I only know one thing about the technologies that await us in the future: We will find ways to tell stories with them. (Jason Ohler)

Everyone of us has a story to tell and we all like to read or listen to stories. Stories are expressive, magical, creative, touchy and powerful sometimes. Storytelling has been with us since we started to communicate with each other and it has been part of our every day life since then and it didn't take us long to discover the importance of storytelling in education. The traditional storytelling has a new face with the growing technology today: Digital Storytelling. This is one of the new twists of the technology. It refers to using new digital tools to help ordinary people to tell their own real-life stories. (Wikipedia) With the emerging technologies, it is easy for us to discover the benefits of digital storytelling and we can reach a wider audience today. We can use the power of music, pictures, videos and narrative while creating our stories. Here are some of the reasons why to use digital storytelling into our teaching:

  • It is interesting and motivating for the digital natives.
  • It appeals to the different learning styles of the students.
  • It develops communication and multimedia skills.
  • It is encouraging, self-motivated and self-directed.
  • It engages students in their own learning process.
  • It provides authentic material.
  • It helps students to develop planning skills, their creativity and innovation skills.
  • It honors the writing process first.
  • The products can easily be published online.

We can introduce new concepts, materials and the knowledge in a meaningful way, we can organize ideas. Students can create stories about events, places, family, characters, books they read; memories, advertisement, feelings. They can create announcements, news, movie trailers, personal expressions and many more. Let's have a look some of the digital storytelling tools.

Voicethread is my favourite. It can easily be used by teachers and students to collaborate. This is a good tool for speaking and listening activities. We can use voicethread in different ways.

  • To give presentations.
  • Students can be in touch though they are not at school.
  • We can put notes of our lessons.
  • Students can ask or answer the questions.
  • This is a great tool for brainstorming. Students can talk about the picture or the video.
  • Students can leave comments or evaluate each other's work.
  • Students can put their first drafts and teachers can comment.
  • Students can publish their writing with pictures, audio or video.
  • Students can write stories that go with the images they see.
  • Teachers or students can give instructions. (How to go to the airport, how to cook something etc.)
  • Students can give advices or they can retell stories.
  • Students can prepare projects about their holidays, families etc.

Dandelife is another tool where you can record your past and present on a timeline. This is a great tool to improve writing skills. Students can keep a diary, they can prepare a timeline for someone famous, they can retell a story. This is also a good tool to revise past tenses. Ourstory is similiar to this tool.

Bubblr is a tool to create comic scripts using photos from Flickr. Students can prepare their own comic scripts according to the pictures. They can retell or create a story by adding pictures. If they are younger, they can only name the pictures.

Bookr is another tool to create your own book online using Flickr photos again. Teachers can create the story and ask questions about it. Students can write a suitable title for the story or they can write the beginning or the ending of the story. They can talk about their likes, dislikes, family members etc.

Zimmertwins is a site where you can make your own videos. It is so fun to use this tool. Teachers can give the dialogues and students can create their own cartoons using this tool. Students can create their own cartoon or they can create the ones that are assigned to them.

Dfilm is another site to create cartoons. Students can create their own dialogues using this tool. Bombay TV is another place to make your own Bollywood films.Toondo can make easier for us to create cartoons using a library of cartoons and text bubbles. Comiqs lets us create our own comic with our own photos.

Also, there are so many presentation tools that can be used for digital storytelling. They are slide, imageloop, bubbleshare, flektor, photoshow, onetruemedia, comeeko, sliderocket and many more.

What can be the disadvantages?

  • We may have some technical problems.
  • Is it measurable or not?
  • What about appropriateness and the copyright?

I believe digital storytelling can change the way we teach, how the learning occurs and it will certainly get the attention of our students as they begin to write and tell their own stories. It will impact our teaching. What do you think?


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