Should Pre-Service Language Teachers Develop Digital Stories?: Engagement With Digital Storytelling

Should Pre-Service Language Teachers Develop Digital Stories?: Engagement With Digital Storytelling

Melih Derya Gürer (Bolu Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0119-1.ch023
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This study investigated pre-service language teachers' experiences and capabilities in DST as well as their views on the use of DST in language teaching. A case study design was adopted in the current study. Eighty-three pre-service teachers participated in the study, and they created 25 digital stories. Data of this study came from the evaluation of digital stories and open-ended questionnaire. Pre-service teachers' digital stories were analyzed using rubrics and subjected to descriptive statistics. Data from an open-ended questionnaire on pre-service teachers' perceptions regarding the DST in language teaching were analyzed using content analysis. The results revealed that despite being novice DST-developers, pre-service teachers were capable of creating digital stories. They reported that DST had the potential to enhance students' learning outcomes. In addition, they were eager to adopt DST in their future teaching. However, they complained that DST required too much time and effort, and sophisticated information and communication technology skills.
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Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication and has widely been used by teachers at all levels of education, from preschool to adult education. It has also been reported as an effective instructional method to facilitate learning outcomes in language, science, math, and technical education (Sharda, 2007). With the advances in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), today a variety of educational tools, such as Web 2.0 or mobile applications are available. Such improvements have also affected the way teachers design, develop, and use stories for teaching purposes and promoted the emergence of concepts such as digital storytelling (DST).

Digital Storytelling Association (2011, para. 1) provides a comprehensive description of this new concept: “Digital Storytelling is the modern expression of the ancient art of storytelling. Digital stories derive their power by weaving images, music, narrative and voice together, thereby giving deep dimension and vivid color to characters, situations, experiences, and insights”. DST is regarded as the combination of traditional storytelling with digital technologies. With today’s technology, it is possible to create DST by combining text, images, digital camera video, or audio with non-linear authoring tools, Web 2.0 applications, and computers. Digital storytellers publish their products in the forms of web pages, interactive web sites, digital audio, digital videos, online games, or virtual reality worlds (Xu, Park, & Baek, 2011).

With respect to their content and key features, digital stories (DS) can be classified in various ways. Based on content, Robin (2008) offers three types of DS: personal or narrative stories, stories that inform or instruct (the type focused on in this study), and stories that re-tell historical events. According to Park and Seo (2009), DST encompasses certain characteristics including flexibility, universality, interactivity, and community formation. DSs include point of view (the main point in the story and the author’s perspective), a dramatic question (a question that keeps the audience motivated), emotional content (establishing a powerful personal connection between the audience and the story), the gift of the narrators’ voice (personalization of the story for the audience), the power of the soundtrack (the music embedded), economy (presenting the content in a concise manner avoiding cognitive or sensory overload), and pacing (the rhythm of the story) (CDS, 2005).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Schema: A general knowledge structure that provides a framework for organizing clusters of knowledge.

Learning Design Process: A pedagogical framework for learners to create digital stories. It includes pre-production, production, post-production, and distribution phases.

Story Mapping: A visual tool showing the facts, thoughts, and relations among the concepts in a story.

Instructional Digital Stories: Digital stories specifically aimed to be used for teaching course contents.

Digital Storytelling: A new form of storytelling art combining narratives, digital images, audio, and videos.

Story Grammar: A framework including the basic elements of a story and the rules that explain the relationship between these elements.

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