The Educational Use of Digital Storytelling in Virtual Classes of Entrepreneurship: A Comprehensive Study of Students' Perceptions

The Educational Use of Digital Storytelling in Virtual Classes of Entrepreneurship: A Comprehensive Study of Students' Perceptions

Luisa Cagica Carvalho (Universidade Aberta, Portugal & Universidade de Évora, Portugal) and Bruno Cibrão (Universidade Aberta, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2826-5.ch006


Nowadays there is a consensus on the importance that is given to entrepreneurship in the creation of wealth and employment in countries. In this context, entrepreneurship education is particular relevant. In fact, although there are currently several studies that investigates teaching methods of entrepreneurship in classroom, this subject continues understudied with regard to virtual classes where physical distance can difficult or even make impossible the use of some of the methodologies reported in several studies on this matter. Therefore, this chapter gives some background on the notion of Digital Storytelling, enhancing its relevance to the development of entrepreneurial skills, taking into account their particularities and the appropriate technologies. It also presents a study on the application of this methodology in a virtual class of entrepreneurship at Universidade Aberta (UAb). The results of virtual class students' perception on the use of Digital Storytelling in entrepreneurship teaching, suggests benefits in the use of this methodology.
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Literature Review

Digital Storytelling Concept

Storytelling is the art of telling stories, and thus is a concept with three elements: narrator, story and audience. This technique organizes events in a logical manner, properly structured and appealing, being the oldest way of transmitting knowledge through generations. The stories told clearly influenced the values and behaviours of individuals.

The storyteller is an ancestral figure who has helped people understand better the world. No one can say for sure when it was told the first story. However, the scientific community agrees (Boyd, 2010; Campbell, 1991; Duarte, 2010) to point out the pre-history as the period in which this technique was first used to communicate and share knowledge.

Throughout the ages people told stories, but the way to do it suffered some changes. It started with cave paintings, then switched to oral histories, later on books were used and more recently emerged electronic resources. In fact, the advance of technology allowed audio-visual elements like sounds, images and videos to be digitally embedded in storytelling, thus giving rise to the concept Digital Storytelling. Table 1 shows some Digital Storytelling definitions.

Table 1.
Digital storytelling definitions
Mellon (1999) “… application of multimedia software techniques to the telling of stories.”
Digital Storytelling Association (2002) as cited in (Yuksel, Robin & McNeil, n. d.)“Digital Storytelling is the modern expression of the ancient art of storytelling (…) using digital media to create media-rich stories to tell, to share, and to preserve. Digital stories derive their power through weaving images, music, narrative, and voice together, thereby giving deep dimension and vivid color to characters, situations, and insights.”
Meadows (2003) “… short, personal multimedia tales told from the heart.”
Armstrong (2003) “… telling stories and sharing information through multimedia.”
Porter (2005) “Digital storytelling takes the ancient art of oral storytelling and engages a palette of technical tools to weave personal tales using images, graphics, music and sound mixed together with the author’s own story voice.”
Robin (2006) “… combining the art of telling stories with a variety of digital multimedia, such as images, audio, and video.”

Therefore Digital Storytelling can be defined as the act of telling little stories through the use of multimedia resources, such as audio, image and video.

The origin of this concept dates back to the late 80s of last century, when Joe Lambert, Nina Mullen and Dana Atchley helped create the Digital Storytelling movement as co-founders of the Center for Digital Storytelling, a non-profit organization located in California.

Since the early 90s, the Center for Digital Storytelling held numerous workshops where has trained and given assistance to people interested in creating and sharing stories about themselves, about other people, places, or even on the communities where they live (Robin, 2008). With the consolidation of Digital Storytelling movement and the interest of an increasing number of people, Digital Storytelling Association was created with representatives from several countries (Gakhar, 2007).

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