3.1 Participants

In the present study the purposive sampling method was
utilized in order to explore students’ experience in using Storyjumper in
writing narrative text. 15 students of intermediate
proficiency level took part in the study. The participants were chosen from the
researcher’s class groups for a number of reasons, most notably due to the
mutual good relationship between the teacher and the learners. It also enabled
the researcher to constantly observe the participants’ progress. Furthermore,
since this study seeks to describe the impact of digital storytelling on
student learning, the researcher deployed an in-depth and process based use of
digital storytelling by a limited number of carefully selected participants who
are on the right developmental level of proficiency in English.

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3.2 Instruments

The evaluation instruments below
were used to assess the quality of students’ stories, student perception of the
assigned learning tasks and the type of mediation learners were responsive to.

3.2.1 Writing Evaluation Rubric

This evaluation tool was used to
evaluate student performance when using digital storytelling. The writing
evaluation rubric assessed the extent to which students gained skills while
learning through authentic digital tools. As literature
suggests authentic evaluation tools serve as an appropriate tool to assess
learning tasks which are based on ICT in which there are individual and
group presentation projects. The researcher used Narrative Writing Analytic
Evaluation Rubric written by Glencoe/McGraw-Hill
Inc. in order to evaluate learners’ writings.

3.2.2 Digital storytelling Website: Storyjumper.

In order to use a platform for learners to create digital stories
on, the researcher chose Storyjumper web 2.0 tool. The main reason the
researcher utilized this website was because Storyjumper gives teachers, students,
parents, and authors a diverse set of tools in order to create and illustrate
stories, it also is straightforward, user-friendly and easy to use.

3.3 Procedure

This
experiment is done during three months which is a term long of an English class
in AllamehTabatabaee institute of foreign languages. The class term is divided
into half (two nine sessions), in the first half the identified participants of
the study are asked to write stories in a traditional way, on a piece of paper.
But in the second half, they are asked to join the website Storyjumper and
continue with digital storytelling.

In
the first session of the class after administering the proficiency test, the
teacher explained the writing evaluation rubrics and she asked the participants
to consider the rubrics and write a story as the pretest of the study. The
students were required to write a story for each session of the class. They
were also asked to keep a daily journal in order to keep track of their
progress and write how they perceive story writing in traditional way. They
were handed a Self-Assessment Guide written by the Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, in
order to enable them to evaluate their own writing by completing the sentences
in the self-assessment guid. 

In
the first session of the second half of the class term, Storyjumper was
introduced to the students. They were each given a username and password to
join the virtual class previously created by the teacher and start writing
stories. The “How To” video of the website had been previously
downloaded by the teacher and played in the classroom so that learners wouldn’t
be confused on how to use the tools. As the stories were written at home, to
make sure the digital stories were in fact created by the students themselves,
the teacher administered in-class story writing quizzes in random sessions.
Their daily reflective journals were also collected each session.

The
students’ stories were observed by the teacher and corrected; their journals
were also collected every session and analyzed. At the end of the semester the
teacher recorded an interview to gain more in-depth information about how the
learners perceived their writing development and their experience of using
Storyjumper. However, it is notable that the participants are asked to write
the journals in their mother tongue (Persian) in order to maximize their
ability to explain how they perceive their new learning experience; the
interviews are also conducted in Persian and then translated to be presented in
this article. 

 

3.4 Data
analysis

This present study has been designed
to use both quantitative and qualitative data analysis methods. This research aims
at exploring the effects of digital storytelling on students’ writing ability;
therefore, this research will focus on the mediation and the student perception
using digital storytelling in their learning environment instead of the old
conventional methods. In order to achieve a complete understanding of the
process, both quantitative and qualitative data have been collected (mixed
method).

3.4.1 Repeated Pre and Post Tests.

Pre and post tests were used to assess the
student’s narrative writing ability. The pre-tests were the stories the
students wrote in the first half of the study.The post tests were designed in a
similar manner to the pre-tests and they were the stories students wrote after
Storyjumper was introduced.

3.4.2 Semi structured
interviews.

In order to gain in-depth information on learners’ perception
of using Storyjumper in writing, the teacher recorded group interviews; these
served as the qualitative
data which were collected through semi structured interviews. Later the data
were analyzed in order to evaluate learner perception and attitude toward using
Storyjumper in their classrooms.

3.4.3 Student reflective journals.

During the project, the students
were asked to keep journals which enabled them to assess their writing process
as individuals. Due to the fact that the student reflective journals were an
important item to the research, they were asked to write the journals at home, so
that the risk of any pressurized comments would be eliminated and they would
have enough time to reflect on their opinions which they may not have expressed
in the classroom or in the interviews.  In order to analyze learners’ perceptions and the
type of mediation they were most responsive to, the researcher used a content
thematic analysis (Hassaskhah, 2016).