Edtech Solutions
Network Summit

Film Festival in a Box: Celebrating Your Students' Digital Storytelling Projects

Times and dates are displayed based on your device's time zone setting.

Participate and share : Poster

Jessica Pack  
Georgia Terlaje  

Learn how teachers in Palm Springs Unified School District are celebrating diverse learners and enfranchising student voices by highlighting digital storytelling projects at district film festivals. Students exercise autonomy and showcase mastery through sharing their own powerful stories at a community event.

Audience: Coaches, Library media specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac
Tablet: Android, iOS
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Yo Teach for back channel chat during presentation.
Topic: Storytelling/multimedia
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Demonstrate cultural competency when communicating with students, parents and colleagues and interact with them as co-collaborators in student learning.
For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Attendees will understand the value of digital storytelling as an instructional strategy aimed at building student creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking in English language learners. A site, district or community film festival is a natural extension of the implementation of this strategy. Participants will leave this session knowing how to plan and implement a film festival to highlight student work. The educational challenge that will be presented is how to engage English learners in language practice that is authentic and relevant to the broader pictures of their lives. The celebration of this work is the film festival. A variety of student examples and elementary and K-12 film festival clips will be shared.


1. Welcome and presenter introductions - 2 minutes
2. Description of educational context in which presenters work (i.e. student and community demographics, barriers). Identifying the challenge: Making core content and language practice engaging for all students, especially English language learners and marginalized populations. - 5 minutes
3. Explanation of the benefits of digital storytelling: building future-ready learners, confident creators, and effective communicators. - 5 minutes
4. Explanation of the storytelling process and the barriers that generally keep teachers from letting their students tell more stories through the medium of movie-making. - 5 minutes
5. Explanation of how storytelling can break down cultural barriers in order to create more inclusive learning environments. - 5 minutes
6.Explanation of how a student film festival can be intentionally designed as celebration of learning. Video examples will be shared from PSUSD's film festivals. 10 minutes
7. Planning template will be shared as a tool for year long planning with the end in mind. 10 minutes
8. Ideas for recruiting other teachers/admin to help plan and execute the event. Will also share ideas for community business involvement and support. 5 minutes
9. How to create an immersive experience before and after the event that everyone can enjoy. 5 minutes
10. Closing, questions and additional resources. 8 minutes

Supporting research

Professors from the University of California Irvine published a research-based article about the digital storytelling initiative in Palm Springs Unified School District, where the presenters teach and coach. This article appears in the "International Literacy Association" publication is is entitled: Digital Storytelling: A District Initiative for Academic Literacy Improvement.

More [+]


Jessica Pack, James Workman Middle School

As a middle school teacher for 16 years and a California Teacher of the Year (2014), Jessica has continually worked to redefine what learning looks like in her classroom. An ISTE author, Jessica's book, Moviemaking in the Classroom, will be released in August 2021. She is an advocate for student choice and voice, as demonstrated by the original content her students regularly publish for a global audience. She also spent over a decade as a professional development instructor and Consulting Teacher for a digital storytelling non-profit organization called DIGICOM Learning, aimed at promoting moviemaking in southern California classrooms.

Georgia Terlaje, Palm Springs Unified School District

Georgia Terlaje has taught for 31 years and is currently and instructional coach for Palm Springs Unified. She has used digital storytelling as an instructional strategy for 11 years and has presented on the topic at both regional and national conferences. She was also instrumental in creating PSUSD’s first elementary film festival that is now in it’s 4th year. Georgia is also a teacher-consultant for DIGICOM Learning. In this role, she is a lead instructor for professional development courses for teachers in the area of digital storytelling. Georgia has a digital storytelling podcast, “Storytelling Saves the World”.

People also viewed

5 Ways to Reimagine Digital Assessments
Engineering With Paper: Arcade Games
Self-Paced Professional Development for Teacher Success