The students created the digital story based on the storyboard by importing the elements to Moviemaker software and recording their voice to add to the narrative and test if it works effectively with the digital story. They can also add special effects and adjust the length of each visual element. This is achieved by choosing and adding some special effects, such as music and transitions, to make the story more attractive, adjusting the length of each visual element to make sure it matches the narration, and this is done over the entire digital story.
This lesson is aimed at editing and finalising the digital story, after the student has created its first version. In this lesson teachers provide some feedback to incorporate further improvements before the final draft of the digital story. Then they discuss the final drafts with the teacher and other students. The final form of the story is prepared based on these comments and feedback. Teachers attend the student presentation and evaluate them based on story elements, story creation and presentation.
The sole responsibility of the students in this lesson is to present the digital story to teachers, classmates, and parents.
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Individual case studies using mixed methods constitute the body of this research. Data for this study was collected through observations, the evaluation rubric, and teacher interviews. Five separate case reports were prepared. The case reports aim to answer the research questions; and a cross-case matrix was developed for each research question.
The intent of the study was not comparative, due to the fact that it was conducted in a single school and all five practice case studies were conducted at different educational levels such as Years 3—4 in primary school, and Year 11 in secondary school. In addition, the approach assumed in the implementation of this research was dependent on teachers. Therefore, in one-class students worked autonomously, while in others they worked in groups.
The effectiveness of digital storytelling in the classrooms: a comprehensive study
Considering all the above parameters, the main focus of the research was not to perform a comparative analysis, but rather to evaluate the effects of digital storytelling on education. The intent was to capture the benefits of using digital storytelling to explore student engagement and outcomes, as well as teacher experience with digital storytelling.
The findings of this research indicate that levels of student engagement fluctuate between moderate and high. In other words, students were always engaged in the classroom. The use of software and conducting searches for digital media took these levels to very high, and were the highest for student presentations.
In all cases students liked using technology, searching the internet, and watching other digital stories. There were some differences in implementation. For instance, Year 7 students had very low engagement levels when they had to complete their storyboards. Year 9 students had a constant, high level of engagement as they occasionally presented their completed works. However, the use of digital media managed to increase their engagement level.
The above findings are also in agreement with the current literature which encourages this new teaching approach, that is, digital storytelling permits students to utilise technology in an effective manner. Provision of appropriate resources and editing tools paves the way for student motivation and maximises its positive effect Sadik [ ]; Morris [ ]. This encourages students to put more effort into their stories and to create quality products.
Yet another result confirming the above findings is reported by Gils, this research showed that pupils are more engaged with the practical environment. Digital storytelling makes practice and training more engaging, diverse, and customised to their needs and challenges, which makes it more realistic. In this sense, it encourages students to focus on using English to communicate with classmates. Digital storytelling has the advantage of engaging three different senses: hands, eyes and ears. On the other hand, the findings of this research indicate students had a hard time getting engaged in the class when they had to finish their storyboard; some students were not interested in any school activity including digital storytelling.
Therefore, they had a low engagement level. However, when these students started recording their own videos, engagement levels increased significantly. Consequently, it is possible to use digital storytelling to integrate instructional messages with learning activities to create more engaging and exciting learning environments.
This teaching approach enhances emotional interest and cognitive attention, and reflects consistent and reliable transfer of knowledge in line with modern learning theories. The findings of this research indicated that students work collaboratively and engage with digital content. This research also observed collaboration between groups where different groups helped each other with technical or grammar issues.
This increased their levels of communication. The above findings are in agreement with Standley who found that the creation of digital stories encourages collaboration between students, which in turn leads to the utilisation of various cognitive capabilities. Moreover, when working in a group, individuals pay more attention to content Standley [ ]. In addition, other researchers have found similar findings to those in this research.
According to them, the digital learning experience can promote collaborative studying and encourages students to share resources online. Furthermore, digital content ensures that different groups are helping each other, as networked digital content connects the whole class; students who participate in digital storytelling projects have better communication, organisational skills, and more confidence in terms of asking questions and expressing opinions Robin [ ]; VanderArk and Schneider.
The fact that students helped one another in problem solution and concept development reinforces the idea that cooperation and collaboration levels are increased with digital storytelling, in other words students have a higher engagement level when they are working in groups to create a story. This research affirms that digital storytelling is suitable for a constructive approach to learning; because students work on their own story after receiving basic instructions from the teacher.
Students have their own individual approach based on their interactions and experiences and generate novel outputs by using different sources in their creation of the digital story. These findings are in line with those reported by other researchers, such as Garrard who observed that digital storytelling supports constructivist learning and concluded that digital storytelling is a good method of teaching with positive impacts Garrard [ ].
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In addition, the findings of research conducted by Normann concur with this research. The constructivist approach has several perspectives on learning since it recognises that human beings use their own personal vision in explaining the acquired information Duffy et al. This was supported by teachers in our study who concluded that digital storytelling permits students to learn by doing, and providing a flexible learning environment enables students to use their own ideas. At the beginning, tasks, software and digital storytelling are explained by the teacher, which requires a teacher-led mode.
Following this step, students have the necessary knowledge from which to start working autonomously, with some teacher supported learning. Robin, who has a similar outlook on digital storytelling, found that a story created by the teacher will help students to enhance their abilities. Thus students improve their skill set with teacher support in project development Robin [ ].
This research indicates that the utilisation of digital storytelling in education increases skills. Teachers witnessed that digital storytelling via technology integration assisted students, and helped them overcome their problems. As supported by Ohler, who viewed digital storytelling as a concept supporting creativity, students could solve crucial problems in unprecedented ways. Furthermore, teachers viewed digital storytelling as a valuable tool to increase research skills. A myriad of skills, such as spelling, writing, teamwork or collaborating with students and teachers, can be improved.
Needless to say, the uptake of technology improves technical skills Ohler [ ].
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Sadik arrived at a different conclusion in his research, where classroom observations and interviews showed that the use of technology is only effective if teachers have the expertise to customise content for story creation Sadik [ ]. In addition, the findings of teacher interviews indicate that digital storytelling is an effective tool to help students improve their technical skills and information literacy. Students have the opportunity to choose the skill they want to work on and improve.
This may include individual skills, such as spelling and writing, as well as interpersonal skills such as working in a team, or collaborating with students and teachers.
Miller also found that in every class engaged in digital storytelling, one student acted like a tutor. This student not only worked on the project, but also provided technical support to peers in terms of developing their stories. In this sense, students are empowered to use their strongest skills, and improve them. Their research skills are also honed during video searches, scanning images and selecting audio content for the story Miller [ ].
Also, the findings indicated that teachers believe that the use of stories in education is very beneficial for countries receiving immigrants, such as Australia, because a digital story incorporates multiple aspects of the curriculum, and all teachers should use this medium at some stage. One teacher commented that in their school, where they work with many students from non-English-speaking countries, students welcome the opportunity to express themselves through visual media, rather than more words; it facilitates communication for new students and builds their confidence.
Similar finding were reported by Benmayor who stated that digital storytelling can help learners to transfer their knowledge, skills and culture, thereby evolving their thinking process and helping them gain confidence. Accordingly, digital storytelling can be classified as an asset based pedagogy Benmayor [ ]. Additionally, the findings of teacher interviews indicated that, with digital storytelling, not only students but the teachers also got the opportunity to improve their technological skills. This included the use of electronic devices such as personal computers, cameras and recorders.
Miller reported similar findings. She stated that digital storytelling is the best application for teachers to encourage students to increase their use and knowledge of technology and technical skills. Furthermore, in order to create these stories, not only the students but also the teachers are obliged to increase their technical proficiency in using personal computers, digital cameras, recorders, etc.
This helped teachers keep up with the latest technology Miller [ ]. It can help them improve their confidence, and contribute to enhanced social and psychological skills. These findings are in line with other research outcomes reported in literature. Van Gils found that personalised education is one of the main advantages of digital storytelling. He argued that learners can present their experiences, reflections and evaluate their achievements while creating digital stories Van Gils [ ].
According to Ohler, digital storytelling helped students to become active participants rather than passive consumers of information Ohler [ ]. Academic efforts that focus on the benefits of digital storytelling are supported by government agencies. Several governing and regulatory authorities have been working on improving the education system in terms of motivation, learning outcomes and professional integration.
According to AusVELS students are expected to enrich their learning experience, not only in a single aspect of the curriculum, but in all areas. It considers storytelling to be one of the modules which can be used to equip students with professional learning and teaching skills. Consequently, suffice to say that digital storytelling has, inter alia, the benefit of increasing student motivation, especially for those students who have difficulties with reading and writing, allowing personalisation of the learning experience, acquiring experience with in-depth and comprehensible reading and becoming more proficient at technical aspects of language.
- Cognitive Systems Monographs | pemilusydney.org.au.
- Reconstructing human shape and motion from multi-view video.
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Digital storytelling can be used to develop personalised learning experiences for students, thereby responding to diverse individual needs. As the latest report for the Programme for International Student Assessment PISA indicated that the use of technology in education can increase various skills of learners, the findings of this research also suggested that digital storytelling can enhance several learning skills including writing, designs, library and research, technology and communication.
In addition, digital storytelling can help students with tasks they previously found very difficult including spelling, sentence formation and building, and forming the whole body of a text; this integration of technology assisted students to overcome their writing problems.