Storytelling in the Digital Age: Engaging Learners for Cognitive and Affective Gains

By Gayle Cole, Kori Street and Laurel J. Felt.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper examines digital storytelling within the context of IWitness, a new online application developed by the USC Shoah Foundation Institute that engages secondary school students in viewing and interacting with video testimony from Holocaust survivors and other witnesses. After participating in IWitness pilot projects in classroom and professional development settings, high school students and educators respectively shared reflections on their educational trajectories, reported on their own learning, and offered observations about the changes they noticed among themselves and their peers. These data suggest that, as a digital storytelling vehicle, IWitness facilitates cognitive and affective growth, as well as prepares learners for the challenges of 21st century engagement.

Keywords: Visual History, Testimonies, 21st Century Literacies, Storytelling, Digital Storytelling

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp.113-119. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 328.102KB).

Gayle Cole

Online Educational Specialist, Shoah Foundation Institute, The University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA

Gayle Kolodny Cole, Online Educational Specialist, supports the education and outreach programs for USC’s Shoah Foundation Institute. Gayle began her career in education in 1994. Since then, she has worked for Teach for America, non-profits, and public and independent schools. She has a B.A. in Mass Communication from James Madison University, an M.S. in Education with a specialization in Educational Technology from Walden University, and multiple teaching credentials and certifications. She completed the Administration and Supervision graduate certificate program in Education through Johns Hopkins University and the International Society for Technology in Education in 2011.

Kori Street

Director of Programs, The , Institute for Visual History and Education, University of Southern California Shoah Foundation, USA

Dr Kori Street is the Director of Programs at the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation - The Institute for Visual History and Education. Prior to joining the institute, Dr. Street was an Associate Professor and Chair at Mount Royal University. After completing a Masters in the History of Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto, Dr. Street received her PhD in history from the University of Victoria in 2001.

Laurel J. Felt

USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, USA

Laurel J. Felt, a PhD candidate at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, designs, delivers, and assesses curricula to support youths’ healthy development. She is Instructional Design Specialist/Research Assistant with the USC Dornsife Joint Educational Project, one of the nation’s largest service-learning organizations. Her research interests include: empathy and social and emotional learning; interactive, inquiry-driven pedagogy and assessment; productive problem-solving across no-tech, low-tech, and high-tech contexts; and powerful play. She has co-authored several journal articles and book chapters, as well as created educational programs that have been embraced by learners in Los Angeles and around the world (notably, Senegal and India). During 2012, Laurel served as Interim Instructional Design Coordinator with the USC Shoah Foundation, and from 2010-2012 was lead Research Assistant for USC Annenberg Innovation Lab’s Project New Media Literacies. Laurel earned her M.A. in Child Development from Tufts University and B.S. in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University.


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