Storytelling is considered one of the most effective ways for teaching a foreign language, and it enables learners to build greater confidence in their target language fluency through improving their presentational skills. Furthermore, storytelling sparks learners’ curiosity about the target culture while stimulating learners’ creative thinking and active learning processes. This paper investigates how the technique of storytelling can be further enriched by using multi-media technologies. To this end, I examine a use case scenario in which a multi-media platform called "Thinglink" (https://www.thinglink.com/) is utilized to support learners’ storytelling activities. I demonstrate how this platform helps learners organize their stories with creativity and self-directness. I contend that storytelling with multi-media technologies has particular benefits— not only does it enhance learners’ linguistic skills but also it develops their digital literacy in the target language. The organization of the paper is as follows: first, I present how the platform, Thinglink, enables us to create learning materials with multi-media. Second, I explain the storytelling assignment that I used for my Japanese classes, focusing on its intended outcomes and its assessment method. Third, I showcase sample storytelling products created by my students, and point out differences between traditional storytelling and the one with multi-media. I argue that multi-media technologies make storytelling much more engaging visually and auditorily. Overall, this paper makes the case that storytelling with multi-media technologies has great potential to advance students’ digital literacy and language teachers should investigate options for including such technologies in their pedagogy.
Takako Aikawa, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States