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digital approaches to academic reflection a digital storytelling study guide

contents Introduction................................................5 1 Digital storytelling as a reflective tool....6 Case study: Medicine............................. 10 2 Creating a digital story......................... 12 Case study: Theatre and Performance... 16 3 Meaningful images and other digital artefacts.................................... 18 Case study: Education and ICT.............. 22 4 Practical software guides for creating reflective digital stories....................... 24 Case study: Dietetics.............................. 31 5 PebblePad........................................... 36 6 Assessment......................................... 38 Glossary of Terms................................... 40 References and Resources..................... 41 Appendix 1: Example of Assessment Criteria and Marking Scheme.......................... 43

The JISC Users & Innovation Programme was a ÂŁ4.75m development investment, funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, which aimed to transform practice in UK higher education by developing technologies and innovative processes based on the needs of individual users working within institutions across multiple domains. The programme funded 23 major projects, one of which was Reflect 2.0.

acknowledgements The Reflect 2.0 Team Gareth Frith, University of Leeds Scott Hennessy, University of Leeds Maggie McPherson, University of Leeds Delia Muir, University of Leeds Christopher Murray, University of Leeds Katie Peck, Leeds Metropolitan University Andy Pellow, University of Leeds

For more information on the programme, see

Jonathan Pitches, University of Leeds Natasha Pyne, University of Leeds John Sandars, University of Leeds Jill Taylor, Leeds Metropolitan University The Reflect 2.0 team would like to offer our warmest thanks to the following people for their help and support: All the students and tutors who participated in the project Maggie Roux, Associate Principal Lecturer in Media, Leeds Trinity and All Saints Peter Chatterton, Critical friend, JISC

Images ALPS CETL Students of the University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University Natasha Pyne Produced by Kumquat Publishing 4

Delia Muir

introduction R

eflective learning is widely accepted as an integral aspect of Higher Education and is commonly thought of as a key competence for students. However, the reflective process is a complex one which generates significant challenges within both learning and assessment. Modern day educators face the task of meeting these challenges and developing new ways to effectively engage students in reflective learning. Another area of education which is constantly growing is the use of digital technologies and media. Students are increasingly familiar with a variety of multimedia resources, such as web 2.0 technologies. In this guide we will explore one method of developing reflective practice which utilises technology and media - digital storytelling. The quotes in this guide are taken from two JISC funded studies; Reflect 2.0: Using Digital Storytelling to Develop Reflective Learning by the Use of Next Generation Technologies and Practices and Enhancing Learner Progression Through Personalised Learning Environments (ELP2).

How to use this study guide In sharing our experiences and the experiences of our participants, we aim to provide background theory and practical advice for anyone interested in utilising digital technology to develop academic reflection. The guide is suitable for both students and educators. As well as being used as a whole study guide, the chapters are designed to stand alone for people interested in a particular aspect of digital storytelling. Chapters 2, 3 and 4 give simple, practical advice and may be particularly valuable as individual resources for students whilst creating digital stories.

Case studies The case studies are based on the findings of the Reflect 2.0 and ELP2 projects and contextualise the use of digital stories across a range of academic areas.

Other resources Some examples of digital stories created by the students we worked with can be found on the Reflect 2.0 website, along with the files needed to create a supporting CD ROM.

The studies evaluated the experiences of postgraduate and undergraduate students and tutors across the University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University. (For full case studies see Although the projects focused on specific groups of students, we would ultimately like to promote reflection among all students, irrespective of their area of study. 5

1 Digital storytelling as a reflective tool What is reflection and why is it important?

‘Storytelling is a powerful and enduring means of

When we reflect, we attempt to cast a critical eye over the

cultures and communities… Even before we had the

events around us and analyse the part we play in those events.

ability to articulate what we knew, felt and thought, we

This allows us to learn from our experiences and adjust our

learned to make sense of our world through stories.’

future behaviour accordingly. A grasp of the reflective process

(Alterio 2002)

communication that has widespread appeal. It crosses

is essential to maintain ongoing personal and professional development even after leaving formal educational settings, such as universities. In order to become self-regulated learners,

It can be hard to reflect on a process when you are immersed

students face the task of continually evaluating and learning

within it. Therefore, it is often after a significant event that the

from their experiences. This carries on into their careers and

learning takes place. This can be through something as simple

many universities now encourage students to keep a reflective

as sharing the story with a friend and reflecting on what has

log or diary in preparation. The ability to reflect is central to

just happened in the process. Digital stories help to make that

this life-long learning process. In addition, reflection not only

transition from immersion to reflection a little easier, as the act

informs the future professional practice of students but can also

of storytelling gives the learner some objective distance. One

help to shape their growing personal identity.

Theatre and Performance student commented that creating a digital story as a means of reflecting on a performance allowed

Experiential learning (learning-by-doing) is a fundamental part

her to connect emotionally with the piece without veering into

of human development. Most of us will naturally engage in


moments of reflection, particularly after significant experiences in our lives. However students often struggle to develop a conscious, deeper level of reflection, particularly in academic environments.

Digital learning for the net generation Students are already using stories to reflect through web 2.0 technologies. This includes sites such as Facebook, Beebo and

Stories and storytelling have been an essential part of reflection

MySpace. Such social networking sites are now highly popular

throughout the ages. We use stories to represent ourselves to

and can be used to share stories with online friends and

others and as a vehicle for attempting to make sense of the

create personal narratives, both through text and multimedia.

world we live in. Both the process of storytelling and of listening

These sites are simple to use and do not require a great deal

to stories can aid learning and in particular, aid the reflective

of technical know-how, but still provide opportunity for a lot of


creativity. However despite the widespread use of such sites, students can still be reluctant to engage with Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) set up by universities. This is known as the digital disconnect.

‘Students develop more emotionally resonant work in digital stories.’

Many students today are digital natives and have grown up

Theatre and Performance tutor

PCs and mobile phones. This has affected the way in which


as part of the Net Generation, surrounded by a wide range of technology and multimedia such as games consoles, laptops,

‘Reflection is centrally concerned with finding solutions to real problems so, in my opinion, when we reflect we must use life experiences… in line with what we have learnt in education.’ MA Education and ICT student

‘It was nice to have the opportunity to be creative and see where you could go with it…’ First year Theatre and Performance student

students prefer to learn. More students now have a preference for visual or auditory learning and are engaged by interactive tasks and group work rather than individual reading and writing (Sandars and Homer 2008). This provides a challenge for educators as they try to adapt and harness learners’ enthusiasm for the new technologies they are extensively using. The way young people use technology is adapting and evolving rapidly. The prevalence of mobile technology is one example of this. In the UK, many students now possess or have access to a camera via their mobile phone. This access provides an ideal opportunity to capture images before, during and after an event, which encourages continuous reflection throughout. These images can then be used to stimulate reflection at a later date and can even form the basis for a digital story. Ever developing technology is also creating more opportunities for distance learning. The internet is now not only used as a platform for educational materials but it is possible for learners and tutors to interact with each other online. These online communities can share ideas and experiences via live discussions, regardless of the geographic location of students.

‘You build relationships online.’ MA Education and ICT distance learner 7

What is digital storytelling and how is it used? A digital story is a collection of multimedia and digital artefacts, such as images, music, narration, sound clips and diagrams, which are used to form a narrative. Digital stories are used in many different contexts and for varying purposes including community development, teacher training and as therapeutic exercises. However, we have specifically examined and evaluated how they can aid academic reflection as part of the personal and professional development of students in Higher Education. In this context the story is told from an individual, personal perspective rather than from the point of view of a group or community. The experience of making a digital story can be empowering as it puts students in control and encourages them to become autonomous learners. Many students also found that they enjoyed the creative aspect of working in multimedia, rather than following a more traditional academic route such as a detailed essay or a prĂŠcis of events so far. Creative tasks have the ability to engage students, capturing their imagination and encouraging reflection.

Structure Although working with reflective digital stories requires tutors to hand over some control to the learner, a structured approach is necessary. Learners have highlighted the importance of clear guidelines and support alongside the creative freedom which digital stories allow.

In order to reflect effectively, students must be able to explore their thoughts and emotions and consider what may appear to be subjective experiences alongside hard facts. Learners may at first find it difficult to express personal feelings in this way. Some students have reported that creating a digital story was 8

‘It [watching each other’s digital stories] was entertaining and really gave you an insight into other people.’ First Year Medical student

the first time they explored their emotional response to learning, as they did not feel they had been given the opportunity in previous text-based assignments. Sharing your digital story with others can be an important part of the reflective process. Digital stories can act as a catalyst for discussion and debate, stimulating further reflection for both

‘It [creating a reflective digital story] is great for all learners especially visual learners.’ MA Education and ICT student

the audience and the creator. Students found this step highly valuable. Deeper reflective learning is of course the most important outcome of creating a digital story in this context. However, the process can also improve participants’ digital and media literacy, making them more aware of the media and technology which surrounds them and how to utilise it to its full potential.

‘I really enjoyed this reflective piece because it made me reflect on how I’d changed.’ Postgraduate Dietetics student

‘As dietetic tutors viewing the digital stories we were astounded by the quality of student work. We were able to experience the reflective learning journey in a way we have never done before just through text alone and we finally gained some insight into the intensity of the student experience in practice learning which helped us to engage in a truly student-centred approach.’

‘Reflection helps one to evaluate his or her personal learning styles.’ MA Education and ICT student

Dietetics tutor 9

case study Medicine, University of Leeds What we did l 15 first year medical students completed

Challenges To engage students used to text-based, exam-driven work in a creative process which would only be formatively assessed.

reflective digital stories on the topic of visiting a patient in their own home. This was part of the Personal and Professional Development (PPD) module. l Students were provided with a Nokia 3G Mobile

What we found Engagement in the process

Digital Assistant (MDA), with camera and data

Students reported that creating a digital story enabled them to


reflect successfully, particularly in terms of considering feelings and emotions.

l Photo Story 3 (PS3) software was made available on a selection of PCs within the university. (For

However some students were initially sceptical about the

more information on PS3 see chapter 4).

technique. Successfully using technology to create a reflective digital story relies heavily on students and tutors being engaged

l Online training resources and tutorials were provided for students, along with an example of a reflective digital story. l Students presented the digital stories to their peers and tutor as a forum for discussion and feedback. l The students and their tutor completed questionnaires to evaluate the experience. l The digital storytelling approach had been piloted with medical students the previous year, as part of the Enhancing Learner Progression project (ELP2). For full case study see


‘I was very happy with the PS software. It was very easy to use and work with. Had fun doing it and would love to do such an experience again.’ First year medical student

in the process. Even students who consider themselves to be technologically competent may be resistant to using IT in a way which is different from the perceived normal practice. It is also necessary to make the link between reflection and the module learning objectives explicit for students so that they can see the relevance for both their current education and future career. Tutors must be clear about this and it is therefore vital to involve

‘In particular the students gained enormous benefit from being able to view each others experiences.’ Medicine tutor

tutors at an early stage. Workshops and opportunities for practise and discussion were found to be effective ways to gain and keep tutor support.

Technology Despite being provided with mobile devices, many students

Support for students is also vital, both in terms of the

chose to use technology they were already familiar with,

technology and pedagogy. This can be provided in several ways

such as their own digital cameras and mobile phone

including information sheets, online tutorials, presentations and

cameras. The majority of students created their story


using PowerPoint on a home PC. Again PowerPoint is

Sharing the stories

a programme which the students were already using for academic purposes. The students who did decide to try the less familiar Photo Story 3 software found it easy to use and

The use of narrative and images helped the group to feel more

were pleased with the results.

engaged in each other’s presentations and acted as a powerful catalyst for discussion and debate within the group.

‘It’s not so intrusive. When you sit there and talk about your feelings it can be intrusive but the presentation enabled you to open up but within your own boundaries.’ First year medical student

‘When I was putting mine together I took photographs from around the area. I went into the community and took pictures… so I got a chance to think about… what I’d actually done. Rather than just writing a quick essay I actually thought about what I wanted the picture to actually say.’ First year medical student


2 Creating a digital story Some considerations for tutors Adopting a structured approach when creating a digital

outcomes and it is essential that sufficient support and

story can help make the transition between writing essays

guidance, both in terms of the technology and the pedagogy

and working with digital artefacts more manageable. Going

are provided throughout the process. The duration of digital

through a series of simple steps may help learners to

stories is another important consideration as it is easy for

organise their thoughts and make reflection explicit within

digitally skilled learners to become seduced by the use

the learning process. However, tutors must aim to strike a

of digital media and spend a long time creating lengthy,

balance between providing structure and allowing creative

technically ambitious presentations. This risks the focus of

freedom. It is important to remember that the creation of a

reflection being lost. We have found that a presentation of

digital story is not a straightforward, linear process. Students

around 3-5 minutes is usually sufficient.

may revisit the story several times, collecting and adding new digital artefacts as their reflection develops. The finished

Students have stressed the importance of clear working

story may also take a more abstract, layered form, rather

definitions, particularly in cases where the story is to be

than following a traditional narrative structure. Providing

formally assessed. One area where this is important is the

students with examples of digital stories which adopt

style of the digital story. For example is the narration to be

different styles may be helpful.

relaxed and colloquial or more carefully thought out and closer to a piece of critical writing? Again showing students

Tutors may find it useful to devise their own guide or

examples of reflective digital stories may help to allay these

template for students, tailored to meet their specific learning


The following steps are designed to provide a starting point for anyone working with digital stories to develop reflection.

1. Pick a topic

2. Write the story

It is important that this is as specific as possible. People often

Keep this brief; it is not an essay but a few simple, clear bullet

find it easiest to reflect upon something which triggered an

points. Think of the moments when learning took place and

emotional response or had a transformative effect on them.

consider how you can best share that learning with your

For example, we asked medical students to create a digital

intended audience. Contemplate how you felt before and after

story based on their first experience of visiting a patient in

the event as well as during. The suggested structure which

their home. Theatre and Performance students based their

follows may help you to avoid simply describing what happened

digital stories on the process of devising and performing a

and move towards reflecting upon it. However, this is just a

specific piece of theatre.

starting point. You may decide that your finished digital story should follow a more abstract narrative structure.


‘I did enjoy it. I felt quite proud of the final thing because I hadn’t done it before and just to see a different representation of how I was feeling and everything fitting in was great.’ Postgraduate Dietetics student

l Beginning Briefly describe the situation and context. Did you have any expectations or preconceived ideas beforehand?

‘It was… good to get away from science and be more artistic.’ First year medical student

l Middle What was your emotional response to this situation? How did it make you feel? What were the consequences of those emotions, did they affect what happened?

4. Use digital artefacts to create a narrative For each point in your story choose the digital artefacts which best express your thoughts and emotions at that time. You may also decide to add music and narration spanning the

l End

entire story. Where digital stories differ from conventional

Why do you think you had that emotional response?

presentations is that the digital artefacts are the primary tool

What will you take away from this experience? How

used to express narrative, as opposed to relying upon text and

will this experience affect your future personal and

simply illustrating points with images, diagrams, video clips etc.

professional behaviour? Has it altered your attitude or opinions?

5. Be creative Take the time to explore the capabilities of your chosen software by being imaginative and experimenting with digital

3. Collect the digital artefacts

media. For example, adding an effect or transition to an image

A digital artefact is defined here as any piece of electronic

get across.

may cause it to more closely embody the point you are trying to

media which helps to record or express an experience. This can include photographs, diagrams, models, concept maps, sound bites, Clip Art, videos and found images. Try to carefully choose

6. Share the story

digital artefacts which closely represent your thoughts and

Storytelling is a social pastime used to communicate

feelings. Technologies such as mobile phones, PDAs and digital

experience and learning to others. Although your final product

cameras can be effectively utilised to collect and store digital

can be kept private if you wish, sharing and discussing digital

media in a variety of environments.

stories is an opportunity for further reflection and feedback, and can also improve critical thinking skills. However, it is important

As well as creating and choosing digital artefacts

that discussions are focused on the content of the story and

retrospectively, you may wish to collect some digital artefacts,

the level of reflection rather than the technical expertise of the

such as photographs, during your experience.

creator. 13

‘You think that it will only take five minutes but you end up putting a lot of effort into it.’ First year medical student (Murry and Sandars 2008)

‘As a mechanism for reflection – it [digital storytelling] helps avoid uncritical, diary-like, responses.’

A negative effect being added in Microsoft Photo Story 3

Theatre and Performance tutor

Tips for learners Time constraints Some students commented that collecting meaningful digital artefacts and creating a narrative took far longer than anticipated. Roughly the same amount of time should be spent on a digital story as would be allocated to an essay.

Keep a diary Keeping a regular reflective diary can help you to recall how particular events made you feel. Keeping a diary electronically, possibly as part of a Virtual Learning Environment, allows the storage of digital artefacts alongside any written work. As well as encouraging reflection and creativity, this material can then be used directly as part of a reflective digital story.

Reflect, reflect, reflect! There are opportunities for reflection at every step. Lots of important choices are involved in the creation of a digital story, from the topic to the digital artefacts used. Continually reflect upon your decisions and carefully consider how and why you came to them. This will facilitate deeper learning and help to develop critical thinking skills. 14

‘I always use concrete, life and personal experiences in reflecting and evaluating.’ MA Education and ICT student


case study Theatre and Performance, University of Leeds Challenges What we did l 12 first year Theatre and Performance students completed reflective digital stories on the topic of their self-directed performance piece. l This was part of the Processes of Performance module. l Photo Story 3 (PS3) was made available on a selection of PCs within the university. (For more information on PS3 see chapter 4). l A training workshop on the use of PS3 was provided, along with an example of a reflective digital story. l The digital stories were not summatively assessed, but subject to peer discussion and feedback. l The students and their tutor completed

To see if students used to reflection as part of their studies could overcome anxieties around the use of technology to create a reflective digital story, rather than a more familiar written reflective account.

What we found Training All but one of the participating students created their reflective digital story at home. This cohort of students primarily used the Photo Story 3 software which had been demonstrated in the training workshop provided. The training workshops were a success, with students grasping the basics of Photo Story 3 quickly. It was suggested that a second intermediate level of training may also have been useful for students. This would allow them to refine their skills once they had experimented and familiarised themselves with the software.

questionnaires to evaluate the experience. l Participating students also took part in a focus group.

‘The bespoke workshops worked very well to provide students with the wherewithal to work with the software. They all produced interesting DSs (digital stories) within 45 minutes of being introduced to the package.’ Theatre and Performance tutor


‘For Performance students it also develops skills we would hope they might use in creating live work – understanding of the power of juxtaposition, of layering, of writing, of selecting text and using found sources in new, surprising ways.’ Theatre and Performance tutor

Examples of some of the images used in the Theatre and Performance digital stories

Creativity Overall the students were positive about their experiences of both creating and sharing their work. Creating digital stories seemed to draw on some skills the students already possessed and gave an alternative outlet for their creative energies. As well as aiding reflection, the process also has the potential to increase technological, analytical and compositional skills.


‘I enjoyed the experience. I had been more honest and creative – unafraid to include more obscure ideas that could be better understood when accompanied by image/sound.’

Students expressed concerns that they may not have felt the same expressive freedom if the work had been formally assessed. This highlights the need for clear guidelines and boundaries if digital stories are to form part of the summative module assessment.

First year Theatre and Performance student

‘I think you could still be creative with it but you would definitely need a specific brief.’


First year Theatre and Performance student

Although the students were not provided with mobile devices,

The students all agreed that if a non-assessed digital story

many of them used their own mobile phones or digital cameras

was used in the first year to allow them to assimilate the

to capture images which then formed part of their reflective

process and technology, then an assessed version would be

digital stories.

acceptable further down the line.


3 Meaningful images and other artefacts Images are a powerful reflective tool and can form an interesting and integral part of a digital story. Choosing images which closely embody your emotions may cause you to think about those feelings in a deeper, more meaningful way. In order to get the most out of creating a digital story, it is important to carefully consider which images are used and why.

Signs and symbols A symbol is something, usually an image, word or gesture, which is based in a community and which points to something other than itself. This is opposed to a sign that exists to convey a singular meaning, such as a stop sign or a no smoking sign. Being aware of the symbolic connotations of images can really enhance the impact of a digital story. The potential for reflection from both the story creator and the viewer is much greater when working with symbols rather than signs. A symbol requires an audience to carefully interpret and


unpick the relevance to the story, as it represents something

Photographs are an effective memory aid, as they take you

mark may be an obvious image to use to signify an important

back to a specific moment in time and assist retrospective

decision. However, it does not tell the audience any details

reflection. Also considerations such as the composition of

about that decision and therefore requires a minimal amount of

photographs encourage continuous reflection throughout an


personal and specific to the creator. For example, a question

experience. However, students may need prompting to take photographs if it is not part of their normal routine.

One Theatre and Performance student

We have found that encouraging students to take their own

used a photograph

photographs, rather than sourcing images from the internet,

of a crossroads to

facilitates the most reflection. This is because of the highly

show a decision.

personal nature of reflective digital storytelling. Reflection

This symbolic image

is concerned with the learner’s own specific experiences

shows a greater

and learning processes, therefore using someone else’s

level of reflection,

photographs can diminish the power of the story and the

as it suggests that

learner’s ability to convey the extent of their learning.

she had reached an important point in her learning journey with many possible outcomes depending on the path she chose.

Photographs are also an effective way of creating shorthand. When producing text-based reflective pieces some students expressed concerns that they were spending a long time


describing what had happened and therefore not focusing on

Colours can be very symbolic. The colours within an image

the primary task of reflection. They found that one carefully

can be easily manipulated to change its meaning. For example,

chosen image could potentially replace whole passages of

sepia tones may convey age or history whereas black and white

academic writing and serve a dual purpose of both expressing

is often used to symbolise duality or simplicity.

their feelings and providing the audience with a clear representation of what had taken place. 18

‘Something happens in passing and when you start to choose the pictures you realise that that actually had an effect on me, that actually meant something… when you spend five minutes finding the pictures and looking back at what happened it makes you think about it a lot more.’

Photo:© René Mansi

First year medical student

Showing an image in black and white and then colour could symbolise a transformation in the creator’s attitude, as they shift from dualistic thinking and begin to recognise the complexities of an issue or a situation. 19

‘Using this method [digital storytelling] I was able to give the audience a clearer perception of our protagonist – pictures... were both symbolic and gave the spectator opportunity to EXPERIENCE the main character’s perception of surroundings…’ First year Theatre and Performance student talking about a reflective digital story based on the experience of devising a piece of theatre

‘Having reminders to take pictures would be useful’ First year Theatre and Performance student


Digital Artefacts The principals of selecting symbolic images can be applied when choosing any digital artefact. Most importantly the creator must reflect upon their decisions at every step and carefully consider the relevance of artefacts and the impact they will have on the finished story. Symbols, colours and music all have various connotations within different cultures and communities. Considering how the intended audience may interpret a digital artefact can help portray a reflective point more accurately.

‘I took a picture of a brick wall because I felt the patient had just put up a brick wall… picture of barriers because I felt we weren’t overcoming the barriers and things like that.’ Postgraduate Dietetics student

Copyright Whenever a piece of work such as a photograph, a song or an article is created copyright, automatically applies. Copyright is often shown with the © symbol but even without this, work is protected as it is not necessary to prove copyright under UK law. This can cause problems when the internet is used to search for media to include in digital stories, particularly if the stories are going to be shared online as part of a Virtual Learning Environment or media sharing site such as YouTube. However, some people may specify that they don’t mind their work being used for certain things by giving it a Creative Commons (cc) licence. Material with Creative Commons can be searched for at It is also worth checking if your university owns or has access to any educational media databases. (For links to some free online databases see the references and resources section). Creating original material also bypasses copyright issues.


case study Education and ICT, University of Leeds What we found What we did

Working with postgraduate students

l 26 postgraduate Education and ICT students were asked to keep a digital record of their e-learning

Many of the cohort had already used Net Generation

experiences using digital artefacts.

Technologies in their professional capacities. The students were generally confident with the use of technology, therefore

l 16 students then voluntarily chose to produce a digital presentation entitled ‘Advice to New

it was the process of reflection which the students required support with, rather than technical difficulties.

Learners’. On the whole, learners engaged well with the use of digital l Students could choose their preferred technology.

artefacts. As postgraduates, many of the students already had experience of working in education and could therefore easily

l Online training resources and tutorials were provided for students via the project website.

appreciate the relevance of the work to their course and future careers. This aided their engagement with the process of digital storytelling, approaching the task with professionalism and

l 5 students took part in a focus group and 6


students took part in a synchronous chat online to evaluate their experiences. l Their tutor also completed a questionnaire.

Engaging the audience Due to the nature of the course, students were known to be interested in the use of technology to aid educational processes. Therefore, they carefully considered how they could utilise technology to engage their audience. For example, students commented that digital artefacts can help an audience to connect emotionally with a presentation.

Challenges As many of the students on the Education and ICT course are distance learners, there is a limited amount of face to face contact between students and tutors. Therefore one of the main challenges the project team faced was to ensure the students received sufficient guidelines and preparation to equip them with the knowledge and skills to produce a digital reflective account. A further challenge was to then collect enough data from these students to fully evaluate their experiences.


‘We have to use the emotional side of people.’ MA Education and ICT student

‘…you are moved and you are motivated.’ MA Education and ICT student

‘I am a primary school teacher and I have to confess that stories, narratives and pictures take place in my teaching everyday because on the one hand they are motivating tools for my young learners and on the other hand I can combine real life situations with the theory of my lesson more easily.’ MA Education and ICT student

‘I enjoyed using them [digital artifacts] because they made the presentation more vivid, interesting and creative.’ MA Education and ICT student

Distance learning and technology Distance learners in the group emphasised the importance of engaging in each other’s presentations, as the sharing of information between students is integral to their learning. They felt that the use of digital artefacts aided this. They also highlighted that the use of images helped communication across language barriers.

‘Presentations allow you to have many references (sound, image, etc.) thus provoking imagination, logical consequence and comprehension.’ MA Education and ICT student

‘As my students were at a distance and have access to different levels of technology, it was not possible to be prescriptive or even directive about technologies to use.’ Education and ICT tutor Net Generation technologies were not only utilised by students, but also by the project team whilst collecting data. A Virtual Learning Environment was used to collect information from participating students. This meant that distance learners who were not able to attend the face to

However, distance learners also raised the issue of poor internet

face focus group could participate in live chats online.

connections and the detrimental effect that can have on the use of Net Generation Technology.

‘Technology is not stagnant, so we shouldn’t be stagnant as well.’ MA Education and ICT student


4 Practical software guides for creating reflective digital stories There are many different software packages available which are suitable for the creation of digital stories. Windows Movie Maker, Microsoft Photo Story 3 for Windows, Microsoft Office PowerPoint and Apple iMovie are just some of the better known examples and all have different limitations and advantages. We found that Photo Story 3 and PowerPoint were the two most popular options amongst the students we worked with. It is for this reason that we have created step by step guides on the use of Photo Story 3 and PowerPoint for the creation of digital stories. Both these products allow you to combine a sequence of still images into a video format and play them like a full video. It also gives you an option to store it in a format suitable for a mobile device such as a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) or a Smartphone. It is important for tutors to consider carefully whether they specify which package learners use or give them free choice. Students have expressed concerns over marking fairness when numerous software packages are used, due to the differing capabilities of programs. However, there are also advantages to students having the freedom to use software they are familiar with and may already have access to at home.

Microsoft Photo Story 3 (PS3) for Windows Photo Story 3 is specifically designed to combine images, music and narration to create a multimedia story and its simple step by step format means it is relatively easy to use even if you have no experience of the software. It can be downloaded free of charge at Extra advice and tips on how to use the software are also available from the website.

Microsoft Photo Story 3 (PS3) for Windows – System Requirements l Operating System - Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Media Centre Edition, or Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Requires Windows genuine advantage validation l Processor - Personal or multimedia computer with an Intel P3 700-megahertz (MHz) or equivalent processor l Memory - 256 megabytes or higher of RAM l Hard disc – 400 megabytes or higher of available space l Drive – CD-ROM or DVD drive l Display - Super VGA (800x600) or higher resolution monitor, Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics support, video adapter must be compatible with Windows XP l Sound - Windows XP-compatible sound card and

It is also a good idea to designate a group of computers within the educational institution to be used by participating learners so that appropriate software can be installed by administrators.

speakers or headphones, microphone if you wish to record narration. l Other software – Microsoft Windows media player 10. ( digitalphotography/photostory/sysreqs.mspx)


How to Create a Digital Story using PS3 1. Open the Software l Once the software is installed open Photo Story 3 for Windows. l Select Begin a new story and click Next. 2. Importing images Tip When using photographs you have taken yourself it is easiest to create a separate folder in my pictures and save them to that. It is best to import images from the original source as

3. Editing Images l Photo Story 3 may add black borders to images which are portrait orientated. This is to help them fit into the typical dimensions of a computer monitor. If this happens a Remove Black Borders button will appear. Click on this to view the black borders and remove them if you wish. l At this point you can edit your pictures. Do this by clicking on the image in the filmstrip you would like to edit so that it appears in the large display box. You can then use the buttons indicated below to perform editing tasks. None of the alterations made in Photo Story 3 will affect the original images stored on your computer. l Once you are happy with the images click Next.

thumbnails will be of a poorer quality and may cause pixilation.

l Click on Import Pictures. l Select the location where the images you wish to use are saved. l Select the images you would like to use and click OK to import. To select more than one picture at a time hold down the CTRL key as you click on the images. l The images will appear as slides in the filmstrip at the bottom of the page. Click on the slides and drag them along the filmstrip to put them in the order you would like them to appear in your finished story. (For advice

4. Adding Text and Effects

on creating and selecting images and other digital artefacts see chapter 3.)

Tip Too many effects can confuse an audience and cause the focus of the story to be lost. Only use images to enhance reflective points rather than improve the finished product aesthetically.

l If you wish to add a title or text to your images then select the slide you would like the text to appear on and then type in the text box on the right hand side. The text will appear over the image to give you an idea of how it will appear in the finished story. l You can alter the appearance of the text by clicking on the buttons above the text box. l To add effects select an image so that it appears in the large display box and then click on the Effects box overleaf. 25

l Select an effect from the drop down list. l Experiment with different effects and images until you are happy that each slide encompasses the reflective point you would like it to represent. Then click Next. l From this point on you can see what the story looks like so far by clicking the button. 5. Adding Narration l Before adding narration first check there is a working microphone attached to the computer. To check this you can use the microphone wizard by clicking the


l Select the image you would like the narration to correspond with then press the record button


speak into the microphone. When you have finished click stop


6. Adding Motion l Clicking on the Customise Motion button will open up two new tabs. The Motion and Duration tab provides instructions on how to change the way the story zooms and pans across the images as well as how long images are displayed for. The Transition tab allows you to alter the transitions between different images. Click Close to return to the story once you are happy with the motion and transitions for the selected image. Repeat for each image if you wish. l When you have previewed the story and are happy to progress click Next.


7. Adding music

l When you have previewed the story and are happy to progress click Next.

l At this point you have the option to add background music. Before adding music, consider carefully what

8. Save Your Story

effect it will have on the story. Think about what you are trying to say to your audience and how music can

l Although you can save the story at any point, you will

help you achieve that. Music can also be effective

now be presented with some specific saving options

when trying to create a particular mood or atmosphere.

which allow you to:

l Select the image where you would like the music to

4 Save your story for playback on your pc

start playing. This image will be the anchor for the

4 Send your story via e-mail

music, meaning that if the image is deleted then the

4 Save your story for playback on a Pocket PC with

associated music will be too. l If you wish to use music which is already stored on your computer, click Select Music to locate the file you would like to use.

Media Player 10 Mobile 4 Save your story for playback on a Smartphone with Windows Media Player 10 Mobile 4 Save your story for playback on a Portable Media Center

l To create original music click the Create Music button and follow the instructions.

Click on the option which applies to you.

l During your finished story the music will play either

l This will save your finished story as a wmv file for play

until the end of the story or until another piece of

back only. This will play in Windows Media Player.

music starts. This will be indicated by colour coded strips which appear above the filmstrip. A musical

l You can also save the project as a wp3 file which

note underneath an image on the filmstrip indicates an

allows you to go back and edit the story. To do this,

anchor image.

click Save Project.


Microsoft Office PowerPoint PowerPoint is a Microsoft Office application. It can be used to create presentations or stories using a series of slides. PowerPoint requires a moderately higher level of technical ability than Photo Story 3 but does have additional capabilities, such as the inclusion of video clips. We also found PowerPoint had the added advantage of already being widely used amongst the students we worked with. Advice on using PowerPoint to create multimedia presentations can be found at com/Education/MultimediaStory.mspx. There are several versions of PowerPoint available. The instructions below are based on the 2003 version of the software.

2. Creating a New Slide l To create a new slide go to the Insert menu and click New Slide or hold down the Ctrl key and press M. l New slides will appear down the left hand side of the screen. l Click on a slide in this left hand column. This will cause it to be displayed full size in the centre of the screen and allow you to make changes to it. l Options for the layout of the slide will appear in the Slide Layout task pane down the right hand side of the screen. Click on an option to apply it to the selected slide.

How to create a digital story using PowerPoint Tip Remember to save changes to your story at regular intervals by clicking on Save in the File menu.

1. Getting Started l Open Microsoft PowerPoint. l Click on the File menu at the top of the screen and select Save As. 3. Adding a Background l Give your digital story a file name and save it in your desired location.

l To add a background to

l If you wish, add a title to the first slide. Do this by

a slide, click

typing in the text boxes which will automatically be

on the Format


menu and select Background.

l You can select the size, style, font and colour of the

The Background

writing using the buttons at the top of the screen.

window will now appear. l To create a block colour background, select a colour from the drop down menu and click Apply (applies background to selected slide only) or Apply to All (applies background to all slides in the story). l Alternatively click Fill Effects. This will allow you to change the gradient, texture and pattern of the background as well as combining more than one colour. When you are happy with your chosen effect click OK to return to the background window. Next click Apply or Apply to All.


4. Inserting Images Tip You can preview your digital story at any point by pressing F5 on your keyboard.

l Click OK l The image should now fit within the slide. l Images can then be further resized by dragging the resize handles which appear at the edge of an image when you click on it.

l Select the slide you would like the image to appear on. l Click on the Insert menu at the top of the screen. l On the drop down menu select Picture and then From File.

Resize handles

l Locate the file where your images are saved. l Select an image and then click Insert. l Repeat for each of the slides where you would like an image to appear. (For advice on creating and selecting images and other digital artefacts see chapter 3.) 5. Resizing Images l Some images may not fit within the slide and will appear distorted. To resize these images right click on the image and select Format Picture.

6. Inserting sounds or music l Select the slide you would like the sound to correspond with. l Click on the Insert menu. l On the drop down menu select Movies and Sounds. l Choose from the following options – Record Sound or Sound From File. Remember: Your computer must have a working microphone connected before you can record sound. Record Sound – To record a spoken narrative, or any other original sound, click Record Sound. This will cause the Record Sound dialogue box to appear:

l Select the Size tab on the Format Picture window. l Make sure that the Lock aspect ratio and Relative to original picture size boxes are ticked. l Change the height of the picture to around 17cm then click in the width window. The width will automatically adjust accordingly. 29

Sound From File – Follow the instructions to insert music or

8. Inserting Videos

sound clips already stored on your computer. l Select the slide you would like the video to play on. l Sounds will appear as an

icon on the slide. l Click on the Insert menu.

l When you insert a sound you will be given the option of the sound either starting automatically or starting when the

l On the drop down menu select Movies and Sounds.

icon is clicked on. If you select automatically,

the sound will play as soon as the selected slide appears during your finished story. If you already have

l Select Movie from File. This allows you to insert videos already stored on your computer.

a media effect on that slide, such as a video, it will play after the effect.

l When you insert a video you will be given the option of the video either starting automatically or starting when

l Sounds will stop when the next slide appears.

the slide is clicked on. Tip

7. Play Music Continuously l Music can be a good way to create a mood or invoke an atmosphere across a number of slides or a whole

When you play the PowerPoint presentation, the video must be in the same directory on your computer as the presentation.

story. To do this, first insert the music on the slide where you would like it to begin (as above). l Next right click on the

icon and

then select Custom Animation. l Right click on the sound in the custom animation task pane which will appear on the right of the screen and select Effect Options from the drop down list. l You can then specify how many slides you would like the music to continue playing for in the Play Sound dialogue box.

9. Adding Transitions l First select the slide you would like the transition to apply to. l Next click the Slide Show menu and select Slide Transition. l The options will appear in the Slide Transition task pane on the left hand side of the screen.


case study Dietetics, Leeds Metropolitan University What we did l A sample of 25 students studying for the

Challenges To engage students used to using text based reflective practice in the more creative process of digital storytelling

Postgraduate Diploma in Dietetics created digital

and to determine if this adds more meaning to the reflective


process as part of a summative assessment.

l Using a reflective story encompassing digital artefacts, students demonstrated how they had used personal development planning (PDP) and reflective practice skills to progress clinical practice. l Students were provided with PebblePad (see

What we found The ‘scaffold’ for the digital story We found that students need clear guidelines to help them

chapter 5) and PebblePDA accounts and utilised

create their digital stories as this is often a new learning

PDAs with unlimited free data connectivity, provided

experience. This included guidance on the reflective process,

to them via the ALPS CETL*.

assessment criteria for the assignment preferably developed in collaboration with students and, support on how to create

l Students attended workshops on the use of

digital artefacts and use these to evidence learning. In line

PebblePad and digital artefacts, one-to-one training

with Constructivist approaches to learning theory, providing

on PebblePad and, a briefing on the assessment

a ‘scaffold’ enabled students to build and create their digital

and use of symbols/imagery in reflective practice.


l The digital story formed 25% of the summative assessment for the Current Issues in Professional Practice module.

Order of events Students approached the creation of their digital story either by selecting their digital artefacts first and using them as a

l All students completed a questionnaire to

stimulus for the reflection or by writing their narrative first

evaluate the experience and a random sample of

and fitting the artefacts around this to develop the depth of

participating students also took part in one of two

their critical reflection.

focus groups.

*Assessment and Learning in Practice Settings (ALPS) ©


‘Whenever I offered suggestions for ways in which he could increase his activity/change his diet, I came up against a brick wall.’

‘I thought about my emotions first… thought how they could look as a picture and then thought about a situation say in placement that fitted in with that emotion and then evidenced it in that way.’ Postgraduate Dietetics student

‘Thinking about the reflection and then thinking about how I could illustrate it as I went along... where would I get the photographs from, could I take them myself or would I need to download them?’ Postgraduate Dietetics student Adding images and digital artefacts to deepen critical reflection was the preferred approach for postgraduate dietetic students.

Technology Students felt more comfortable using technology that they were familiar with. As ‘digital natives’ most students found the software easy to use, although some students needed further technical support.


‘I thought PebblePad was easy to use on the computer... if anyone has got a mobile phone you can record clips on it and easily upload it… I used my digital camera rather than my PDA because it’s just a lot easier.’ Postgraduate Dietetics student

Students preferred to use PebblePad on the computer as opposed to the PDA. Developing digital stories and editing webfolio pages was easier to do using a standard size audiovisual display screen. Students had problems synching data from PebblePDA to the PebblePad repository due to intermittent functionality of the PDA. These technical difficulties increased both the time required to complete the digital story and individual students’ levels of stress. Technology needs to be consistent and dependable for students to use it.

Symbolism and selecting digital artefacts Students needed some help to use images and symbols in their work but with support they were able to apply imagery powerfully. Tutors reported that audio recordings of students engaged in reflective discussions illustrated how powerful the human voice can be; personalising digital stories and placing the student at the centre of the learning experience.

‘Not brilliantly artistic photographs but I took a picture of a brick wall because I felt that the patient had just put up a brick wall and pictures of barriers because I felt we weren’t overcoming the barriers.’ Postgraduate Dietetics student

‘There have been high and low points along the way. Sometimes it has felt like I’ve been lost in a cloud, not able to see the summit. At other times I have felt that I have made progress and have been able to stop and admire the view before pressing on to the next challenge.’


‘I thought it helped me reflect a little bit deeper and think about things more in how I was feeling at the time and then try to relate those feelings to an image that would maybe help somebody else conjure up those feelings as well.’ Postgraduate Dietetics student

The selection and creation of digital artefacts for some enabled engagement in deeper reflection whilst others questioned whether this was a legitimate learning activity. Some students perceived that their selection of digital artefacts might be ‘right’ or’ wrong’ where as other students focused on whether artefacts encompassed what they were trying to express and whether the assessor would be able to

Creativity Some students felt that digital storytelling was not appropriate for postgraduate study and that the skills associated with creativity were more relevant to other disciplines. Other students enjoyed undertaking a new type of assessment activity and having an opportunity to

appreciate this.

be creative which in itself was motivational. The value of

Students highlighted the importance of sharing and

a desirable skill in the work setting for example in translating

discussing digital stories creating opportunities for dialogue

technical information into plain English text or images for use

and interpretation and providing students with feedback.

in health promotion work.

creativity was recognised within Dietetics and perceived as

Engagement and transformative learning For some students the outcome of engagement in digital storytelling was a realisation of how reflection had helped them to progress their clinical skills and practice, recognising the value of this learning activity for future professional development. The use of digital artefacts helped some students to engage in deeper reflection, to consider symbolic representations of their emotions and how the learning experience could be communicated through the medium of a digital story.

‘I like the fact that creating the digital artefact meant that you could make your story more imaginative or creative…I think it would be fair to mark people on creativity too because being creative can be useful when practising as a dietician.’

Academic currency Postgraduate Dietetics student Students felt it was important to use evidence to substantiate the points made in their digital stories. This philosophy is driven by the medical model where science informs the evidence base on which the justification for dietetic intervention is made. Students are used to evidencing their learning through reflective practice or competence-based assessment tools in the practice setting and these same principles were embedded in the selection of digital artefacts using them to ‘substantiate’ the points made in the digital story.


‘I’m not a natural reflector at all, so maybe, I think I enjoy reflecting more because of this, and I’ll do it more in my next practice placement.’ Postgraduate Dietetics student


5 PebblePad E-portfolios are another example of the way new technology

PebblePad also allows the creation of blogs, websites and

is being used increasingly within education and PebblePad is

webfolios. A webfolio is an evidence-based website where

just one of the many e-portfolio tools available. The Dietetics

assets, including images and sound files, can be aggregated

students we worked with used the PebblePad proprietary e-

and presented within a text narrative, to provide, a rich digital

portfolio tool (available from Pebble Learning Ltd) to support

story of learning. We found that once learners were introduced

the link between e-portfolios, reflection and digital stories.

to PebblePad, they were quickly able to produce high quality digital stories with minimal technical support.

Just as digital stories provide learner autonomy, e-portfolios are designed to put the student at the centre of the system.

Assets, such as webfolios, can be shared with another

PebblePad provides a suite of tools that allows users to

PebblePad user, any external person with an email account or

store and review multiple assets. Assets can be created

with a pre-determined group. Assets can also be published to

within PebblePad to form records of abilities, achievements,

a gateway, which is an institutional space where assets can be

activities, action plans, experiences, meetings or thoughts or

viewed by peers or tutors. Access to a gateway is controlled

created externally, using common file formats, then uploaded

by permissions allowing them to be used for assessment

into the PebblePad asset store. As the learner builds assets

submission and feedback, mentoring and personal tuition.

there are opportunities to make links to supporting evidence and critically reflect on the learning process either at the time or at a later date using the review option.

A PebblePad gateway showing links to student webfolios


A narrated overview is available from the PebblePad website

Further information regarding licensing and hosting options is

and links to PebblePad presentation videos outlining how to

available from the company website at

create a webfolio and an overview of gateways can be found

These range from an institutional licence to the purchase of a


single personal PebblePad account.

PebblePDA is a software package designed to work on Windows Mobile 2003 and later versions. This is a licence-free but unsupported product designed to trial the use of mobile devices to support learners’ engagement with their PebblePad e-portfolio. PebblePDA is available for download from www. and can be freely distributed for use by PebblePad users. Digital artefacts can be created and saved locally on a PDA then transferred to the PebblePad asset store by synching directly from the PDA when connected to the Internet or synching via a cradle/cable to an internet connected PC. This enables the collection and creation of digital artefacts at any location, such as the practice placement environment. They can then be used as part of a webfolio to create a reflective digital story.

A reflective story created in PebblePad


6 Assessment of reflective learning when using multimedia digital stories The challenges of assessing digital stories

Students expressed concerns about the subjectivity of marking.

There are several problems with an assessment of reflective

image and how that choice relates to the student’s reflection.

learning when using digital stories. The current educational

One solution to this is adopting a blended approach, whereby

system is heavily biased towards text-based assignments

the student takes part in a seminar or viva where their digital

and the use of a digital artefact is unlikely to be acceptable in

story is discussed with tutors and peers. Another solution might

some disciplines for summative assessment, especially for high

be the sharing of digital stories through a virtual exhibition

stakes assessment.

using an information gateway. Here each exhibitor can receive

For example, the interpretation of an image is highly subjective, therefore a marker may not understand the significance of an

feedback and contribute to discussions on their work with an Some learners appear to dislike the notion of assessment

invited audience.

of their reflective activities, regarding their entries as private. However an important distinction needs to be made between a

Formative, or developmental, assessment allows the learner

personal, confidential reflective diary as opposed to selecting

to explain and discuss their use of digital artefacts with peer

elements of critical reflection which the individual is prepared

group members and their tutors. The use of assessment in

to share with a wider audience. Indeed within practice

these circumstances appears to be less problematic but runs

learning and competence-based assessment frameworks,

the risk of strategic learners not engaging in digital storytelling

demonstrating application of critical reflection is a requirement

where there is no summative contribution. Clear assessment

for evidencing clinical skills and practice learning outcomes.

criteria and marking schemes developed in partnership with students may help to reach a shared perception of how the

Learners can also be sceptical about whether the assessment

learning activity should be assessed and this supports reliability

approach is valid and reliable. Validity considers whether the

between assessors. Ideally a ‘practice run’ which enables

assessment is measuring what it is intended to measure,

the students to become familiar with the process of digital

and reliability that the result of the assessment is consistent

storytelling and technology whilst learning from the feedback

between markers and time.

will enable them to be well prepared for this type of assessment activity.

‘Feedback from someone else reading

External examiners as quality assurors of assessment, learning

it, would help. It’s hard because you

and teaching in Higher Education have provided positive

know in your mind what artefacts you are

credibility for this type of assessment. Digital stories were

using, what they kind of stand for but if someone else were to read it, it would be interesting to see if they could see where

feedback on the use of digital storytelling in Dietetics, adding viewed using a PebblePad gateway making the assessment process and tutor feedback explicit and auditable. The exact assessment rubric will depend on the intended use of the digital storytelling approach for reflective learning.

you are coming from.’

There may be an emphasis on the use of multimedia to

Postgraduate Dietetics dtudent

of a piece of group or project work but there may also be the


express emotions and thoughts or to document the evolution

‘Despite initial apprehensions, student creativity and use of digital artefacts exceeded all of our expectations making digital storytelling a powerful medium for

An example of an assessment criteria and marking scheme used for Postgraduate Diploma in Dietetics students at Leeds Metropolitan University. See Dietetics case study, p XX) Creativity and the use of digital artefacts are weighted carefully within the overall M level marking scheme. Full criteria are included in Appendix 1, p XX.

assessment at M level.’ Postgraduate Dietetics tutor requirement to demonstrate a change in perspective, so-called

description of events but deeper reflection includes a stepping

transformative learning.

back from events and actions with evidence of challenge, and possibly change, to existing beliefs and perspectives. This

The storytelling approach

deeper level is equivalent to when transformative learning takes place.

Individuals tell stories to convey their experiences to others and these stories may include information, opinions and emotions. It is a natural step for storytelling to be used for reflective learning since an integral aspect of many stories is reflection on an experience with the development of new insights. The process of telling a story, whether written or oral, requires the teller to notice and make sense of an experience. The presentation of the story, either private or within a group appears to have an important therapeutic aspect which allows the learner to engage with their emotions; an essential part of the reflective process.

Moon’s model of reflective learning (Moon 2004) Grade A: Experiencing an event(s) has changed, or confirmed, how you experience an event(s). You may wish to change how you respond to similar event(s) in the future. You provide an explanation, including references to other literature, e.g. articles or books.

Although no single structure can be representational of all

Grade B: Involves judgement – what went well, or less

stories, a typical sequence is a beginning, middle and an end.

well and why.

Usually the beginning sets the scene and this is followed by a

Grade C: Describing an event – recognising how it affects

middle component in which the ‘drama unfolds’ and the main

your feelings, attitudes and beliefs and/or questioning

aspects of the story are presented and discussed. The end

what has been learnt and comparing it to previous

of the story usually contains an important message that the


storyteller wishes to tell the audience. There are close parallels of these stages with the phases required for effective reflection.

Grade D: Describing an event – recognising that something is important but not explaining why.

McDrury & Alterio’s model of reflective

Grade E: Describing an event – repeating the details of an

storytelling (McDrury and Alterio 2003)

event without offering any interpretation.

Story Finding

Grade F: Describing an event – poor description of an

Story Telling


Story Expanding Story Processing Story Reconstructing

In conclusion

The levels of reflection approach

The assessment approach to reflective learning when using

Most assessments will incorporate levels of reflection and

assessment requirements and the intended outcomes of the use

this approach is based on the concept of depth of reflection.

of digital storytelling. It is essential however that assessment

Superficial reflection is considered to occur when there is only

guidelines are established and made clear to students.

multimedia digital storytelling will depend on the institutional


glossary ALPS CETL

Net generation

Assessment and Learning in Practice Settings (ALPS)

A term used to describe students who have grown up

Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL).

in a world increasingly dominated by technology and


Digital artefacts


The media which form the basis of a digital story, such as,

Personal Digital Assistant

images, music, narration, sound clips, videos, animation, mind maps and diagrams.

PDP Personal Development Planning

Digital disconnect The discrepancy between the high informal use of Web

Summative assessment

2.0 technologies by young people and the lower level

Formal testing, which usually takes place at the end of

within institutional systems, such as Virtual Learning

a programme of work and is designed to determine the

Environments (VLEs).

level of skill or knowledge gained by learners in order to produce a mark or grade.

Digital literacy The skills required to identify, appreciate and utilise a variety of digital technology.

Transformative learning The process whereby a learner experiences a change in their beliefs, attitudes, opinions, expectations or

Digital natives

assumptions by critically assessing their experiences.

People who have grown up with and are used to a range of digital technologies.

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) A software system designed specifically to aid teaching

Experiential learning

and learning in an educational setting.

The process of acquiring knowledge by doing something and then reflecting upon it.

Web 2.0 technology A variety of technologies which provide user-centred

Formative assessment Ongoing, developmental assessment which provides feedback about learning. Media literacy The skills required to identify, appreciate and utilise a variety of media. MySpace, Facebook and Beebo Social networking sites which allow users to build online profiles and share the content with others. 40

opportunities to create and share content.

references and resources Please note: as this is a rapidly developing field there are many resources relating to both reflection and digital storytelling and new resources are being developed continuously. This collection is simply a snapshot of what is available currently.


Murray C, Sandars J (2009) Reflective learning for the net generation student MEDEV Newsletter 01 10-12

Alterio M (2002) Using storytelling to enhance student learning Higher Education Academy [online, accessed 25/03/09]

Ohler J (2008) Digital Storytelling in the Classroom

Available from the World Wide Web

Thousand Oaks CA: Corwin Press Sandars J (2009) AMEE Guide 44: The use of reflection in McDrury J and Alterio M (2003) Learning Through Storytelling

medical education AMEE : Dundee

in Higher Education: Using reflection and experience to improve

learning London: Kogan Page Sandars J. Murray C and Pellow (2008) Twelve tips for Moon J A (2004) A Handbook of Reflective and Experiential

using digital storytelling to promote reflective learning Medical

Learning: Theory and Practice Abingdon: Routledge Falmer

Teacher 30 774-77

Murray C and Sandars J (2008) A Trip Down Memory Lane: Using Mobile Devices to Capture Transformative Learning, MLearn Conference, Telford 8-10 October 2008

Online resources Barrett H C (2006) Researching and Evaluating Digital

Sandars J and Homer M (2008) Reflective learning and the

Storytelling as a Deep Learning Tool [online, accessed 25/03/09]

Net Generation, Medical Teacher 30 (9-10) 877-89

Available on the World Wide Web

Further reading

Gravestock P, Hanson C We Want to tell you a Story [online,

Boud D and Walker D (1998) Promoting reflection in

professional courses: the challenge of context Studies in Higher Education 23 (2) 191-206 Conole G, de Laat M, Dillon T and Darby J (2007) JISC LXP. Student experiences of technologies. Final report.

accessed 25/03/09] Available on the World Wide Web

Wegerif R The role of ICT as catalyst and support for dialogue [online, accessed 25/03/09] Available on the World Wide Web

Digital Storytelling Sites

Gauntlett D (2007) Creative Explorations Abingdon: Routledge

Kolb D A (1984) Experiential Learning Englewood Cliffs New

Jersey: Prentice-Hall

Moon J A (1999) Reflection in Learning and Professional Development London: Kogan Page 41

references and resources continued Assessment frameworks

Storyboard Pro (free video editor) Pivot (free stickfigure animator)

Copyright free media

Readwritethink (free comic strip generator)

(all media) (music) (music) (images) (images)

Digital kits Teacher’s guide to making student movies jsp?id=6758

Software Photo Story 3 (free digital story creator) digitalphotography/PhotoStory/default.mspx Audacity (freeware audio editor) (Windows) (Mac) IrfanView (free graphics) iLife (editing suite for Apple Macs)


Software Support Photo Story 3 tutorial PowerPoint tutorials MsPowerPoint

Appendix 1



1) Selection of an appropriate topic area & focus for the reflective story

2) Evidence of drawing on a model for critical reflection & to include elements from those listed below:- What was the starting point e.g. critical incident? - Acquisition of new skills & knowledge? - Have new skills & knowledge changed practice? - What was the strategy for changing practice? - Evaluation of this change? - How successful has the change been? - Has the learning been applied to practice, next stages? - Sharing of experience with colleagues?

3 marks

12 marks

Mark 2-3

Marks % Excellent 70%+

Descriptor Highly relevant and focused topic relevant to professional practice. Evidence of innovation and creativity.

1.5- 2

Above Average 60-69%

Topic relevant and focused and appropriate to professional practice

1- 1.5

Average 40-59%

Topic shows some relevance to professional practice with limited focus.

Under 1

Fail under 40%

Not a relevant topic to professional practice without clear focus.

8.5 -12

Excellent 70%+

Outstanding answer bearing in mind the assessment conditions. Excellent evidence of deep reflection including all the stated elements. Well presented and logical. Very good evidence of critical discussion skills. Very good evidence of application of knowledge and reflection to professional practice example. Very good evidence of supplementary reading.

7- 8.5

Above Average 60-69%

Good answer bearing in mind the assessment conditions. Clear and logically organised. Good evidence of deeper reflection including most of the stated elements. Some evidence of critical discussion skills and of application of knowledge and reflection to professional practice. Good evidence of supplementary reading.

4.5- 7

Average 40-59%

Limited answer bearing in mind the assessment conditions but lacking in structure. Limited evidence of deeper reflection with only some of the stated elements. Limited critical discussion skills and application of knowledge and reflection to professional practice. Limited evidence of supplementary reading.

Under 4.5

Fail under

No evidence of deep reflection with only few of the stated elements. Little evidence of critical discussion skills, outside reading or application

REFLECTIVE DIGITAL STORY – FEEDBACK ONofASSIGNMENT 40% knowledge and reflection to professional practice. Poorly structured CURRENT ISSUES IN PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE (MC7) and lacking in material. Question is not addressed.

3) Evidence of creativity, application & learning drawn from a 5 marks 3.5- 5 Excellent Excellent selection of evidence which enhances and supports the selection of digital (images/sound) & written artefacts from some of 70%+ reflective process. Critical application of a range of evidence to support the following: professional development. Reflective tools e.g. reflective diary, discussions, ©Katie Peck and reflective Fiona Taylor, Senior Lecturers in Nutrition & Dietetics, Leeds Metropolitan University, February 2009. critical incident analysis, assessment tools & other portfolio 3- 3.5 Above Good selection of evidence which supports the reflective process. Good evidence. Average critical application of a range of evidence to support professional Reflection on experiences from Placement B & SWOT 60-69% development. analysis, HEB, RPB & LOB forms, aims & learning outcomes from Placement B. Portfolio- general evidence & specifically reflective 2- 3 Average Limited selection of evidence to support the reflective process. Some writing/images/sound 40-59% critical application of a range of evidence to support professional HEA, RPA & SAA forms & reflective learning from placement development. A Work products & assignments from academic & placement settings in appropriate media Under 2 Fail Poor selection of evidence to support the reflective process. Poor critical PDP work, lectures & tutorials e.g. application of learning under application of a range of evidence to support professional development. styles analysis, SWOT analysis, key skills self-evaluation, 40% personal objectives, Key academic & Portfolio references 4) Evidence of key points of learning from reflective story & 5 marks 3.5- 5 Excellent Excellent critical application of learning with comprehensive recommendations for further practice 70%+ recommendations for practice 3- 3.5

2- 3

Under 2

Total mark and final percentage

25 marks

Above Average 60-69% Average 40-59%

Good critical application of learning with some recommendations for practice

Fail under 40% Marker:

Limited critical application of learning with no recommendations for practice

Some critical application of learning but with limited recommendations for practice

Katie Peck


©Katie Peck and Fiona Taylor, Senior Lecturers in Nutrition & Dietetics, Leeds Metropolitan University, February 2009.



Digital Storytelling Guide  

Digital Storytelling Guide

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