We Learn in the Form of Stories: How Digital Storytelling Supports Critical Digital Literacy for Pre-Service Teachers

We Learn in the Form of Stories: How Digital Storytelling Supports Critical Digital Literacy for Pre-Service Teachers

Lynne Masel Walters (Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture, Texas A&M University, College Station, USA) and Sam von Gillern (Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture, Texas A&M University, College Station, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/IJDLDC.2018070102

Abstract

This article discusses the use of digital storytelling to enable pre-service teachers to develop critical digital literacy skills. Digital storytelling and new literacies share the same set of abilities: 1) finding, evaluating and consuming digital content; 2) exploring identity and cultural landscapes; 3) creating new digital materials drawing from multiple media; and 4) communicating what was found or created with an audience. The study is based on the essays of pre-service teachers enrolled in Cultural Foundations of Education, who produced two digital stories. Responses showed that they believed the assignments helped them become more reflective, culturally aware and media savvy, and led them to a critical and practical knowledge of multimodal content production. Digital storytelling, then, utilizes almost all of the critical digital skills and literacies pre-service teachers are expected to bring to diverse, globalized, and technology-infused 21st century classrooms.
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Literature Review

Teacher educators can use digital storytelling to promote critical digital literacies in pre-service teachers. Whenever students create a digital story or share it with an audience, they are using digital literacy skills, developing their critical thinking abilities and cultural comprehension (Peyton & Hague, 2016). By creating a space for all students in a classroom to share their stories, including those that are usually silenced, they can develop an understanding of how and what to communicate to different audiences and unpack the ethics of sharing and listening to personal stories (Pangrazio, 2016). Digital storytelling is a transformational approach that shifts the traditional art of storytelling into the 21st-century environment of digital technology (Robin, 2008). Digital stories are personal narratives that document a wide-range of culturally and historically embedded lived experiences by combining voice, sound and images into a short video, typically developed by non-professionals with non-professional tools, to be communicated to an audience (Lambert 2010; Reed & Hill 2010). Unlike oral stories that are subject to varying interpretations and emphasis, digital stories become permanent artifacts that capture a specific moment in time, one telling of an experience and stand as objects for personal reflection, critique, and sharing with an audience (Lathem, Reyes, & Qi, 2006).

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