Bring the creative potential of video storytelling to your classroom

“We are all storytellers. We live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling.” – Jimmy Neil Smith

Narratives shape our world and the world around us. Our instinctive need to tell stories hasn’t changed, but one thing that has is the way we share our stories. From allegories on cave walls, grand literary epics, to the modern video storytellers on TV and YouTube – storytelling is a part of our DNA.

Our minds have always been image processors, not word processors. According to dual-channel learning theory, people generally remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see and 50% of what they hear and see. This suggests that using the audio-visual medium is a great approach to achieving optimum recall of complex information. Yet video often has this reputation as being passive, not active. This is a misnomer. The applications of video in the classroom doesn’t begin and end at the recall and comprehension stages, it also cultivates higher-order thinking processes through the act of storytelling itself.  

Teachers as storytellers 

Storytelling is as critical to teaching as it is directing a film or writing a novel. Teachers have always been storytellers, weaving narratives to capture student’s imaginations, and fuel their curiosity. 

As educators, our role is to equip students with the skills to deconstruct stories, both in written and visual form and encourage them to respond with stories of their own. This stems from our ability to interpret stories effectively, supported by resources and technologies that encourage students to share theirs.  

Students as storytellers 

Students are innate screen storytellers, immersed in video from an early age, using and responding to the medium is their second nature. Through their access to resources and technology, students share the unique ways they see the world through video, every day.

Accessing higher-order processes through video 

Video can activate learning, unlike any other modality. It builds strong engagement amongst students for new knowledge, aiding their recall and comprehension through dual-channel learning. Complex issues are made more digestible through formats like short-format documentaries. This enables greater synthesis, analysis and ultimately creation, where students themselves can document and record their own projects as video storytellers.

With only a limited amount of  ‘film texts’ accredited to each state and territory’s suggested text guides, there is an opportunity to refresh your program’s resources with a wider variety of video texts. Resource centres such as EnhanceTV have a range of short-format clips, feature films and critically acclaimed documentaries, that can inspire your students to think outside the box and immerse them in the important issues of our time. 

Here’s just a couple of curriculum-linked videos that can creatively inspire your students… 

A great example of encouraging higher-order thinking is the series Aussie Inventions that changed the world. This program shares the stories of Australia’s leading creators, whose inventions changed the way we live our lives. The teaching resources created for the series are appropriate for years levels 5-12. The series immerses students in the cultural and historical contexts that led these creative thinkers to examine problems, test and learn, solve for them and push humanity forward. The series also acts as an inspirational springboard for students to acknowledge real-world problems that they can analyse and attempt to solve, with the opportunity for them to document and record their journey of invention through video storytelling. 

Go Back to Where You Came From is another compelling program that captures the true power of storytelling. Recounting the stories of Australia’s refugees, asylum seekers and their journeys from across the globe. This program explores polarising personal, political and cultural worldviews, challenging students to think critically about what it means to be an Australian and a global citizen. 

Both programs can be examined from a diverse range of viewpoints, moving across subjects domains and transporting students through our history and culture. They inspire our students to share their views and opinions, showing us the possibilities of video storytelling.

In the 21st Century Classroom, it’s about reconceptualising students as storytellers. As educators, our objective is to put the power of story into students’ hands, as they are the storytellers of the future. 

Sign-up today for an obligation-free account that lets you share curriculum-linked videos with your students.

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