In recent years 70% said that anxiety and depression are a major problem among their peers.(1) Post pandemic statistics now show that figure closer to 80%. This has placed the social emotional health of students in the spotlight, and forced schools to be deliberate about how they are addressing it. Quality SEL involves ensuring that the programs are equitable and inclusive of the diverse needs of all students. So how can digital storytelling contribute to a solution?
Digital storytelling represents a path to happier, healthier students and a more equitable classroom while teaching the necessary skills to succeed in the modern workplace. That may sound boastful and hyperbolic, but current research bears it out. Consider these ways that digital storytelling can help.
- It captures the individual stories of students in your classroom, celebrates their uniqueness, develops their individual voice and helps them learn that their story has value.
- It gives students a choice about how to best tell the story they have inside them.
- Digital storytelling requires us to listen to others, building empathy and understanding for a point of view.
- Digital Storytelling means that the true lived experience of each individual can be shared with the class, making for a more equitable environment. (2)
- It allows students to become teachers on a regular basis.
- It gives a broader understanding of communication skills beyond the written word, allowing students to communicate in the spoken word, pictures, music and art.
- Digital storytelling is closer to the kind of communication that is a part of modern social media and allows us to help kids to understand it, while teaching them prosocial norms and norms and prosocial behaviors for using them.
- Digital storytelling has shown to improve the social and emotional intelligence of students. (3)
- Digital Storytelling teaches important 21st century skills such as digital literacy, global literacy, technological literacy and Information literacy. (4)
- Digital storytelling is fun. The kids are excited to share their stories, their classmates are excited to watch them and teachers are excited to grade them.
There are countless tools and strategies that can be used to further develop your storytelling capabilities but if you are interested in developing digital storytelling in your curriculum here are a few good places to start.
- Adobe Express: this free online tool from Adobe (formerly called Adobe Spark, offers high quality, low difficulty tools to start building media for storytelling. Whether that be images, videos or web pages, Adobe Express can help students of all ages create high quality, well designed media to support the story they have to tell.
- Draw and Tell: For younger students this simple free tool allows kids to create and narrate stories. It is forgiving of mistakes but still produces quality stories that can be downloaded and shared.
Thoughtful Digital Storytelling, can have a positive effect on social emotional health, can build a more equitable classroom, has been shown to develop emotional intelligence and develop important 21st century literacies.
Shawn McCusker will be leading the “Expressing Student Learning through Digital Storytelling” course as part of the EdTechTeacher “Summer Learning Pass.” Get access to all of our summer courses with one single membership. It’s like enrolling in one course and getting all 12 of them!
- “The Epidemic of Anxiety Among Today’s Students | NEA.” https://www.nea.org/advocating-for-change/new-from-nea/epidemic-anxiety-among-todays-students. Accessed 13 Jan. 2023.
- “Teach Using the Lived Experiences of Your Students – Edutopia.” 30 Jun. 2015, https://www.edutopia.org/blog/teach-using-lived-experiences-your-students-rebecca-alber. Accessed 13 Jan. 2023.
- “The effects of digital storytelling with group discussion on social and ….” 21 Feb. 2022, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23311908.2021.2004872. Accessed 13 Jan. 2023.
- “Digital Storytelling: Benefits, Examples, Tools & Tips | Research.com.” 5 Oct. 2022, https://research.com/education/digital-storytelling. Accessed 13 Jan. 2023.