Digital Stories Social Studies 7th grade ELL classroom

For an example of an unit that makes use of digital stories, click here:

The National Storytelling Network ( defines:

“Storytelling as an ancient art form and a valuable form of human expression”

  • By telling a story we have the chance to share our culture, our ideas, our knowledge and points of view.
  • Digital storytelling is a story that uses images to support the development of it. It enhances the power of any story by adding still images that relate to the narrative and aid in delivering a more engaging message .
  • In the case of ELL students, digital stories help them express understanding relying on other media than written language. Additionally It has the potential to improve students’ literacy development , and learning how to work in collaborative tasks if the project is done as group work. Students benefits from being involved in active learning that produces relevant content. This type of learning promotes transfer as well, a very useful tool for ELLs to apply what they learn to other contexts.

**Seven points to consider when working with digital stories **Taken from The Center for Digital Storytelling.

    1. Point of view: what is the main point of the story and what is the perspective of the author?
    2. A dramatic question: a key question that keeps the viewer’s attention and will be answered by the end of the story.
    3. Emotional content: serious issues that come alive in a personal and powerful way and connects the story to the audience.
    4. The gift of your voice: a way to personalize the story to help the audience understand the context.
    5. The power of the soundtrack: music or other sounds that support and embellish the storyline.
    6. Economy: using just enough content to tell the story without overloading the viewer.
    7. Pacing: the rhythm of the story and how slowly or quickly it progresses.


Steps to create a digital story :

1.construct a story based on a text, a fictional event, or on a personal experience.

2. use story board to build smooth events development.

3. create a narration that goes along with the story told by pictures.

4. choose appropriate software.

5. create slide show

6. add narrative. Create several drafts and peer review.

7 edit final touches/ rearrange pictures if needed, or adapt narrative as needed.

8. present story using smartboard or alike technology from a computer.

Software for creating digital stories. There are several options, I highlighted the one I will use in my unit:

    • Windows Movie Maker: freely available on all Windows computers using XP or a later operating system.  Movie Maker is the software that can be used to put together the audio narrative, images and other materials. It is the easiest to use. This is the one that will be used in the unit.
    • Audacity: a free audio editor which can be downloaded free from the internet.
    • PhotoStory 3 for Windows: free software downloadable from Microsoft for creating digital stories.  It does though put the emphasis on the images more than the narrative, so is not necessarily the best tool for creating digital stories for educational purposes.
    • Microsoft Power Point: it allows you to add sound to the slides; however, the narration has to be carefully timed, otherwise it trims the beginning and the end of the recording. It may not be the best for adding a recorded narration to a digital story.
    • iMovie: free software on Apple computers which can be used to create a story telling; very useful.
    • iPhoto: free software that can be used to manipulate images.




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