Pairing Digital Storytelling with Research

Creating a digital story puts a modern twist on writing that combines multiple student standards into an engaging project with a fun end product.

One way to introduce the power of digital storytelling with younger students is in combination with student research projects.  The digital story could be an engaging alternative to a standard research paper or report that incorporates a host of technology application skills with the writing process.

Consider these steps in an elementary class research project on landforms, climate, culture and the geographic regions of the world:

Students work in groups to research a geographic region; they collect information, images and source documentation about the region.

The teacher creates a starter story (see Prezi example below) to engage students and give them a model to follow for the creation of their own digital story.

Students use the teacher template to create a travel adventure story told from the perspective of a class mascot or pet; information and images from group research are creatively incorporated into details of the story.

Students work collaboratively in groups to record audio and embed images in their digital story.

Students present their stories to the rest of the class and/or an authentic audience from outside their own classroom.

Once the group digital story is completed, students have a good foundation and can apply the elements learned in the process to create independent digital stories.

Digital Story Starter Example

Click HERE if the embedded Prezi below does not load properly.

By assembling research facts into a digital story similar to this one, students are achieving multiple objectives including:

  • locating, evaluating, synthesizing and presenting ideas and information
  • participating in the writing process (drafting, editing, revising)
  • evaluating written composition for coherence and relevance to the topic
  • storyboarding and planning
  • managing and manipulating digital files
  • navigating digital hardware and software
  • evaluating and applying technology tools for meeting creative needs
  • respecting the intellectual property rights of others; abiding by copyright and fair use guidelines


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