Three Ways Digital Storytelling Supports Formative Assessment

Here are three ways that digital storytelling supports formative assessment:


  • Digital Media/Snapshots of student learning, while they are learning.
  • Reflections that help students pivot and make new iterations.
  • Summarizes the experience to help students review and see their growth.


Digital Media/Snapshots

I have students take small video recordings (5-8 seconds) of moments they deem important.  I emphasize “deem important” because this forces them to reflect on what they are doing and how they are going to do it.  I then have them make a plan on what they will take snapshots of.  They can use a GoPro, smartphone, tablet or their Chromebook camera.  Next they should  capture those key moments in the lesson and think about how they are going to explain them.  When they see their product, work, collaboration, or lack thereof, they realize that the truth is staring right at them.  They have a visual artifact of what they did while they were doing it.  They are observing themselves.  This certainly supports the purpose of improving their learning.



Rusul Alrubail made a list of the benefits of student reflection.  I think in order to believe that reflection can help improve student learning, it is important to see its benefits.  When students are given a guide/template on how to reflect on their learning, it becomes the center of their learning.  Eric Patnoudes says students begin seeing the difference between “good” and “good enough”.  They are forced to be truthful with themselves.  Reflection templates help them analyze all of their decisions.  These reflections should be written out or narrated alongside a video so that that their group members, parents and teacher can give feedback on their learning.  This helps them improve on what they are doing.



After every game, a coach has to think about what they are going to say to their team, win or lose.  A great coach lets their players have a voice during this time.  Education is no different.  If teachers give their students the opportunity and time to summarize the learning that just took place it gives other students an insight to what other students are thinking.  Many students will say things like this, “I never thought of that” or “I was thinking the same thing”.  When students summarize, they are owning their learning.  


Adding It All Together

Teachers that have their students take snapshots of their learning, reflect on that learning and then summarize it, they are creating an artifact of their learning.  They are telling a story of what and how they learned.  The student can now use that artifact to see their growth over time.  They can “SEE” their growth and they can make iterations along the way.  The digital portfolio supports formative assessment because when you implement these three suggestions, it WILL improve student learning.