How Digital Storytelling Helped Students Make Sense of the Pandemic

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Explore and create : Creation lab

Chris Allen  
Elis Estrada  

Processing current events through personal narratives and media-making helped thousands of students make sense of drastic shifts in their education during the coronavirus pandemic. Through storytelling and digital technology, learn how PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs engages students to highlight the achievements, challenges and reality of today’s youth.

Audience: Library media specialists, Principals/head teachers, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: During the session attendees will need to download the Flipgrid app to their cell phone for video editing.
Topic: Storytelling/multimedia
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: Career and technical education, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
  • Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.
For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

During this session participants will be given all the resources necessary to being using digital storytelling and media making within their curriculum. With everything that is going on in our world at the moment, it is imperative that we allow our students to tell the stories that matter to them around current events and give the tools necessary to do so. This session will equip educators with best practices, resources and project-based lessions to be able to give their students that space.


From the coronavirus pandemic and the election to climate change and racial injustice, presenters will introduce educators to the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs. In this session you will discover tangible project-based resources to guide students in telling REAL stories about issues that matter to them in virtual and in-person learning environments. Participants will walk away with new ideas for strengthening critical thinking and media literacy. Finally, using the strategies developed through this session you will create a short 60 second digital story around a topic that’s important to you and your students.

Supporting research,county%2C%20state%20and%20regional%20issues.&text=That%20number%20is%20certainly%20higher%20today.

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Chris Allen, PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs
Elis Estrada, PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs