Engaging Hearts and Minds: Using Digital Storytelling in High School ELA Classes to Prepare Students for the 21st Century




Galac, Ana

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This project examines the application of digital storytelling in high school English Language Arts (ELA) classes as a means to engage students in their learning. A particular focus is placed on culturally and linguistically diverse learners to see how digital storytelling can help a wide range of students find their voice through the exploration of personally meaningful topics, including identity and community. Chapter 1 begins with an introduction, which examines the changing landscape of communication practices in the 21st century, and the need to embrace multicultural and multiliteracy practices. Curricular connections and underlining questions are outlined. The second chapter reviews current literature regarding digital storytelling practices through the theoretical lens of Lev Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory, the New London Group’s pedagogy of multiliteracies, and Geneva Gay’s concepts regarding culturally responsive teaching. Literature pertaining to adolescent and English Language Learners, as well as multiliteracies and multimodalities is explored. Chapter 3 connects the literature to the included resources that are located in the Appendix, suggests possible classroom considerations as well as research implications, and concludes with a personal reflection. Within the Appendix teachers will find a guide to pre-teaching visual literacy in ELA classes, followed by a digital storytelling guide, a 9-lesson unit plan, and all related activities, instructions, handouts, and assessment tools. The project is created in the hopes that teachers, especially those of high school students, will see the value in incorporating digital storytelling practices in their own classrooms.



Digital Storyteling