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Digital Storytelling: A Tool for Teaching and Learning in the YouTube Generation

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Middle School Journal Volume 42, Number 5, ISSN 0094-0771


Say the phrase "Charlie bit my finger," and just about every human being with Internet access visualizes the viral video clip of baby Charlie precociously biting the finger of his brother. With almost 200 million views, this video represents just one of thousands of viral videos that form a core component of modern entertainment, news, and advertising. These snippets that people e-mail, post, and pass on to one another faster than the common cold have rapidly moved from the fringe of youth culture to the mainstream. What if teachers could capitalize on student interest in these quick and quirky video clips as a way to help students connect with curriculum? That is exactly what Tyler Binkley, a first-year teacher and member of the YouTube generation, has set out to do in his middle school math class. Binkley creates online math video vignettes that teach critical math skills, and his unique approach has been featured on television and in other news outlets. His students report going to Binkley's YouTube channel whenever they struggle with a current math task; and with thousands of views, Binkley's videos are a viral hit in Palmyra (Pennsylvania) Middle School. In this article, Oliver Dreon and Jon Landis, educational technology professors, and Richard Kerper, a children's and young adolescent literature professor, explain the emergence of Binkley's use of digital storytelling in his middle school classroom. The article outlines how instructional technology and content-specific courses in the teacher education program work in tandem to develop beginning teachers' understanding of digital storytelling as an educational tool. This coordination of efforts offers a framework for incorporating digital storytelling in the middle grades classroom and can also help practicing teachers understand the educational importance and cultural value of the digital storytelling medium. (Contains 1 figure.)


Dreon, O., Kerper, R.M. & Landis, J. (2011). Digital Storytelling: A Tool for Teaching and Learning in the YouTube Generation. Middle School Journal, 42(5), 4-9. Retrieved November 28, 2022 from .

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