciting learning environment, such as drill and practice (Officeof Technology Assessment 1995; Duffy and Cunningham 1996; Roe et al. 1998). How-ever, teachers can use computers, as tools for accessing information, interpreting andorganizing their personal knowledge and producing and representing what they know toothers, so as to engage students more, resulting in more meaningful and transferableknowledge (Jonassen et al. 1993).</p><p>Lim and Tay (2003) classified ICT tools used in the classroom to improve studentlearning into four types: (1) informative tools; (2) situating tools; (3) communicative tools;and (4) constructive tools. Informative tools are applications that store and provide vastamounts of information in various formats (e.g., databases, encyclopedias and webresources). Situating tools are systems that situate students in an environment where theymay experience the context (e.g., simulations and games). Communicative tools are sys-tems that facilitate communication between the student and others (e.g., e-mail anddiscussion boards).</p><p>Constructive tools are general-purpose ICT tools that can be used for manipulatinginformation, constructing students own knowledge or to produce a certain tangibleproduct for a given instructional purpose. PowerPoint and Word, for example, are found tobe the most frequently used constructive tools by students for their presentations andspecial curriculum-based projects (Lim and Tay 2003). Multimedia authoring and pre-senting tools, in particular, like PowerPoint, Illustrator, MultiMedia Builder, HyperStudio,MovieMaker and iMovies have proved to be good constructive tools to learn throughproduction, collaboration and project management.</p><p>Digital storytelling and the curriculum</p><p>Storytelling is the original form of teaching (Pedersen 1995). It is a simple but powerfulmethod to help students to make sense of the complex and unordered world of experienceby crafting story lines (Bruner 1990; Gils 2005). Although storytelling is not new, the ideaof digital storytelling is new (Meadows 2003).</p><p>Within the last 10 years, digital cameras, editing software, authoring tools and elec-tronic media outlets have encouraged teachers to utilize many more approaches and toolsthan ever before to help students to construct their own knowledge and ideas to present andshare them more effectively (Standley 2003). One of these powerful approaches tomultimedia production is digital storytelling.</p><p>Digital storytelling 489</p><p>123</p></li><li><p>Meadows (2003) believes that digital storytelling is the social practice of telling storiesthat makes use of low-cost digital cameras, non-linear authoring tools and computers tocreate short multimedia stories. The Digital Storytelling Association (2002) describesDigital storytelling as:</p><p>[a] modern expression of the ancient art of storytelling. Throughout history, story-telling has been used to share knowledge, wisdom, and values. Stories have takenmany different forms. Stories have been adapted to each successive medium that hasemerged, from the circle of the campfire to the silver screen, and now the computerscreen.</p><p>Robin and Pierson (2005) believe that digital storytelling has captured the imagination ofboth students and teachers and the act of crafting meaningful stories has elevated theexperience for students and teachers. Compared to conventional storytelling, digital sto-rytelling audiences are viewed not only as listeners but also as learners who can interactand shape the story (Dorner et al. 2002).</p><p>Lynch and Fleming (2007) indicate that:</p><p>[The] flexible and dynamic nature of digital storytelling, which encapsulates aural,visual and sensory elements, utilises the multitude of cognitive processes thatunderpin learning-from verbal linguistic to spatial, musical, interpersonal, intraper-sonal, naturalist and bodily-kinaesthetic (p. 7).</p><p>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.</p><p>Robin (2005) argued that educators at all levels and in most subjects can use digitalstorytelling in many ways to support students learning by encouraging them to organizeand express their ideas and knowledge in an individual and meaningful way.</p><p>Jonassen and Hernandez-Serrano (2002) suggested three ways to support learning usingstories. First, they can be used as exemplars of concepts or principles being taught by directinstruction. Second, they can be used as problem cases to be solved by students. Third,stories can be used as advice for students, for helping them learn to solve problems.</p><p>Gils (2005) suggested many advantages of using digital storytelling in education: (1) toprovide more variation than traditional methods in current practice; (2) to personalizelearning experience; (3) to make explanation or the practicing of certain topics morecompelling; (4) to create real life situations in an easy and cheaper way; and (5) to improvethe involvement of students in the process of learning.</p><p>According to Pedersen (1995), stories are the oldest form of literature. Tsou et al.(2006) found that integrating digital storytelling into the language curriculum is a creativelanguage learning technique that can improve students level of learning in reading,writing, speaking and listening.</p><p>In addition, Combs and Beach (1994) indicated that including storytelling in the socialstudies curriculum develops students understanding of democratic ideals, cultural diver-sity and participatory citizenship, improves their communication skills, motivates them tolearn about the past and present, and creates a class bond through shared experiences.</p><p>While digital storytelling is most often associated with the arts and humanities, researchindicates that it can also be an effective strategy for learning in mathematics and science.In mathematics education, Jonassen (2003) believes that story problems are the mostcommon form of problem solving in education. Students begin solving story problems inearly elementary school and do not escape until graduate school or beyond (p. 294). He</p><p>490 A. Sadik</p><p>123</p></li><li><p>argued that story problems are found in simple combine problems (e.g., Tom has threeapples. Mary gave Tom 3 more apples. How many apples does Tom have in the end?) andcomplex problems in advanced mathematics and physics.</p><p>Schiro (2004), for example, used digital storytelling to teach students algorithms andproblem solving through several stages of learning in order to help them develop mathe-matical skills. He argued that digital stories, with other materials like worksheets, not onlypresent mathematical skills that students need to learn but also situate the mathematics in acontext that is interesting, engaging and relevant.</p><p>Papadimitriou (2003) suggested that digital storytelling can be used to teach computerscience and programming to a wider and more diverse audience. He indicated that digitalstorytelling can be used, for example, to share with students Al Khwarizmis discovery ofarithmetic algorithms notes on how to calculate the Bernoulli numbers without human headandhand to bring the beauty power and coolness of themessagewithmore clarity and less pain.</p><p>Problem arising from the study</p><p>Although the Egyptian Ministry of Education has invested in integrating computers andtechnology with all areas of learning, the researcher noticed that teachers, in general,struggle to incorporate computer applications into regular classroom instructional practicesto enhance learning due to the ineffective and inappropriate training and lack...</p></li></ul>


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