This is Us: Fostering Effective Storytelling through EdTech & Student’s Influence as Digital Citizens

Concurrent Session 5
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

“This is Us” demonstrates how leveraging storytelling in learning engages students to effectively communicate their authentic story, transitioning from consumerism to become creators and influencers. Addressing responsibility as a digital citizen, information and digital literacy, online privacy, and strategies with examples using several edtech tools, will be reviewed.


Maikel Alendy is currently a senior instructional designer with FIU Online. With degrees from the University of Florida and Florida International University in the fields of neuroscience, cultural anthropology, healthcare, and business; his main research interests and publications are in cardiovascular molecular biology, aging, social media, anthropology, and online pedagogy. Within FIU’s honors college, Maikel teaches the fully-online course Digital Fairytale, merging social movements, disruptive technologies, and business trends with a dash of neuropsychology. He is also the instructor for the hybrid course Power of Play, in which students examine the importance of play throughout their lifetime and partner with Sweetwater Elementary to design games for K-5 students. Maikel currently serves as the online experience consultant for FIU’s Honors College and the CTO for a small digital consulting company based in Miami.
Sky V. King has been rocking the FIU Online Instructional Designer hat at Florida International University in Miami, FL since 2012. She promotes the use of best pedagogical practices and implementation of diverse forms of technology, yielding a positive online teaching experience for professors and engaging learning experience for students. Her areas of expertise include social media, gamification and user interface design. In her previous work life as a librarian, she was affectionately referred to as The Story Time Lady. She is also a seasoned Adjunct Instructor with FIU's Marketing & Logistics department. Her class (Marketing Yourself in a Global Marketplace) has earned an Affordability Counts medallion for adopting low-cost or OER course materials for students and the course has achieved Quality Matters certification.

Extended Abstract

“The most powerful person in the world is the story teller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.” Steve Jobs

Claims of fake news are ever-present and digital privacy is of national concern. Interviewers audit the social networking accounts of potential employees. Discrimination and bullying has proliferated the online landscape. For these reasons and more, it is imperative that our students are equipped with skills empowering them to be successful digital citizens. Part of this path up the mountain of success is the manner in which students market themselves to their peers and potential employers.

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but about the stories you tell.” Seth Godin

Storytelling and the use of narrative is a powerful engagement tool in learning, whether online or in-person. It helps learners develop communication skills by learning to pose questions, express opinions and construct narratives for specific audiences.  When encouraged to explore truths and define their authentic stories, they are not restrained by being told who they are, who they should be, or what they should think. Students who master effective storytelling skills drive the destiny of their future, being able to advocate for themselves and other important causes they value. This session presents opportunities and methods in which to weave digital storytelling for an impactful course experience.

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” Audrey Lorde

We will explore how social media, seen as a disruptive medium with selfies and oversharing, can be channeled to increase organic engagement, effective learning, and social change. We will review strategies that transform its allure for good, including evidence-based research and real-world applications. While addressing the influence of social media, audience members will participate in a Kahoot! game to assess perceptions about social networks. Information revealed during game play will demonstrate its efficacy in motivating and engaging learners and value in the classroom.

Several free/freemium or low cost social media platforms and technology solutions will be introduced. Examples from two different classes and other use stories introducing novel approaches to how these tools are utilized will be shared. Some of these highlighted tools may include Fakebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube, LinkedIn, Piktochart, Imgflip, Notebowl, Playposit and Apprennet.

“Anyone can have a once-upon-a-time or happily-ever-after, but it’s the journey between that makes the story worth telling.” Chris Colfer

Before transitioning into the Q & A segment, a 5-minute reflection period will be established to allow participants to ponder the general contents of the presentation and a few provided thought-invoking prompts.

We will utilize Google Slides Q & A feature to field questions from the audience through interactive question and answer, where each member can use their phone to ask a question. Participants can vote up a posed question if they have the same inquiry. At the conclusion of the presentation, we will reveal the questions and address them during the last 10 minutes of the session. Also, during this Q & A session we will invite audience contribution for those who have effectively used technology in an innovative way to share their experience as time allows.

By the end of the presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Develop and create meaningful learning opportunities through the use of storytelling strategies
  • Optimize social media use for community development and enhanced learning goals
  • Design interactive lessons that promote learner engagement and digital literacy
  • Explain the rationale for addressing responsibility as a digital citizen in an online course    

Participants will be provided with a full version of the Google Slides presentation on the conference website. Additionally, a valuable handout detailing each technology solution discussed, similar technology solutions available, applicable links and use stories will be posted. The presenters will strive to instill a sense of excitement in using technology-driven solutions to remix or create assignments that harness the creative talents of students in sharing their own stories.

“Come then, and let us pass a leisure hour in storytelling, and our story shall be the education of heroes.” Plato