Digital Storytelling: Boosting Literacy Practices in Students at A1-Level

Main Article Content

Pedro Alejandro González Mesa


This article describes the implementation of digital storytelling in an English language class of eleventh graders at a private school in Mosquera, Colombia. It is a descriptive qualitative study, carried out for about six months by using digital tools to foster language production in the language learners. The implementation contained digital storytelling as a pedagogical strategy for developing the writing literacy practice. The personal stories and media literacy allowed the participants to combine both narratives and digital elements when writing in English in a collaborative work-group in which they co-constructed their stories. The data collected was analyzed by using ATLAS ti. Open questions looked for information about the writing process and the digital tools implemented when creating the stories. The findings revealed that the participants developed writing and speaking manners while assuming different roles. In addition, the digitalization of stories strengthened their multi-literacies. The participants’ recordings of their voices helped them improve their oral production without worrying about their classmates’ opinion. Finally, negotiation in the group roles, as writer, designer and media creator, played an important role when working in groups.

Article Details

How to Cite
González Mesa, P. A. (2020). Digital Storytelling: Boosting Literacy Practices in Students at A1-Level. HOW Journal, 27(1), 83-104.
Research Reports
Author Biography

Pedro Alejandro González Mesa, Corporación Universitaria Minuto de Dios

Pedro Alejandro González Mesa holds a Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics to TEFL and has taught English and trained teachers for more than 10 years. He currently works at Corporación Universitaria Minuto de Dios, Bogotá, Colombia. His research interests include critical discourse analysis and contextualized practices.


Aguirre, A. (2010). Writing hyperstories collaboratively for an authentic audience (Unpublished master thesis). Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas, Bogotá, Colombia.
Alvermann, D., & Hagood, M. (2000). Critical media literacy: Research, theory, and practice in “new times”. The Journal of Educational Research, 93(3), 193-205.
Asthana, S. (2008). Young people, new media, and visual design: An Exploratory Study. Youth Media Reporter, Academic issue, 129-137.
Alavi, M. (1994). Computer-mediated collaborative learning: An empirical evaluation. MIS Quarterly, 18(2), 159-174.
Bayon, V., Wilson, J., Stanton, D., & Boltman, A. (2003). Mixed reality storytelling environments. Virtual Reality, 7, 54-63.
Bruffee, K. (1984). Collaborative learning and the "conversation of mankind". College English, 46(7), 635-652.
Clavijo, A., Quintana, A., Quintero, L., (2011). Enseñanza del inglés y medios digitales: nuevos retos y posibilidades para la escuela. Bogota, Colombia: Editorial UD.
Creswell, J. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (4th Ed.). Los Angeles: Sage Publications.
Cross, D. (2007). Developing writing skills: A practical handbook of language teaching. Phoenix: Prentice Hall.
Crystal, D. (2010). A little book of language. USA: Yale University Press.
Czarnecki, K. (2009). How digital storytelling builds 21st century skills. Library Technology Reports, 15-19.
Guasch, T., et al. (2013). Effects of feedback on collaborative writing in an online learning environment. Distance Education, 34(3), 324–338.
Johns, A. M. (1990). L1 Composition theories: Implications for developing theories of L2 composition. In B. Kroll (Ed.), Second language writing (pp. 24-36). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kenny, R. (2008). Digital narrative as a change agent to teach reading to media-centric students. International Journal of Social Science, 2(3), 187-195.
Kellner, D., & Share, J. (2005). Toward critical media literacy: Core concepts, debates, organizations, and policy. Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 26(3), 369-386.
Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2004). A handbook for teacher research (1st Ed.). UK: McGraw-Hill International.
Lopez, S. (2011). Weblogs: a way to promote digital literacies skills and EFL writing (Unpublished master thesis). Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas, Bogotá, Colombia.
Malkawi, R., & Davies, P. (2012). Integration of multi-media technologies to facilitate reflection and learning, particularly in the area of digital storytelling. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Education and e-Learning Innovations (ICEELI), Sousse, Tunisia, 1–3 July 2012.
Mei, L., & Griffith, P. (2014). Impacts of online technology use in second language writing: A review of the literature. Reading Improvement, 51(3), 303-312.
Myers, J. (2006). Literacy practices and digital literacies: A commentary on Swenson, Rozema, Young, McGrail, and Whitin. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 6(1), 61-66.
Myers, J., & Beach, R. (2004). Constructing critical literacy practices through technology tools and inquiry. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 4(3), 257-268.
Nisha, M. (2012). Research sampling. Indian Streams Research Journal, 2(10), 16-33.
Prada, A. (2011). A window to social voices: Argumentative writing through digital artifacts (Unpublished master thesis). Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas, Bogotá, Colombia.
Raimes, A. (1983). Anguish as a second language? Remedies for composition teachers. In A. Freedman, I. Pringle, & J. Yalden (Eds.), Learning to write: First language/second language (pp. 258-272). London: Longman.
Rojas, G. (2011). Writing using blogs: A way to engage Colombian adolescents in meaningful communication. Profile: Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, 13(2), 11-27.
Salinas, Y. (2014). Collaborative project work development in a virtual environment with low-intermediate undergraduate Colombian students. Profile: Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, 16(1), 29-48.
Vaismoradi, M. (2013). Content analysis and thematic analysis: Implications for conducting a qualitative descriptive study. Nursing and Health Sciences, 15, 398-405.
Valderrama, D. (2012). EFL learners’ investment in online digital literacies (Unpublished master thesis). Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas, Bogotá, Colombia.
Vera, E., Perez, D., & Olaya, A. (2011). Hacia una perspectiva de desarrollo profesional mediado por TIC para docentes de inglés. Bogotá, Colombia: Universidad Pedagógica Nacional.
White, R., & Arndt, V. (1991). Process writing (1st Ed.). London: Longman.