Storytelling Improves Student Writing

Digital storytelling has been at the forefront of my mind every time I talk to my colleagues, yet I feel like I’m still not finding the right words to incite excitement. As educators, we are often bogged down with the race against the school year clock and wading through intense curriculum that is overwhelming in and of its self. Articles like, “A New Approach Toward Digital Storytelling: An Activity Focused on Writing Self-efficacy in a Virtual Learning Environment” by Hu, Park, and Baek provide thoughtful research about the efficacy of application in the classroom. Their findings support, and verbalize my excitement while providing research to verify why a teacher should incorporate digital storytelling into their classroom.

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The authors state that storytelling “encourages student- centered learning” and “is a compelling method to gain and hold students’ attention”. There are four aspects in student-centered learning: student engagement, reflection, project-based learning, and technology integration. Digital storytelling supports all of the aspects in an effective and attractive environment.

Focusing on writing within digital storytelling, the authors found that students who wrote using a digital storytelling program significantly increased their average writing scores when compared to students who did not. The students in the study participated in a virtual reality setting where their writing controlled and changed their environment. Writing needed to be effective and students had to problem solve in order to be successful. The study showed how different technologies can increase student engagement, and in turn increase quality learning. I found this to be an interesting perspective on the digital storytelling realm and will use this case study as an example of why this method is successful for students.

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One thought on “Storytelling Improves Student Writing”

  1. I had never heard before anything about Second Life and I was very surprised to see how popular it is. I downloaded the Second Life virtual world and created an avatar and was really impressed with the graphics and it is pretty impressive to think that the company just created the platform and it is the members of Second Life that created this virtual world. I had to watch a couple of YouTube videos about Second Life to get a better understanding of what exactly it is. According to the article “Second Life has been the most popular multi-user virtual environment used in education”. My understanding is that Second Life is primarily used in higher education but I am interested in finding out if Second Life or similar virtual worlds have been used to implement digital storytelling in primary or secondary education. The purpose of the study was to examine the effects of digital storytelling on writing self-efficacy and on the flow in a virtual learning environment. According to the authors, the findings of the study prove that digital storytelling is more effective in virtual reality learning environments than off-line environments. It is indeed a very interesting perspective in digital storytelling, and I would love to learn more about similar studies and the effectiveness of using digital storytelling in virtual reality learning environments to assist the students “master, retain and share new knowledge” in subjects other than writing.

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