One of the most unique aspects of working with technology, whether interactive voice response or otherwise, is that it integrates seamlessly with so many fields and is universally useful. Technology is not only used to automate business processes but is helpful in many other areas as well, including education.
Most of us grew up with varying levels of technology integrated into our curriculum, both at home and at school. Some of us will remember overhead projectors and our instructor wheeling a cart with a tube TV and VCR in to watch an informational movie. Even as early as 2nd or 3rd grade (which occurred for me in the early 90’s), I can remember going to the computer lab to learn how to type on the Mac Plus computers that looked like huge boxes by today’s standards.
Technology has always been a part of education both in and out of the classroom. From the most rudimentary tech devices like compasses and calculators to laptops and netbooks, there have been efforts to incorporate technology into the classroom experience.
To be stimulated and engaged, children need to be challenged and exposed to a variety of new teaching techniques. But does technology help or hinder academic achievement, critical thinking and learning motivation?
An article published by researchers from the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan documents the efforts of a study that tracked the impact of digital storytelling for high school students learning English as a foreign language.
It has been suggested that to achieve the highest degree of learning and information retention, educators should apply techniques that include technological integration in the classroom environment, along with an emphasis on student collaboration.
The authors aptly point out that knowledge is not simply transferred from teacher to student. Transfer occurs through a process of discussion, experimentation and demonstration, which ideally leads to retention.
Digital storytelling is the educational technique the authors chose to examine. Digital storytelling (DST) “takes the ancient art of oral storytelling and engages a palette of technical tools to weave personal tales using images, graphics, music and sound mixed together with the author’s own story voice.”
A variety of technologies can be employed throughout the story-producing process to foster interest, concentration and motivation, ultimately lending itself to more productive learning overall.
But is this conclusion correct? Does technology (or, in this specific instance, DST) go far to improve student participation and engagement? Stay tuned for A Tapestry of (Digital) Stories…