Exploring Alternative Assessments to Support Digital storytelling for Creative Thinking in Primary School Classrooms

Exploring Alternative Assessments to Support Digital storytelling for Creative Thinking in Primary School Classrooms

Lee Yong Tay (Beacon Primary School, Singapore), Siew Khiaw Lim (Beacon Primary School, Singapore) and Cher Ping Lim (Hong Kong Institute of Education, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-519-3.ch013
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This chapter documents the use of digital storytelling as a teaching approach to facilitate the learning of creative thinking among students (aged 7 and 8) in a primary school setting. A constructive teaching approach is adopted to allow students to create their own digital stories based on an authentic experience and express their thoughts. The focus of this chapter is to show how a shift from traditional classroom assessment to more flexible, alternative assessment format facilitates higher level thought processes (e.g., creative thinking) and range of skills. Several issues and challenges of using alternative assessment in digital storytelling are explored and discussed. Findings suggest that digital storytelling may be effectively used as an approach to foster creative thinking. They also suggest that refinements to the assessment process are needed to make it more formative in nature.
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Literature Review

Digital Storytelling

“Clearly we are increasingly visual in our orientation towards communications. Reading and writing literacies are adversely affected, as each generation sees the screen as a preferable expressive medium. However, the inherent values of textual communication begin to become stronger by contrast, just as the strength of recitation and musical orality became stronger with the dissemination of literacy” (Lambert, 2007, p. 27).

Bull and Kajder (2005) and Lambert (2006, 2007) propose the use of digital storytelling as a strategy to engage learners in writing. According to Bull and Kajder (2005), a digital story consists of a series of still images combined with a narrated soundtrack to tell a story. They reiterate that the focus in the language arts classroom should be on the writing and communication process rather than technical effects. Digital storytelling could be used as a constructive tool to engage students in higher order type of thinking skills as it could help students to ‘visualise’ and ‘verbalise’ their writing, develop creativity, and facilitate the learning of technological literacy, including the embedding of the voices of the students. In this creation process, students need to synthesise their writing and personal thoughts with clarity and organisation. However, it would also be necessary to design an appropriate approach to assess students’ learning and acquisition of higher order thinking skills through the use of digital storytelling.

Digital Storytelling for Creative Thinking

The major components of creative thinking are synthesising, imagining, and elaborating (Jonassen, 2000).

Synthesising involves skills such as analogical thinking, summarising, hypothesising, and planning. Imagining, as the name implies, is something that is less concrete and not as easily taught as other skills but it is important for the generation of new ideas. It also involves intuition and fluency of thinking, and requires students to visualize some form of objects or actions. Imagining includes skills such as fluency, predicting, speculating, visualising, and intuition. Elaborating on information involves adding personal meaning and information by relating it to personal experiences or building on an idea. Elaborating includes skills such as expanding, modifying, extending, shifting categories, and concretising.

Jonassen (2000) proposes the use of computers as mind-tools for teaching and learning. He puts forward the idea of using of computers as tools for students to construct and create their own learning and knowledge. Computers as mind-tools could be used to facilitate the acquiring of higher-order type of thinking skills (e.g., creative thinking).

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