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Creating and Using Blended Learning Classrooms - Feb 20 through March 11, 2020

Materials for Week 2, Feb 27-March 4 - Tools for Digital Storytelling


Digital Stories are ways that students can creatively express themselves in digital format using multimedia tools or a combination of many tools (or a single tool) to create a narrative for whatever purpose they are assigned or wish themselves to communicate. The tools involved in creating digital stories are of use to teachers wishing to set up blended and flipped learning classrooms. Here's a Wikipedia characterization, focused on uses in education:



Introducing Twitter


Twitter can be a reliable component to a Learning Management System. It was a successful part of the blended learning environments that I created for each place I visited in my workshops in Thailand this past January. In my workshops I introduced its use here:


The idea was to have each set of participants use a tag-of-the-day for their workshop and use that tag to aggregate any content they created online so that when the tag was searched on in a given tool, we could see at one link what had been produced by that group of participants.


Here are the twitter searches on the tags created during each of the workshops in Thailand


Latest tweets (all of them) from


How to submit links to your work on Twitter


To do the same thing for this workshop, all you have to do is tweet links to your work, and tag them #blended2020


They will then appear in this tag search


This search gives you the LATEST tweets with the tag your are searching on. A default serch will give you only the TOP tags.

For our purposes, we want to see everyone's tweets (on our tag)


This is one of your missions during Week 2



In this way ALL tweets about the course (containing the hash tag #blended2020 will appear under that tag


Try it, and if you are using Twitter with your students, or looking for a way to use Twitter with your students, then you will see how you might  encorporate this method into your own blended learning classrooms.


Rationale for Digital Storytelling


The focus of this course is not on digital storytelling in the classroom (with students) per se, but on employing digital storytelling tools as an option for mounting and managing components of a Blended Learning Classroom. Nevertheless it's useful to look at why students and their teachers might want to become familiar with such tools.


Smeda, N., Dakich, E. & Sharda, N. The effectiveness of digital storytelling in the classrooms: a comprehensive study. Smart Learn. Environ. 1, 6 (2014). Available:


There are more articles in the Digital Storytelling in the Classroom Guide, which you can download here:


Here are some more sites that came up when I googled Why use digital storytelling in my classroom




7 Elements of Digital Storytelling


This page explains "the" seven elements of digital storytelling, but teachers can probably get by with fewer than these


Here the seven elements are covered in a 4 minute video:



The seven elements are 

  1. Point of view - ask yourself three questions:
    1. "What is the point of the story?"
    2. "Who am I telling the story to?"
    3. "Why am telling the story now?"
  2. Dramatic question - "good stories grab and connect with you by employing a question that need to be answered"
  3. Emotional content - "We all connect to ... emotions like desire, revelation, humor, crisis, lessons learned, and redemption"
  4. voice - "Your voice is a great gift and we appreciate it when you share it"
  5. soundtrack - "Your soundtrack should complement story and not distract from it;" some tips:
    1. "avoid using vocal songs"
    2. "ask a friend to create a song"
    3. "try using garageband"
    4. and my own: explore online repositories of royalty-free digital music 
  6. pacing - "We need time to absorb and process the information we've been presented; tips
    1. "use blank space for dramatic effect by fading to black,"
    2. or "change up the pace by how long images stay on the screen" 
  7. Economy - two to four minutes; as Shakespeare wrote (in Hamlet): "Brevity is the soul of wit"


You can google Digital Storytelling Ideas


Here are some hits  ...




Examples of Digital Storytelling


Iranian short film (just over 1 min) that won an award at the Luxor Film Festival



How can you use this in class? Get your students to


An example from a student NNS of English


In the plenary I gave at ThaiTESOL,

I presented two other examples.


One is a video obviously made by a student about her mother, where she prepared a script, delivered it admirably despite some minor NNS errors, illustrates her talk in expressive imagery, and puts it all together into a video presentation,



A pair of videos showing process and result


The second example, actually a pair of videos, was done by someone who explains how a digital storytelling project can be conceived and implemented on a video editing platform (though such tools are not absolutely necessary), - and then shows a 2-minute video where her digital story describes her learning journey in coming to grips with playing the cajón,



Ths first one of this pair seems to be promoting a commercial product that will allow you to storyboard and then implement your creation by arranging and editing video in the tool provided, but results appropriate to language learning (or teaching on low budgets) could be achieved through other means. The resulting video, just a minute 16 seconds, conveys a narrative in an interesting way, and as you can see the process in the first video, instructively.


Numerous tools for Digital Storytelling


You can use PowerPoint


You don't need special tools. This video explains how to use PowerPoint animations to create digital stories



You can Google and find countless tools


Here are just 7 Tools



the seven tools are


WeVideo has a catch (two of them, actually) - Free trial for only 30 days, K-12 educator email required to qualify for that!





Ten tools recommended by Richard Byrne



Richard Byrne introduces ten tools and includes links to his own video demos of most of them.

He also includes virtual reality and podcasting tools


The ten tools are, In addtion to Adobe Spark, Bookcreator, and WeVideo

Plus Two VR Tools

And two for podcasting

Here are another ten tools



the ten tools are

In addtion to Stellar, 9 additionally

And three from Knightlab


18 tools listed here



there is a further breakdown of websites and apps


11 websites for digital storytelling

In addtion to Storybird


7 apps for digital storytelling

in addtion to Sock Puppets and WeVideo


30 tools with annotions copy / pasted here 


And at I just copy/pasted here



Leave your reviews in our discussion at Schoology


Please have a look at one of more of these tools and leave your review(s) in a discussion of them at Schoology


Your main mission for week 2 - Create a digital story


Here's the mission in fine print


By the end of this week, and with guidance from the instructor and other participants,

craft and create a digital story using some of the tools and techniques identified in Weeks 1 and 2 at these URLs



If you have questions or need help




Three sample digital stories created by the English Language Specialist



Make one like the last example here:

(see next section) 


Create a digital story in 3 or 4 minutes on Flipgrid


At a loss? (or just don't have time)?

Record your digital story here (in 3 or 4 minutes)


Visit this link


psst ... the password is blended2020


  1. Log in with Google or Microsoft
  2. Allow the widget to use your mic and webcam


Detailed instructions on how to do this



That's how you start. Click on the video icon to record, monitor your timer to see how much longer you have,

and don't stop till you reach this point:



And when you've done it ...



If you can't work it out get your students to explain it to you, or just ask us :-)




Participant examples on Flipgrid



And you can click on our Twitter search on #blended2020 to find links to this and other content created by participants here



These materials were created by Vance Stevens 

for presentation at  ELSpecialist workshops and ThaiTESOL in Thailand in January, 2020

You are free to share-alike and with attribution under

The date of this update is March 4, 2020