I'll Tell the Story My Way! Multi-perspective, Multimodal Storytelling in an Elementary Classroom
Charles, Veronika Martenova
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The project investigated how elementary students engaged in creating 21st-century narratives with multiple perspective storylines enriched with images, videos and sound. The project was implemented as three substudies - Study A, B & C, in specific instructional contexts. Study A & B employed the use of digital technology and Study C did not. All were conducted in two Toronto elementary schools over a period of six months with a total of forty-four students (comprised of 31 girls and 13 boys) aged 10 to 12, and with the collaboration of their teachers. The data collection took the form of participant observation (Spradley,1980) and detailed writing analysis. The initial procedure used a pictographic map of the structure of Snow White from which 4 class-created stories were generated, resulting in 55 students stories told from the various characters perspectives. The results showed the projects activities empowered the students and engaged them. Perspective taking in their stories allowed students to examine the lives of others, emotionally process the story, and empathize with their story characters predicaments. Findings from the project were 1) students who wrote on computers produced more text and were more reflective of their thoughts; 2) students did not collaborate in their writing when using computers while students writing in a traditional way with pencils and paper notebooks did; 3) boys and girls had distinctive narrative styles even when using the same storys content and structure; and 4) students did not use the technology as a tool to enhance personal creativity but rather as a substitute. Perspective writing may be easy to implement into practice and there is an indication that the method is widely applicable.