University of Calgary (QATAR)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 3739-3745
ISBN: 978-84-616-2661-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain
Storytelling is an ancient and unique way of sharing information and influencing culture. Digital storytelling is the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories. The Digital Storytelling classroom project was born out of desire to connect at a deeper level with my students, to add to my teaching toolkit with student centered and participatory teaching methods and to promote the idea that knowledge is not always text displayed between margins on a page. I teach an introductory level computer course at a Transnational University in the Middle East, the main goal for the course is that student will be able to use technology as a tool in their studies, careers and personal lives and ready them to fully participate in technology rich world.

The project began with a review of the current literature on digital storytelling in higher education and a scan of the local culture. Qatar and the people of Qatar, come from a rich oral tradition, and are masterminds at storytelling, culturally similar to the indigenous people of Canada, which I had experience with previously. The local population demographics are; 15 % citizens, 85% other nationalities such as Indians, Filipino, and Africans etc. The classroom is diverse by race, ethnicity, and culture as well as varying levels of language acquisition. The language of instruction is English with student English levels varying from low to high intermediate. Written English is a challenge with students from the gulf region; their oral English language skills are better developed. Current research completed by a colleague suggests that 50% of our students learning styles are AE (doing) learn by actively experimenting.

The results of the project exceeded my expectations. Observations and attendance records showed increased student engagement and timely completion of assignments. Students were motivated to develop and share high quality digital stories. Second language students found their voice and shared their culture, history and personal experiences. Faculty and staff attending the student presentations commented that the cultural insight was invaluable for them.
Digital Storytelling has much to offer, as a teaching and learning approach within the Transnational Higher Education Classroom, I plan to continue studying and applying Digital Storytelling in my classes as a means of providing meaningful and motivating learning.
Digital storytelling, transnational, technology, higher education.