IICBA hosted a Brown Bag Lunch Seminar on ‘Digital Storytelling: Tools for Active Learning’

Digital Stories are short movies, often animated, and unique from other kinds of movies because of their personal nature (they are user-generated), their style (they are short), their object (usually the promotion of a social justice theme) and their cultural provenance. Teachers have been using free software to enhance learning by working with students to create and share their digital stories.

On February 18, 2019, IICBA welcomed Professor Suzanne Bouclin from the University of Ottawa who gave a seminar on Digital Storytelling (DST) as tools for active learning. Dr. Binyam Sisay, Program Officer at IICBA, facilitated the seminar attended by around 20 people, including IICBA staff and guests from UNHCR, UN WOMEN, UNICEF, UNECA and OHCHR.

During the presentation, Professor Suzanne introduced the definition, benefits, quality measures and tools of DST as well as the difficulties and concerns of using DST. She introduced a successful project in Canada, which helped homeless people to develop animated videos about their own stories. Through personal narratives, DST can help to narrow the gap between stereotypes and realities: it demonstrates different perspectives about marginalized and vulnerable populations, such as their identities and life priorities, which complements existing narratives, for example, journalism. In addition, she highlighted that the best DST is not only grounded in personal narratives, but also reflects larger issues of the society. This further emphasizes the important role of education and quality measures in providing frameworks to form meaningful and comprehensive stories. At the same time, concerns on privacy and re-traumatization were addressed during the discussion.

This presentation received active feedback from the participants. They shared practices of using DST in Ethiopia and exchanged opinions on the effectiveness and challenges when using DST as a research method and learning tool. Furthermore, IICBA expressed a strong intention of future collaboration with Professor Suzanne on improving teachers’ images through DST, which could help to revitalize the teacher profession throughout the continent.