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The 63rd day in Jordan (3:49)

A student's experience on her study abroad program and the love affair she has with Jordan.

Digital Storytelling as an Assessment Practice

Review of the Literature


It has been said in many different venues, our world is changing so fast that we need to prepare students for jobs that don’t even exist yet. So how do we go about accomplishing this seemingly impossible task?  One avenue we can take is by training teachers how to effectively incorporate new literacies into the content, including the use of digital storytelling as an assessment practice.  Students don’t need separate classes for these new literacies.  What they need is seamless integration of today’s literacies into their current learning environments.  We need to inspire today’s students to think about how they can take the technologies of today and use them to show what they have learned and how the learning has change them.


To encourage these learning environments and engage students we need to offer options that encourage creativity and get students to act and think deeper.  These environments should offer students the opportunity for meaningful contribution, constructive feedback and a place to share with the learning community.  Too often traditional schools fail to construct creative spaces or disregard out of school learning sites that breed innovation and creativity (Sheridan & Roswell, 2010). Schools are building their curriculum on paper-based literacy instead of multimodal, nonlinear literacies available in the digital environment. As we progresses more into the digital world students become less engaged in the old style of instruction and are enraged that the educational system is not keeping up with their needs (Rhodes & Robnolt, 2009). Basically, new tools elicit new practices and educators need to rethink how to reach out to today’s students and facilitate new ways of teaching and learning (Sheridan & Roswell, 2010).


The literature guides us to believe that digital storytelling can be a valuable, transformative tool for a broad range of curriculum and disciple content. Storytelling can be a powerful mechanism for teaching and learning as stories help make meaning out of our experiences (Bruner, 1990). These experiences in turn are the key to transformative learning. Stories can also help students build strong connections to former knowledge and improve memory (Schank, 1990). Parker Palmer states that teaching and learning spaces should honor the “little stories” of students, while telling the “big stories” of the discipline (Palmer, 1998). Digital storytelling provides this learning space by empowering students the opportunity to express themselves in a variety of media. One great feature of digital storytelling is that with a little bit of guidance and creativity anyone can create their “little story” and make it available for the world to see, hear and learn from.


To end this review, I draw on a quote by Margret Mead, “we must create new models for adults who can teach their children not what to learn, but how to learn” (Mead, 1970). Digital storytelling is one model that can be used to teach our students how to learn by creating narrative through deeper reflecting thinking about their experiences and then transforming these thoughts into digital stories for sharing and demonstration of their own unique knowledge.





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