Is It Just "Very Fun?" Or Does It Actually Help?: Digital Storytelling in L2 Academic Writing

Koelzer, Marie-Louise
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This qualitative case study focused on second language (L2) writers' development of textual coherence in academic expository writing. The purpose of this study was threefold. First, it was to examine whether digital storytelling facilitates and/or prevents L2 writers' development of academic writing skills in terms of textual coherence. Second, it was to compare L2 writers' traditional essays (word processor) and digital stories; and third, it was to analyze how L2 writers utilize multimodality (use of words with visuals and/or sounds) to convey ideas. Two English as a Second Language (ESL) writers from a level three grammar and writing course participated in the study to develop a draft for two expository writing tasks; one draft on a word processing file (traditional essay) and the other on iMovie (digital story). Using thematic text analysis, the study compared and contrasted students' traditional essays and digital stories. Although a digital approach of writing did not appear to have an impact on L2 writers' writing abilities, the study found similarities rather than differences between a traditional approach of writing and a digital approach of writing. Thus, digital literacy practices could be integrated in the L2 writing curriculum to enhance students' awareness of literacy practices in a digital era, allowing learners become skilled writers. However, the use of technology should be situated within students' personal life in order to facilitate the academic writing experiences in the L2 classroom.

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coherence, digital literacy, digital storytelling, ESL, second language writing
Bicultural-Bilingual Studies