Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

The Effect of Digital Storytelling in Improving the Third Graders' Writing Skills *

Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

The Effect of Digital Storytelling in Improving the Third Graders' Writing Skills *

Article excerpt


The recent studies have reiterated the fact that the students who fall behind until the third grade in terms of reading achievement are not able to keep up with their peers, and the gap among the peers increases gradually (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2010). Considering the significant effects of the internet on the new literacy, children should be trained with the opportunities in the new literacy starting from the earlier stages of their childhood. Although the children from the high socioeconomic level interact with the information technologies and internet from the early years within the bounds of opportunities (Coiro, Knobel, Lankshear, & Leu, 2008; Cooper, 2004), the children from the low socioeconomic level are deprived of these opportunities (Forzani & Leu, 2012; Leu, O'Byrne, Zawlinski, McVerry, & Everett-Cacopardo, 2009). A range of studies have also pinpointed that some variables such as gender, age, race, parents' educational levels, class and region result in a digital divide in the access and use of internet and computer (Bimber, 2000; Hoffman & Novak, 1998; Leu, Forzani, Rhoads, Maykel, Kennedy, & Timbrell, 2014; Li & Ranieri, 2013; Zhao, Lu, Huang, & Wang, 2010). The students from low socioeconomic level could not have the opportunity to interact with internet and information technologies, and they have a limited access to the internet sources at home. Therefore, the gap between the students from high and low socioeconomic levels expands steadily, and it becomes a requisite to help the students in disadvantaged regions develop their new literacy skills. Thus, the aim of the current study is to examine the effect of digital storytelling as a multimedia learning tool on the rural primary school students' writing skills.

Writing Instruction

National Commission on Writing (NCW) declare writing as the most neglected domain among reading, writing and arithmetic research in its 2003 report. Today, the importance of writing has gradually been increasing in terms of self-expression and communication with world. Although the role of writing is emphasized in professional and academic achievement (Graham & Perin, 2007a; NCW, 2003-2004), many studies in Turkey and other countries have reported the students' insufficiencies in their writing skills (Arıcı & Ungan, 2008; NCW, 2003; National Center Education Statistics [NCES], 2012; Salahu-Din, Persky, & Miller, 2008).

Writing research was influenced by the methods of psychology and anthropology in the last century (Prior, 2006). At first, writing research was under the influence of cognitive models and theories. Some of these models were the ones proposed by Hayes and Flower (1980), Bereiter and Scardamalia (1987), and Hayes (1996). After the criticism that the scientific paradigm of cognitive fail to understand the context of writing, the studies (e.g. Englert, 1992; Englert, Mariage, & Dunsmore, 2006; Prior, 2006; Russell, 1997; Schultz & Fecho, 2000) headed for examining the effect of social, historical and political contexts on writing. Then, researchers have tended to study on the socio-cultural aspect of writing.

Literacy as a social practice scrutinizes how the culture, history and environment of students are intertwined with literacy (Skinner & Hagood, 2008). Today, reading and writing improved on to be collaborative and social. Due to the time spent on social cyber networks, we are able to communicate with others through a click (Bromley, 2012). The constantly developing internet technologies allow us to disseminate our views to millions of people and exchange our ideas. We can learn what is happening even in the remoter parts of the world in a short time. The opportunities of information and communication technologies emphasize the social and cultural aspects of reading and writing skills.

Individuals construct their identities on contexts and experiences, and they intrinsically do not discriminate their identities apart from social context and interaction (Vasudevan, Schultz, & Bateman, 2010). …

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