Digital Storytelling and Authenticity

Whether creating lessons for social studies or science, designing activities for developing library skills or planning lessons with ELLs (English Language Learners) in mind, authenticity and relevance are key to effective learning. The purpose of authenticity and relevance in learning is that learners are engaging in “real world activities which apply directly to a student’s experience” (Finch & Jefferson. 2013).

According to Ozverir, Vanci and Herrington (2017), “[a]uthentic learning is an instructional approach that provides learners with opportunities to develop knowledge ‘embedded in the social and physical context within which it will be used’ (Herrington et al., 2010, p. 15)” (p. 262).

With this in mind, Stansbury presents her case for using digital storytelling to provide authentic opportunities for ELLs to use English in relevant and meaningful communication in Video of the Week: Amplify Your ELLs’ Voices with Digital Storytelling. Although aimed at teachers working with ELLs, the idea of building on learners’ strengths through digital tools is relevant to any subject area. Be sure to click on the resources link.


Finch. J. & Jefferson, R. (2013). Designing authentic learning tasks for online library instructionThe Journal of Academic Librarianship, 39 (2), 181-188.

Ozverir, I., Osam, U. V., & Herrington, J. (2017). Investigating the effects of authentic activities on foreign language learning: A design-based research approach. Educational Technology & Society, 20 (4), 261–274.

Stansbury, M. (2018). Video of the Week: Amplify your ELLs’ voices with digital storytellingeSchool News.

One Response

  1. Hi, Lynn. Happy New Year! With the web opening up so many opportunities for authentic learning, it’s a wonder that more faculty aren’t taking advantage of it. -Jim

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