Focusing on citizenship has becoming increasingly important in our schools. Buried beneath test scores, evaluations, and data analysis, students are often missing an opportunity to develop critical characteristics that enable them to become effective global citizens. Truong-White and McLean explore how digital storytelling in the classroom can enhance global citizenship. Digital Storytelling for Transformative Global Citizenship Education analyzes several projects that were produced by the Bridges to Understanding program in middle and high schools.
The authors highlight several ways that digital storytelling can be used to “support a human rights and social justice perspective” (pg. 7). Arguing that studying one’s own community and communities that are unfamiliar to an individual, Truong-White and McLean point out that the “critical analysis and reflection tied to a critique of relations of power lead to personal transformation” (pg. 5). Students conversed with other schools and shared their digital stories across the globe. In several instances, students were able to observe non-mainstream voices about areas far from their own community. Not only did the analysis of other communities create an opportunity for collaboration, but the “narratives could be used to counter the stereotypes that students have” (pg.19).
Exploring the varying benefits of incorporating digital storytelling into the classroom, this argument presents as one of the most important benefits. Students need to develop essential skills of communication and collaboration on a global scale. Learning about diversity and being a global citizen creates awareness of human problems, rather than “the other world” or “third world” problems. Nurturing a characteristic of understanding students not only generates a society of individuals who are proud of their own culture, but a society of individuals who support and celebrate those who are different. Isn’t that what we all aim for? Mutual respect?