As an advocate for the appropriate use of digital storytelling to support learning inside and outside the classroom, I am constantly on the lookout for educational research which explores not only the ways digital storytelling can be used effectively to support learning, but also the REASONS it SHOULD be used. Last December when I had an opportunity to visit the Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii, I was intrigued to learn school leaders had emphasized (among other things) the support for instructional strategies emphasizing “nonlinguistic representations” of ideas afforded via digital technologies when they made the case for a 1:1 laptop initiative several years ago. Classroom instructional strategies emphasizing nonlinguistic representations are included in Robert Marzano, Debra Pickering, and Jane Pollock’s 2004 book “Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement.” While teachers and students in 1:1 learning environments certainly do not HAVE to use instructional and learning strategies which include or focus on nonlinguistic representations, the multimedia capabilities of modern computers make those instructional practices more powerful then ever since digital representations can be easily and affordably shared with others separated by space and time.
Dr. Glen Bull’s article “Storytelling in the Web 2.0 Era” in the February 2008 issue of ISTE’s Learning and Leading with Technology Magazine (unfortunately not published on the open web, it requires a login to the Members Only Area to view it) includes the following observations about why digital storytelling tools (specifically those utilized by Alan Levine in his amazing project, 50 Tools to Tell a Digital Story) can be used in ways well-supported by educational research. Dr. Bull writes:
Employing these new capabilities in ways that enhance learning will require thoughtful integration. Pavio’s dual coding theory suggests that verbal and visual systems coexist in the mind and that employing both visual and verbal information many facilitate learning. The National Reading Panel has cited instructional imaging techniques as among the more promising ways of fostering comprehension development. Emerging Web 2.0 tools will provide new opportunities to do this.
I have not been acquainted previously with dual-coding theory, and appreciate this reference in the context of digital storytelling and learning. The WikiPedia article for dual-coding theory includes a succinct summary of the theory, but also makes suggestions related to multimedia slide presentations which students as well as teachers might want to consider in greater depth. The current article states:
A multimedia presentation that shows multiple visuals such as an image of a speaker as well as the text that the speaker is reading, such as a series of bullet points, could overwhelm the viewer, depending on the person and the situation, because the viewer must now attend to two images.
Dual-coding theory differentiates between “Analogue codes” and “Symbolic codes.” I had not really thought about the difference as I compose slides for my presentations. Symbolic codes include assumptions we make about the background knowledge as well as experiences of our audience. Analog codes are physical stimuli, which I assume includes visual images, which may be interpreted differently by individuals based on their existing schema as well.
According to the 2003 report “Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read” visualization is a key element of understanding and retention. Report authors noted:
Good readers often form mental pictures,or images,as they read. Readers (especially younger readers) who visualize during reading understand and remember what they read better than readers who do not visualize. Help your students learn to form visual images of what they are reading. For example, urge them to picture a setting, character, or event described in the text.
Digital storytelling is not merely fun and engaging. It can be used in powerful ways to support learning, and as Dr. Bull notes, “foster comprehension development.”
Interested in helping your students learn more effectively and transfer their learning into different cognitive domains? Consider integrating digital storytelling into the learning menu which you present to your students this year inside and outside of class.
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On this day..
- Triple Threat in Tech: A Reflection - 2016
- Visualize: Sticky Learning (Visual Notetaking) - 2014
- A Renaissance in Educational Podcasting - 2014
- Recorded Audio & Resources from my #otaem12 Presentations Today - 2012
- Standards Mapping the Common Core to Everyday Instruction and Teaching - 2012
- Can You Do That? Legal Issues in Tech Administration #otaem12 - 2012
- Visioning New Schools with David Warlick - 2012
- Anywhere, Anytime Learning by Janet Barresi - 2012
- Montana Voices: Digital Vision for Schools 2011 Challenge #mtvision - 2011
- Learning with iPad #msmeca11 - 2011