Digital storytelling is a powerful and engaging educational practice that allows students of all grades to tell their story. Using their own voice and visuals, students can use digital storytelling apps to express their emotion, tell a story and engage an audience. For Sarah Morrison’s Kindergarten class at Vedder Elementary in Chilliwack, having 10 iPads with apps like Book Creator, Puppet Pals and Doodle Buddy allowed her students to create and communicate while embracing the educational framework of Universal Design for Learning.
Since the students are at the early stages of literacy, the Kindergarten students needed a way to convey their message and tell their story. The communication competency of BC’s New curriculum allowed her young students the ability to “impart and exchange information, experiences and ideas, to explore the world around them and to understand and effectively engage in the use of digital media.” (https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/competencies/communication)
On one particular day, the students were learning about St Patricks’ Day and had to create a fun fictional story about a leprechaun. Instead of writing sentences, students were able to tell a creative story about meeting a leprechaun by narrating alongside their visual. And then, after spring break, students were learning about the life cycle of a potato while growing one themselves. Using the iPad and Popplet app, students were able to describe the steps of a potato beginning with the seed.
At first, Sarah found the process of introducing the technology to be a bit daunting because not only were the students learning how to use an iPad with the appropriate apps, she was learning them herself. She said, “The students view iPads and other technology as a toy and a place to play games. It was hard to get them out of that mind set. Once introduced to an app, the students quickly discovered the joy that an app could bring to them. It helped many of my students who often get stuck on the process of “writing” or drawing really express themselves and be creative.”
Sarah also adds that “Technology is another way for students to learn. While taking my graduate diploma I learned about Universal Design for Learning. Having technology in my class has helped me add a tool (one that most kids are comfortable with) for learning. The students that really have a hard time expressing themselves were given opportunity to use another tool besides paper, pencil or felt specifically during writing times.”
Her ultimate goal with the Kindergarten students is for them to create a digital portfolio of their outdoor learning but for now, allowing students to express themselves with the help of technology has been rewarding. She quips, “I realize I teach Kindergarten students but these kids come in having more knowledge than I do even at age 4 and 5.”
To learn more about the technology used in this SETstory, search for it by name in learningSET.