Digital Storytelling in the Multilingual Academic Writing Classroom: Expanding the Possibilities

  • Joel Bloch The Ohio State University
Keywords ESL, higher education, technology and digital media, academic writing, digital literacy, multimodality, Visual literacy, second language writing, textual borrowing, voice, intertextuality
Keywords ESL, higher education, technology and digital media, academic writing, digital literacy, multimodality, Visual literacy, second language writing, textual borrowing, voice, intertextuality


Digital storytelling is a form of multimedia where personal narratives are remixed with images, photos, and music. In this paper, I explore the questions raised by implementing digital stories in multilingual academic writing classes. I first discuss the goals of the courses for introducing students to the values and norms for academic writing, with importance given to the voice of the author and the use of textual borrowing. In the second part of the paper, I discuss the ways in which digital storytelling, which has primarily been developed outside the classroom in workshops and after school activities, can be implemented in a second language classroom. I argue that digital storytelling is one of the best forms of digital literacy for introducing students to the goals of the academic classroom. In the final section, I provide examples of student digital stories to illustrate how the students developed their voices in their personal narratives and borrowed multimedia to expand on those narratives. I conclude with suggestions that future research explore ways to help students learn to transfer the approaches they take to digital storytelling to their traditional academic writing assignments.

Author Biography

Joel Bloch, The Ohio State University
Joel Bloch has a PhD in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon University. He has published books on technology and writing, intellectual property and plagiarism, and multimodality and articles on technology, plagiarism and intellectual property, and digital literacies. He is currently retired but teaches one course per year on publishing at Ohio State.


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