Read the chapter; complete the worksheets; take the test. These are all classroom instructions that were so common in times past, but are no longer the recommended teaching methods to facilitate learning. With our ever-changing world and increasingly technologically dependent society, greater emphasis has been placed on integrating technology into the classroom to prepare learners to be able to function successfully in our technologically advanced world. One of the ways that educators are making efforts to integrate technology into the classroom learning experience is through digital storytelling. “A digital story is a combination of a narrated script, linked images and video clips, and background music. In essence, it is a sophisticated, narrated slide show” (Généreux, A. & Thompson, W., 2008, p.22).
Wendi Takemoto, chief information officer of Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii, welcomed the use of technology within her school as a tool to “allow each student to receive and reflect learning, individually, in the way that is best for him or her” (Lever-Duffy & McDonald, 2008, p. 316). Indeed, incorporating projects such as digital storytelling into the teaching and learning environment which utilize “audio and visual images can make learning easier for many students by addressing their auditory or visual strength” (Lever-Duffy & McDonald, 2008, p. 317). For example, students in some San Francisco Bay Area classrooms were able to take part in a program which integrates writing, art and technology. Students created digital stories of events that had happened in their lives that had been written as personal narratives and depicted into “mini-films featuring the students’ drawings, voice recordings, photographs, and audio and visual effects” (http://www.edutopia.org/reality-bytes-student-filmmakers-tell-it-like-it-is).
One of the most touching projects that I viewed was from a young Latino girl who had not been engaged in school but found her voice as a participant in the San Fernando Education Technology Team’s program which uses “photography, videotaping, sound recording, editing, and presentation instruction and equipment” (http://www.edutopia.org/students-find-their-voices-through-multimedia) to help engage students in the learning process. Through the program, Consuelo Molina, was able to produce a video about sweat shops, something that mattered to her, which has captured the attention of notable persons around the world who have used her video, making her voice no longer silent but one heard around the world. Just as it was applied and had an impact on Molina’s educational experience, digital storytelling and technology can be used as tools to engage all learners and help them apply what they learn to achieve their goals in ways that are meaningful to them.
Généreux, A. & Thompson, W. (2008). Lights, camera, reflection! digital movies: A tool for reflective learning. Journal of College Science Teaching, 37(6), 21-25. Retrieved November 13, 2008, from Research Library database.
Lever-Duffy, J. & McDonald, J. B. (2008). Academic Software. In A. E. Burvikovs (Ed.), Teaching and learning with technology (p316-317). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.