21st Century Skills and Digital Storytelling in the Classroom

21st Century Skills and Digital Storytelling in the Classroom

Nicoletta Di Blas (Politecnico di Milano, Italy)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9667-9.ch015
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PoliCultura is an initiative of collaborative digital storytelling in formal educational contexts run by HOC-LAB, a laboratory at Politecnico di Milano (Italy), one of the largest technical universities in Europe. Launched in 2006, PoliCultura is open to schools of all kinds and levels, in Italy and abroad (international since school year 2013-14). Within PoliCultura, groups of students/classes, supervised by a teacher, create a multimedia interactive story using an online authoring tool by HOC-LAB. So far, more than 1,200 stories have been created by students aged between 4 and 18, from 9 countries. By presenting in detail the initiative and the evaluation data, this chapter makes a case for collaborative digital storytelling as a way to foster the acquisition of 21st century skills: creativity, collaboration, media literacy, life and career skills.
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This chapter wants to make a case for collaborative digital storytelling as a good strategy to support the acquisition of some of the 21st century skills so much advocated by school systems around the world. It is based on a large-scale case-study: “PoliCultura”, an initiative started in 2006 that has involved so far more than 24,000 students, from 9 countries, producing more than 1,200 digital stories. The students are aged between 4 (pre-school) and 18 (high-school). Data, gathered through various methods, show that students do develop some of the 21st century skills like creativity, collaboration, media literacy, life and career skills. The program can be implemented within the frame of formal education without major disruptions and by teachers who are not particularly tech-savvy.

The chapter is organized as follows: first of all, a background section presents the state of the art on computer-supported collaboration and digital storytelling in education, as well as the P21 framework developed by the Partnership for 21st century skills, to which reference will be made in subsequent sections. Then, the PoliCultura initiative is introduced in detail, as well as the evaluation data. Finally, the last section highlights conclusions and future work.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Collaborative Digital Storytelling: Creation of a digital story done in collaboration by more than one author; in the case-study described in this chapter, the story is done in collaboration by a group of students or even a class (up to 25 students).

Expo Milano 2015: The Universal Exposition taking place in Milano, Italy, in 2015. The theme is “Feeding the planet, energy for life”.

Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning: A pedagogical approach started in the 80s that puts an emphasis on how technology can support collaboration and thus enhance the teaching/learning process.

HOC-LAB: A multidisciplinary laboratory at the Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering of Politecnico di Milano (Italy), specialized in multimedia, multichannel communication especially in the fiels of eLearning and eCulture ( http://hoc.elet.polimi.it AU27: The URL http://hoc.elet.polimi.it has been redirected to http://hoc.elet.polimi.it/hoc/. Please verify the URL. ).

Interactive Digital Storytelling: The story is interactive in the sense that it is divided into small elements, either in a linear or hierarchical structure, among which the user can freely choose.

1001 Stories: An authoring tool developed by HOC-LAB at Politecnico di Milano, used by schools to collaboratively create digital interactive stories.

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