I want to share a creative use of technology to teach language, which I learned about during a presentation on Engagement and Narrative Approaches by Karen Matthews and Judy Sillito at the ATESL 2013 Conference (ATESL = Alberta Teachers of English as a Second Language).

The process they shared, which I have overly simplified here, began in class with an oral story circle.  From there, students were asked to develop a three-minute personal story to relate using We Video.


Students wrote their stories, recorded their narration, collected photos, video and audio, and assembled them into a short movie with We Video.

The presenters highlighted that using a digital format puts “adult” into storytelling.  The stories conveyed were rich and powerful, even though created by relatively new speakers of English.  One of the participants related that, through this storytelling experience, she felt “deeply heard” in English!  Far more powerful than merely saying she can speak English!

The language learning benefits were numerous.  There was a real sense of accomplishment and engagement as well.  The caution to teachers was ensuring the work belonged to the student (no distribution or sharing publicly by the class).