Digital storytelling

Digital storytelling is a relatively new term that refers to stories that include multimedia elements such as photographs, videos, sounds, texts, and also narrative voices, and this has found its way into the classroom in a number of contexts.

Digital stories often present in compelling and emotionally engaging formats, and can be interactive. The term “digital storytelling” can also cover a range of digital narratives (web-based stories, interactive stories, hypertexts, and narrative computer games).

The most important characteristics of a digital story are that it no longer conforms to the traditional conventions of storytelling because it is capable of combining still imagery, moving imagery, sound, and text, as well as being nonlinear and contain interactive features. The expressive capabilities of technology offers a broad base from which to integrate.

Bringing ideas of Constructionism and Play together, digital storytelling, like traditional storytelling, has major potential for a number of general reasons, for example:

  • It increases the enthusiasm to read and re-read, because doing so allows us to find stories
  • can be approached as collaborative work between teams, so the children also develop teamwork skills
  • It improves the ability to listen, and to express ourselves publicly
  • Creating and telling stories allows us to project and express our emotions, feelings, and thoughts
  • It can be used at any age, from pre-school to college
  • Sharing stories helps us put ourselves in the role of others, and stimulates our empathy 

To describe the method we will focus on a specific tool: Scratch

Scratch is a programming language and online community that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, games, and animations—and share your creations online. As young people create and share Scratch projects, they learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively, while also learning important mathematical and computational ideas.

Scratch is easy to use and has a very low barrier of entry, but at the same time it has a power that allows to carry out complex projects. We can create stop-motions, tales, cartoons, collaborative stories, interactive stories, games, all kind of animations, stories of just a few seconds, or composed of several chapters.

It is also multi-platform (suitable for desktop computers, laptops, chrome books, tablets, smartphones), free, multilanguage and can be used with or without internet. Another feature of Scratch is the focus on sharing. Sharing to learn within the class, but also with different communities through the Internet.

Targets of this method

Scratch was designed for children and has a deep pedagogical grounding linked to Constructionism. It can be used in both primary and secondary education, and there is also a version called Scratch Jr that is ideal for early childhood education or for children who cannot yet read.

Because it is translated into multiple languages, it can be used in schools in different countries, and is especially useful in multicultural schools, where different teams may be programming their stories in different languages within the same classroom.

Although the main target of the tool is children, also teachers and families can be coparticipants and beneficiaries.