For my study, my driving question is: Does using digital storytelling impact student achievement in reading? One seminal person researching in the area of my driving question is Joe Lambert. Joe Lambert founded The Center for Digital Storytelling in the 1990s. When he started he said he wanted to make expression on video the "typing" of the 21st century. He goes around the world teaching Digital Storytelling. Lambert feels that the world is starting to see the importance of creativity and digital storytelling is part of that. He believes that people should be telling the story of their lives to make them a complete person. Another person is Daniel Meadows. He was an English photographer and teacher. He turned his photos into digital stories. He taught a class called "Digital Storytelling and Photography." He has also lectured widely about digital storytelling. Both of these men are associated with the website: http://digitalstorytelling.coe.uh.edu/index.cfm. On their website they give example stories of Digital Storytelling, promote digital storytelling software, and give a step by step instructions on how to create digital stories. According to the website, Samantha Morra came up with these eight steps to create a digital story:
I feel these steps work with any program and give a good guide to digital storytelling. I will use these steps in my work with my driving question. This website gives a lot of good information especially for teachers who are interested in starting digital stories with their students. My students will be retelling a story using digital storytelling.
“What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must we want for all children in the community. Any other ideal for our schools is narrow and unlovely; acted upon, it destroys our democracy”
Our educational system should be nothing but the best for the students. If it is not the highest quality then students are not going to be ready as an adult and might not contribute to society. Darling-Hammond spells out a great sample of how the educational system could change. She is looking at it to help the students. The students should be the focus of any educational program. If we are not teaching to our students needs then we are not helping the students learn. The state and federal governments need to set up grants and other ways to fund educational programs, including teacher and administrator professional development. If these things could be in place teachers would have a better platform for teaching the 21st century learners. We need to teach students how to think, everything is in the palm of their hands (they can just Google it). But we want students to be thinkers. We want to be able to teach them to ask questions and think outside of the box. As teachers we need to know how to teach beyond the basics. If we followed Darling-Hammond's plan we possible reach this goal of better educating our students to prepare them for the future.
According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading scores have not changed in fourth grade in 2015 compared to the 2013 scores. As opposed to the 8th grade scores which was two points lower in 2015 compared to 2013 scores (https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/reading_math_2015/#reading?grade=4). The 2017 CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress) English Language Arts results show that 43.90% of third graders met or exceeded the standard. This percentage is higher compared to the 38% of third graders who met or exceeded the standard in 2015. The overall percentage for grades 3rd-11th also increased from 44% in 2015 to 48% in 2017. But decreased from 49% to 48.56% from 2016 to 2017 (https://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr17/yr17rel67a.asp).
Dr. Regina Royer and Dr. Patricia O. Richards did a study that "examines the effect that creating a digital story has on teachers' understanding of how digital storytelling can be used to increase reading comprehension" (Royer, Richards 2007). Their study concluded that digital story telling has uses in all subject areas and with certain guidelines can help improve reading skills. In order to get this success teachers have to create their own digital story. After reading this article, I will use the guidelines they listed, including using graphic organizers, and create my own digital story in order to see the potential of the lesson.
In other research, Therese Kulla-Abbott (2006) conducted a qualitative study to answer the question "How does creating a 'digital story' impact children's literacy skills?" The study was in three parts. First, they figured out the technological tools they were going to use along with developing a plan. Next, the students created stories based on personal narratives to "develop voice and include emotion" (Kulla-Abbott, 2006). Lastly, after they mastered the first two steps, they created another digital story with a different genre. By the end they realized students were able to "recognize the importance of organization, story, voice, emotion, pacing, economy of words, and value of re-writing while developing presentation skills" (Kulla-Abbott, 2006). Even though these students were older than mine, I feel my students can still develop story structure by using digital stories to retell our selection.
In a third research study, Cecilia Candreva (2011) investigated the effect of digital literacy on kindergarten students' engagement. Students learned how to use the digital tools and collaborated with other students. They also ended up planning out their stories. Candreva (2011) also concluded that students who had fine motor difficulties and English Learners were more engaged in the learning. This is insightful to see that the students were not limited by their language. I am curious to see how this will be with my English Learners.
The district in which I will be doing my research has been pushing technology for the last couple of years. Two years ago we received Chromebooks for each student (1:1 devices). The district has also been pushing for technology training. Each school now has a "Technology Specialist" to help with training staff and trouble shooting. At the school, we have a lot of access to technology. Within the classroom we have document cameras, Epson projectors, Smartboard Software, and 1:1 devices for our students. My principal is able to send some of the staff to CUE (Computer Using Educators) conferences. This helps us see more uses of the technology that we currently have. I feel I have not been utilizing the technology to its fullest. My students are not always interested in the stories that we are required to use within the curriculum and sometimes (especially the nonfiction) the students have trouble retelling the important details of the stories. I realized my students love using the computers and I thought by combing the story and digital storytelling maybe there will be more of an interest in the learning.