A Classroom Experiment On Digital Story Telling English Language Essay

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Many areas of education are undergoing changes in the way teaching and learning is perceived. Teacher-centered lecturing and structural-syllabus instructions are giving way to a more student-centered, hands-on, practical, and flexible approaches (Shank and Cleary, 1994). The field of English language teaching is no exception in this paradigm shift. One of the areas, which came under this paradigm shift, is the traditional Present-Practice-Produce method of teaching English. It has been replaced by Communicative Language Teaching. Digital story telling is part of CLT.

Storytelling is the way we have communicated since our earliest ancestors gathered around a campfire. The stories and anecdotes we share with one another are the way we let each other know who we are, what we care about, where we come from, where we are going and, most importantly, what we care about. Stories are how we connect on the most fundamental, human level. Stories are the best way to embody, share and remember knowledge.

Digital Storytelling is the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories. As with traditional storytelling, most digital stories focus on a specific topic and contain a particular point of view. However, as the name implies, digital stories usually contain some mixture of computer-based images, text, recorded audio narration, video clips and/or music. Digital stories can vary in length, but most of the stories used in education typically last between two and ten minutes. And the topics that are used in Digital Storytelling range from personal tales to the recounting of historical events, from exploring life in one's own community to the search for life in other corners of the universe, and literally, everything in between. This paper talks about a teacher's experience and experiment of digital story telling in a communicative classroom.

What is Storytelling?

"Stories move in circles. They don't move in straight lines. So it helps if you listen in

circles. There are stories inside stories and stories between stories, and finding your way through them is as easy and as hard as finding your way home. And part of the finding is getting lost. And when you're lost, you start to look around and listen."

- Corey Fischer, Albert Greenberg, and Naomi Newman

A Travelling Jewish Theatre from Coming from a Great Distance Excerpted from Writing for Your Life by Deena Metzger

Storytelling is the way we have communicated since our earliest ancestors gathered around a campfire. The stories and anecdotes we share with one another are the way we let each other know who we are, what we care about, where we come from, where we are going and, most importantly, what we care about.

Stories are how we connect on the most fundamental, human level. Stories are the best way

to embody share and remember knowledge. Before the advent of the written word were the

only way of communicating history.

What is Digital Storytelling?

Digital Storytelling is the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories. As with

traditional storytelling, most digital stories focus on a specific topic and contain a particular

point of view. However, as the name implies, digital stories usually contain some mixture of

computer-based images, text, recorded audio narration, video clips and/or music. Digital

stories can vary in length, but most of the stories used in education typically last between

two and ten minutes. And the topics that are used in Digital Storytelling range from personal

tales to the recounting of historical events, from exploring life in one's own community to the

search for life in other corners of the universe, and literally, everything in between.

Watch Digital Story telling introduction " What is Digital Storytelling? on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKZiXR5qUlQ"

How is Digital Storytelling Relevant to Teaching & Learning?

"In [Roger] Schank's 1992 book, Tell Me a Story, he suggests that the cyclical

process of developing increasingly complex levels of stories that we apply to

increasingly sophisticated ways to specific situations is one way to map the

human cognitive development process. Stories are the large and small

instruments of meaning, of explanation, that we store in our memories."

The Digital Storytelling Cookbook

Storytelling and learning are inextricably intertwined because the process of composing a story is also a process of meaning-making. Integrating opportunities for "storytelling" into coursework strengthens course participant learning. Through storytelling, students are asked to reflect on what they know, to examine their (often unquestioned) assumptions, and - through a cyclical process of revision - to record their "cognitive development process." Because the stories provide a record of students' thinking, teachers can use them in assessing student progress toward learning goals.

Technology - everything from Microsoft Word to blogs to iMovie - makes it easier to swap, critique, and revise stories. Digital tools make it possible for authors (even those who aren't very tech savvy) to construct multi-dimensional stories that are conveyed through a combination of hyperlinked, multidimensional words, images, motions, and sounds. Digital storytelling assignments are one way to increase student engagement and commitment - particularly students who do not respond to traditional academic writing assignments. Properly constructed with clear rubrics, digital storytelling assignments are every bit as academically rigorous - and involve just as much "writing" as term paper assignments.

Digital Storytelling in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

Digital storytelling provides rich opportunities for self-reflection. Digital storytelling is also a powerful tool intercultural learning. Students can compare their "stories" with those authored by people from other culture and other life experiences. In doing so, fundamental assumptions can be challenged, questioned, or even reconsidered. People with diverse life experiences can also collaborate across great geographical distances to co-author digital stories that reflect multiple cultural perspectives.

Strategies for learning second and foreign languages are one of the largest and most well researched areas of language education. Accordingly, several scholars have defined the term "language learning strategies," developed typologies and identified over 100 individual strategies (e.g., Rubin, 1987; Oxford, 1990; O'Malley & Chamot, 1990; Stern, 1992; Cohen, 1998). Language learning strategies can best be summed up as particular actions, behaviors or thought processes that learners consciously make use of to enhance their own language learning.

The strategy "Digital Storytelling" is appropriate for communication, corporate presentations and training. Every language teacher today realizes the importance and the relevance of the Computer Aided Language Learning and the worldwide demand for CALL, which helps to understand the language in context and to use it effectively in situations outside the classroom. As a result, changes have been taking place in many areas of education. The field of second/foreign language teaching is no exception in this paradigm shift. But for ELT, it has become a challenge to accommodate the changes due to various reasons.

The strategy "Digital Storytelling" was experimented with students from mixed backgrounds who come under one roof to learn English and Soft Skills. This paper explores ways of 'teaching for meaning' in English language classes using material from the experience of implementing the learning-centered approach at CELT, Osmania University. It describes teaching procedures and activity designs. As they are from mixed backgrounds, it became necessary to see how the merits of different language learning frameworks like Communicative Language Learning, Task-Based Learning and Digital Story Telling can be put together to achieve the best results.

Activities

There are innumerable prompts that might work for various situations. Here is a short list of some themes for which prompts could also be built for powerful stories.

Tell the story of a mentor or hero in your life.

Tell the story of a time when "it just didn't work" - a point, at your job, or at an activity at which you are competent or are usually successful, when every thing fell apart before your eyes.

Describe a time when you felt really scared.

Tell the story of a "first": first day on a job, first time trying some thing really difficult, the first time you heard a favorite song, etc.

And of course, the old standby, what was the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?

Soft Skills (Leadership, Team building, Ten Commandments etc.,)

Conclusion

Today, chalk-and-talk instruction is rendered old fashioned vis-à-vis task based methods. Teachers who have not caught up with the trend can feel defeated and helpless. The challenge for teachers, thus, is to look into creative ways of enhancing learner knowledge using available resources within their reach. In this quest the concept of Digital Storytelling was introduced.

The strategy "Digital Storytelling" was experimented with students of CELT, O.U. Soft skills through story telling help them to understand and retain the concepts. They were highly motivated and participated in creating their own stories. Though it is time consuming it is quite a rewarding experience as they gain useful insights by working in teams to create them. They improve their language as well as personality traits like team building, interpersonal relations, adaptability etc. There are few constraints. They are 1. The classroom should be equipped with multi media (computer, LCD and speakers) and 2. The facilitator should be well versed with computer applications.

Webography of Digital Storytelling

The "Webography" below provides a range of high-quality digital storytelling sites. Browse the list to see the range of things that can be done with the medium.

Story: Language and Literature

Echota Tsalagi Language Revitalization Project (Auburn University)

http://php.auburn.edu/outreach/dl/echota/index.php

English Matters

http://chnm.gmu.edu/ematters

http://chnm.gmu.edu/ematters/issue4/body_current.html

A "digital storytelling" of the Walney Road ghost story - presented as audio,

text, and ethnopoetic transcription

Ethnologue (lesser-known languages of the world)

http://www.ethnologue.com/

Journal of Ordinary Thought (Anything but Ordinary)

http://www.jot.org/jot.html

Every Person Is a Philosopher. JOT is founded on this basic idea and is

dedicated to bringing out the unheard voices and stories of Chicago. Many of

the writers in JOT groups are marginalized from traditional, mainstream

literary circles, because of class, race, physical isolation, or other issues.

Katha

http://www.fictionindia.com/about.asp

http://www.katha.org/Academics/index%20storytellers%20unlimited.html

Started in 1988 by Geeta Dharmarajan, Katha is a nonprofit organization

working in the areas of story, storytelling and story in education. They also

publish and distribute children's books.

The Oneida Indian Nation (Culture and History Section)

http://www.oneida-nation.net/historical.html

The People's Poetry Gathering

http://www.peoplespoetry.org

In the spirit of Brazilian cordel (string) poets who hold forth in marketplaces

with their poetry chapbooks strung across stalls, the People's Poetry

Gathering stretches a clothesline of poems from around the world across the

streets of Lower Manhattan. Includes a "virtual" gathering of storytellers

Points of Entry: Crosscurrents in Storytelling Journal

http://www.pointsofentry.org

This journal "encourages narrative writing in journalism by exploring cross-

currents in storytelling in reporting, fiction, and oral tradition.

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