Digital storytelling: Communicating academic research beyond the academy

Kelly Schrum, Beth Dalbec, Matt Boyce, Sara Collini

Session Information

Year: 2017 | Time: 10:30am-11:10am | Location: TEACHING DEMO 1-A: Johnson Center (Room E)



Digital storytelling has the ability to take knowledge and ideas to reach a broader audience, and can be utilized in the classroom setting to provide students with opportunities to learn digital skills as well as content. This teaching demonstration will present strategies for integrating digital storytelling into the classroom, and include digital stories created by three graduate students. as examples.


FULL ABSTRACT: Digital storytelling can be many things — narrative, interactive, linear, nonlinear, immersive, artistic, educational. We do not, however, typically think of it as a tool for communicating academic research. What happens when we use digital storytelling to present our academic knowledge and ideas and to reach broader audiences? When we use it in the classroom to teach digital skills as well as content?

This teaching demo will explore these questions and more, including practical strategies for integrating digital storytelling into the classroom across disciplines and rubrics for assessing digital storytelling assignments.

Three graduate students will show short clips of the digital stories they created based on their research and will talk about their learning process. Topics include slavery at Mt. Vernon and the nature of historical research, first generation students at George Mason University, and the holistic review process for college applications. These students will address the skills they learned, including the craft of storytelling, storytelling tools, understanding audience, and communicating academic research in an accessible, compelling way. They will talk about the value of creating something usable and sharable, the impact on their learning, and developing practical, transferable skills. 

We will model how digital storytelling can be used in small assignments focused on discrete topics and individual assignments as well as for larger projects.  Faculty from a range of disciplines will learn how to use digital storytelling in their own courses with an emphasis on small, discrete assignments. Faculty will learn how to integrate small digital projects and to think about how these can help achieve specific learning goals.


active learning; active learning classrooms; digital tools; collaborative learning; student engagement; creativity; research experiences for undergraduates; simulations; digital pedagogy


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