Based on the article by Barrett, "Digital Storytelling facilitates the convergence of four student-centered learning strategies: student engagement, reflection for deep learning, project based learning, and the effective integration of technology into instruction."
While digital storytelling is fun, engaging and powerful in the eyes of students and teachers, data is going to be detrimental to administrators in order to rationalize the money that will be needed to fund the staff development and technology tool costs associated with digital storytelling in schools. Data is also detrimental to the persuasion tactics that some administrators and staff developers will need to engage unwilling educators to participate in the digital storytelling revolution.
Since the advent of digital cameras, video cameras and cell phones with camera/film capabilities, digital storytelling has become an easy new learning tool for willing teachers and students across all grade levels. Applications like PhotoStory, MovieMaker and Frames have to be purchased, but there are also free online story telling tools such as VoiceThread, Xtranormal, Animoto and Mixbook.
Teachers that are interested in learning more about digital storytelling should start by visiting the Center for Digital Storytelling. The Center for Digital Storytelling assists educators around the world in using digital media to share, record and value the stories of their lives. It is the goal of the center to promote artistic expression, health and well-being, and justice. Other resources for digital storytelling include Alan Levine's CogDogRoo site: 50+ Ways to Tell a Digital Story, as well as Silvia Tolisano's Langwitches' Blog Post on Digital Storying. Larry Ferlazzo also has a great post on the Best Digital Storytelling Resources on his Website of the Day Blog.
Personally, I love using digital storytelling with my students. Most recently we finished a storytelling unit on Tall Tales where groups of students were given the task of retelling and elaborating on an assigned Tall Tale story. The video below was inspired by Lee LeFever and Common Craft videos and it was created using a Flip Camera and edited within MovieMaker.
While my students were provided with a very specific rubric at the beginning of this particular Tall Tale assignment, I know that this type of assessment does not indicate or document the impact that the digital storytelling process has on student learning, motivation and engagement, nor does it show how teaching practices and strategies change with technology integration.
I will say, however, that there has been an improvement in the quality of student work since we began introducing this year's class to digital storying this past September. While the visually appealing end result is engaging to on-lookers, there was a lot of note-taking, research, reading, writing, editing and digital literacy skills that are involved in digital storytelling. These are the same skills involved in writing essays and reports, but from my perspective: digital storytelling is so much cooler in the eyes of a child.
If you haven't tried using any of these digital storytelling tools with your students, I would hope you would make the effort to try. While you might not officially collect data on the impact digital storytelling has on student learning, motivation and engagement, you'd give yourself the opportunity to practice with the tools and the strategies that would make digital storytelling successful for you.
“The only real failure in life is the failure to try." ~Anonymous