Collaborative Learning: Transformation Level

5-8 Lesson

Digital Storytelling: Breaking Boundaries One Byte at a Time

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Grade Level


Classroom Configuration:

  • Whole group activity, with small groups using mobile laptops simultaneously

Common Core State Standards: ELA

  • Production and Distribution of Writing
    Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
    With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
    With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of two pages in a single sitting.
    Research to Build and Present Knowledge
    Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources.
    Range of Writing
    Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
    Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
    Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.
    Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when appropriate to task and situation.
    Arizona Educational Technology Standards (2009)

    • Strand 2: Communication and Collaboration
      • Concept 1: Effective Communications and Digital Interactions
        • PO 1: Communicate digitally with others by selecting and using a variety of appropriate communication tools.
      • Concept 2: Digital Solutions
        • PO 1: Contribute to a cooperative learning project and demonstrate effective group behaviors while using digital collaborative resources.
      • Concept 3: Global Connections
        • PO 1: Communicate with individuals from different cultures or geographic areas to explore a variety of perspectives.
    • Strand 3: Research and Information Literacy
      • Concept 2: Processing
        • PO 4: Use appropriate digital tools to synthesize research information and develop new ideas.
        • PO 5: Follow copyright laws when using text, video and images and/or other sources and obtain permission to use the work ot others, and cite resources appropriately.
    • Strand 4: Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving and Decision Making
      • Concept 1: Investigation
        • PO 1: Write an essential question to investigate a topic or issue using digital tools and resources.
      • Concept 2: Exploring Solutions
        • PO 1: Plan and manage research using credible digital resources to develop solutions to answer a question.
        • PO 2: Generate solutions from different perspectives using collected resources and data.
    • Strand 5: Digital Citizenship
      • Concept 2: Leadership for Digital Citizenship
        • PO 1: Exhibit digital citizenship by consistently leading by example and advocating social and civic responsibility to others.


    • Students will understand that digital storytelling is an effective way to have their voices heard and make a meaningful connection with others.
    • Students will identify a topic, brainstorm ideas around that topic and write a personal narrative.
    • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the role images play in a story and will create or find appropriate images to support their story.
    • Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of digital storytelling. They will translate their words and images into a digital story in such a way that others will understand or appreciate their point of view.
    • Students will communicate and work collaboratively with peers, teachers and e-Pals.


    • Teacher finds schools in other countries who wish to exchange digital stories by using e-Pals, a global exchange site, Skype in the Classroom, or other service to connect with a global classroom.
    • Whole class discussion (This can be done face to face or through a Blog post on a class site.)
      • Have you ever exchanged conversations of life stories with others of your age from far corners of the world?
      • Have you ever wondered about what people your age do in a 24 hour day?
      • What do they do at school?
      • What do they do for fun?
      • How can we learn about people our age who live in other parts of the world?
    • Through discussion, plan to implement student idea to create a digital movie, a digital story about themselves..
      • What is digital storytelling? Digital storytelling is a term used to describe how ordinary people can use digital media to tell authentic, real-life stories.
      • Why do people tell stories?
      • What are the elements of a good story?
      • How is my personal story the same or different from others?
    • Students learn aspects and tips of Digital Storytelling using website(s). (Some guidance from teacher needed.)
    • Students will be posed the question, “Suppose you could share one aspect of your life as an extension of friendship with another person of the same age in a village in Africa or another part of the world. What aspect would you share and why?”
    • Teacher proposes Digital Storytelling Rubric for use in the project. Students may suggest changes or additions in the rubric.
      • Students will be assigned to write a personal narrative story.
      • Students are to develop the story topic based on an aspect of their lives or some part of their daily life.
      • Students will participate in the writing process to revise and edit written work of their own and shared with a partner or small group.
      • Students will create or find digital images from copyright free Internet sites to support their story. Or, use their own digital images.
      • Using video editing software, students will transform their written personal narratives into a digital story using an audio narration, digital photographs and images, and music. Students will determine the exact composition of their stories, keeping the rubric in mind.
      • Students will export their movies in a format that is suitable to upload to the global exchange site. (Quicktime is a common standard).
      • Movies will be shared with peers and assessed by the teacher and themselves with the Digital Storytelling Rubric before being uploaded to exchange site. Teacher may also consider having students assess each others’ stories with the rubric.
    • Teacher or student helpers will upload student digital stories to the exchange site.
    • Through the exchange of digital “life stories” students from all participating countries will share how and why we do what we do every day, to spark thought and discussion, and to gain new insights about their lives and the lives of others.
      • Discussions may take place in e-Pals email exchange, through Skype in the Classroom, or another service.
    • To conclude project, students will reflect, in a format of their choice (blog, wiki, collaborative online document, paper, other Web tool), about what they learned most from exchanging movies and email with other students from around the world.



    Quicktime is part of the Mac OS systems. No download needed.


Technology Integration Matrix





Goal Directed