Friday, November 2, 2012

Educational Implications of Digital Storylines

Since we were young, we have been fascinated in reading storybooks, because the engaging scenarios and characters are so vivid that offers us lots of enjoyable reading and unforgettable learning experience. Also, the well-illustrated pictures always have a magic to lead our thoughts to another world, making it possible for us to spread the wings of imagination. Hence, we can use story-lines in our teaching to enhance study language skills, especially digital story-lines, since computer sciences are booming to such a large extent that we can not avoid the trend involving techonolgies in any way in modern education. It is a practical avenue for L2 educators and learners to present their ideas and voices.

7 Things You Should Know About Digital Storytelling gives us a comprehensive view about the rationale of using digital story-lines, in which the author pointed out that "The storyteller then assembles rich media to support the ideas and emotions in that script, including music or other audio effects, personal or public-domain images, animations or video, and other electronic elements." Hence, compared with the traditional storybook, digital story telling can apply the element of multi-media, like pictures, musics, and other visual effects, enabling students to enjoy a verbal, visual and audio feast when reading digital stories. We also read The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling in class. "Digital Storytelling is the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories. " and the author gives us lots of inspiring ideas about the topics that can be used in the class room -  "historical events,  life in one's own community  or life in other corners of the universe."

As future L2 teachers, we can design a series of interactive activities and practical projects inside and outside the classrooms by using the digital story-lines. For example, we can let students to
1) describe a familiar place, like school or hometown
2) describe a person, like teacher, friend or family members.
3) describe an object that is special for you.
4) describe an unforgettable experience
5) tell a joke
6) tell a fable

Teaching Plan

Students Profile: International ESL adult learners / High Intermediate level

Topic: Describing a familiar place

Teaching objectives: 
1) Linguistic goal:
  • To be able to describe a place that is very familiar to the students, like hometown or school
  • Scrutinize specific cultural symbols or elements in that place, like buildings, transportation, people, signature products, etc.
2) Pedagogical goal:
  • Logical Chain: Expanding ideas and following a series of patterns to describe certain topics
  • Emotional factors: students will be motivated to describe something from their culture either school or the city they come from, because warm affection will be attached in it and the affective filter can be lowered down. 
3) Cultural goal:
  • Being aware of one's own culture 
  • Trying to appreciate others' cultures
Teaching procedure:
  • choosing a topic
  • initiating an outline 
  • selecting suitable pictures
  • creating a digital storybook
  • sharing it on class Twitter account
  • giving comments on classmates' works
  • The number of pages (Minimum: 6pages)
  • Pictures (quantity and quality)
  • Texts (quantity and quality)
  • Writing conventions and mechanics (grammar, spelling, capitalization, etc.)
  • Participation (posting on time and giving comments on others' work)


  1. That sounds like a good lesson plan. I assume that the assessment instrument would be a rubric which the students would have before beginning their work, correct?

    1. Thank you. I agree with the idea of giving the students a rubric in advance, because it's always better for students to know the teachers' expectation and to be goal-oriented.

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