Digital Storytelling in the ESL Classroom

Tell Me Something About Yourself:

According to Telling Stories: Using Drama and Multimedia with ESL Students, digital storytelling allows ESL students to draw on their cultural strengths and background experiences. Using pictures from home, downloaded pictures about their cultures and music, students are encouraged to develop a narrative about themselves, their families, their culture, or other things that are important to them. In addition to providing students who might otherwise be reticent to express themselves using more traditional means (writing and speaking) digital stories easily allow for the opportunity to celebrate students' work. Much like our assignment here, students’ digital stories can be posted on a class website, blog or wiki. A department wide digital story contest can further showcase the talents of students who often otherwise feel disadvantaged relative to native speakers. The personal and public nature of the assignment further encourages students to invest their time and energy to create an engaging, quality product.


The digital story telling tool used to create my example model story is Microsoft Photostory 3. Photostory 3 is a free application that allows users to create a presentation from their digital photos and embedded audio. This product was chosen for its ease of use as well as its compatibility with the PC/Microsoft standard on our campus and because it is readily availability on campus and in our ESL labs for students who might not have access to technology in their homes.


Evaluation criteria for a digital story of this purpose could include such measures as:
  • Establishing the story's purpose
  • Appropriateness of the content to the story and the audience
  • Audio and image coordination
  • Pacing
  • Creativity


Sample Digital Story Telling Rubrics


Telling Stories: Using Drama and Multimedia with ESL students
How to Use Digital Storytelling in Your Classroom
Educational Uses of Digital Story Telling
Digital Story Telling in the ESL classroom
The Case for Digital Story Telling
Moving at the Speed of Creativity
Digital Storytelling and Emotional Brandbuilding
Discovering Digital Stories

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