Digital Storytelling: An Inclusive Tool And Post-Pandemic Healing Methodology

School people have been facing a socio-emotional and learning crisis and students’ increasing lack of empathy, motivation and enthusiasm. The situation is getting worse due to the pandemic effects. Surveys at a global and local level give evidence of students’ difficulties in enjoying any kind of experiences, even learning ones, with the consequence of getting low results in terms of attendance level and marks and in terms of emotional involvement in experiences. 

Being the teacher not just the facilitator of knowledge, but a “personal coach and trainer” of enthusiasm for experiences of growth, a strong need for a deeper involvement has been observed to the extent that students’ “emotional skills” were questioned and recognised worth being aroused. 

Hence the question for the research action:

“What is the impact of using digital storytelling for awakening the pleasure of learning and developing communicative skills in students with lack of interest, absence of emotions and passions and apathetic behaviour?

“Can the use of digital storytelling promote inclusion? 

The action research led in a 16/17 year-old group of students attending Liceo linguistico N.Cassarà in Palermo. 

Experiential emotional labs and various activities have been designed to boost feelings of pleasure and psycho-physical wellbeing, to promote sensorial-emotional “reeducation” to enjoyment and  relationships with oneselves, nature, the Other, besides educating to images, sounds and colours and creating the right mood to express one’s own thoughts and give value to other people’s perspectives.

Stimulating the understanding and decoding of what surrounds us through the five senses can be a strategy to get to self- awareness and confidence, full enjoyment and fulfilment, a state of real well being and an attitude of empathy.

As a result, digital storytelling has boosted students’ critical thinking, creativity and self confidence.  Even though young people are digital natives and they are exposed to a lot of images, videos or photos, they are not always able to analyse them in depth and to use them properly to represent their stories. Students have understood that using technology needs to be nourished with a  more authentic human involvement.

The results of this study have confirmed that the level of enthusiasm for learning  and growing has increased through storytelling and digital storytelling software. Even other school teachers have become interested in starting courses on video-making and cinema at school, even through Erasmus projects and contacts with specialised schools and universities.