Teachers can use digital storytelling as a teaching tool in the classroom. This page addresses how to best utilize software such as Photo Story 3 in ESL or foreign language classrooms. Using digital storytelling will assist both the visual and auditory learners. It is important that the student has a model outside of the classroom. This will allow students to practice and engage in active learning even when the instructor is not present.

Show and Tell:

Using Photo Story 3 as a show and tell method will allow students to learn vocabulary. The following Photo Story 3 introduces new words by showing the picture and presenting the vocabulary word in written and oral form. This will help strengthen oral and written language for the ESL students.
Introduces appliances and food found in the kitchen
Discusses the use of plural words

While the above examples demonstrate how digital storytelling is used to teach ESL, the same ideas can be applied to teach any vocabulary in a foreign language. The above stories only include the English word because most ESL classes are comprised of students whose first language is different than the student sitting next to them. If this learning strategy is being used in a foreign language class, use both words. For example, if teaching the word "dog" in a Spanish class, the picture would show the animal and both the words "dog" and "perro."

In addition to helping with vocabulary and grammar, digital stories can be a source of communication between the student and the teacher. Because several languages are represented within an ESL classroom, students can use visual images to learn about classmates and share personal stories. This will hopefully break down the communication barrier between the students and have them feel comfortable around each other. By creating and narrating the projects, students will hopefully build self-confidence and expression skills. Other skills that will be practiced are speaking in a variety of tenses (past, present, and future). Students will also learn how to organize and communicate effectively with others as well as improve fluency. Below are student example stories.
Beginner ESL Student
Beginner ESL Student

Additional Resources:

Spanish Digital Stories from Marlboro Middle School (New Jersey)

A Turkish Digital Story about Learning English


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