Digital Storytelling as a Tool for Teaching

Sara L. Reyes
Western Oregon University
Spring 2012
A review of Digital Storytelling: A Tool for Teaching and Learning in the YouTube Generation
“Digital storytelling is the art of
combining narrative with digital media
such as images, sound, and video to
create a short story (Robin, 2008).”
“In the Digital Storytelling Cookbook, Lambert (2006)
identifies seven elements that are critical components of
effective digital stories.”
These seven components are:
 Point of view
 A dramatic question
 Emotional content
 The gift of your voice
 The power of the soundtrack
 Economy
 Pacing
First year teacher Tyler Binkley creates online math video
“vignettes” that teach critical math skills.
His students visit his YouTube channel when they struggle with
their math. He engages students with his unique style using:
recurring characters
 themes
 jokes
He learned about digital storytelling in his teacher education
Preservice teachers, like Binkley,
created digital booktalks:
 Used iMovie and Movie Maker to
create 2 minute long book
 Used Flip Video cameras to
shoot live action
 Created voice-overs
 Selected segments of music and
sound effects
 Inserted titles and brief text
His teacher (Kerper) invited
students to Ning, a social
networking tool.
This tool was used so Binkley
and his classmates could give
feedback on what was clear
and what was uncertain in
each others’ videos.
Students reported that their
peers’ comments highly
impacted their final product.
Make content and connections relevant to students’
Digital storytelling connects students to content in
ways that they’re accustomed to consuming
information (i.e. watching TV, movies, and interacting
in online forums).
Students make their own videos and post them to
YouTube. Viral videos are “the cultural currency of
today’s youth.”
Binkley focuses on three main
The mechanics of video
The techniques of
modern storytelling
The integration of the
content and medium
Music and humor are standard
elements in popular videos today…
“Of the all-time top ten videos viewed on
YouTube, six are musical and four are
humorous (YouTube, 2010).”
Implementation may be challenging. With web-based
instruction, equal access for all learners must be considered
 Learning needs
 Socioeconomic backgrounds
Educators must ask themselves:
“Would all of my students be able to access content online or
benefit equally from its presentation?”
Dreon, O., Kerper, R. M., & Landis, J. (2011). Digital Storytelling: A Tool
for Teaching and Learning in the YouTube Generation. Middle School
Journal, 42(5), 4-9.

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