Digital storytelling in teaching and research

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia / dictionaryScientificpeer-review


The aim of this entry is to present digital storytelling as teaching and research method and draw from findings of previous studies in order to offer an updated definition based on both essential dimensions, the activity of telling stories and the use of digital technologies. Toward this end, the term will be considered as a metaphorical noun phrase. Words can be identified as metaphors at the level of language when they display a contrast between a target domain meaning and a more basic source domain meaning. Also, at the level of thought, when they display a contrast between concepts that belong to different conceptual domains. Finally, at the level of communication, when they are used as metaphors to indicate a change of perspective ofthe target domain of an utterance. In all these cases,a contrast or comparison is involved in metaphorical meaning. More particularly, the metaphorical twist in the noun phrase ‘digital storytelling’ lies in the ways stories have been communicated, orally or in writing, in juxtaposition with stories communicated with the use of digital technologies. Despite the contrast, the use of technology for storytelling is nowadays popularized and, therefore,conventionalized. As a result, the metaphor is conventional as well. However, the co-text also matters, sincewhere, whyand how a metaphor is used determine the level of novelty and the degree it constitutesan innovative use of language. The sense descriptions of ‘education’ in the dictionary(Oxford),for example, hardly relate the field with storytelling, despite the fact that this is a domain where stories are told on a daily basis. In this context, storytelling becomes part of a broader scenario. Within this context,storytelling in education for pedagogical and research purposes could be considered as novel metaphor. Here are two examples to illustrate potential metaphorical sense of storytelling for educational purposes. In education,storytelling with digital technologies in schools creates a hybrid context that opens up the space for action and meaning making for students and teachers.Within this context, learning opportunities come up both ‘unplanned’ and as outcomes of guided formal instruction, thus, transcending conventional classroom boundaries. This way of integration of digital storytelling in education introduces informal elements contrary to theformaldisciplinary tradition and offers an opportunity for communicative engagement in web-based settings where exchanges can both converge with and diverge from instructional norms. Such integration has, therefore, a non-conventional character. In research, digital storytelling is a visual method that brings to the fore and reconstructs the narratives of the researched through the analysis of the message, underlying structures and techniques, how this is conveyed to audiences, and what channels of communication are used. Considering that the focus of educational technology research is mainly on how tools are used in teaching and learning, such a shift toward the discussion and analysis of the communicative integration of technologies in the classroom indicates another non-conventional use of digital storytelling. Considering these possible ways of application, it becomes evident that both parts of the noun phrase play a role in what different significations of digital storytelling can be.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Education & Information Technologies
EditorsArthur Tatnall
PublisherSpringer, Cham
Publication date14 Jun 2020
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-10575-4
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-10576-1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2020
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences
  • digital storytelling (DST)
  • digital pedagogy

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