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Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative case study was to investigate teacher practice in the areas of monitoring and assessing digital story projects. The Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts require students to use text-based evidence in their analyses of literary texts. Woven into the standards are expectations for students’ use of technology to research and communicate ideas in a variety of formats. When students construct digital stories based on literary works, they select images that visually represent characters, setting, theme, and conflict. Farmer (2004) observed that the process of selecting images to visually represent literary elements helped students to think critically about the story and what it meant. However, the assessment of student-authored digital products is a challenging proposition for novice technology users. The researcher followed the work of two middle grades English language arts teachers, whose students created digital stories to demonstrate their understanding of literary elements in the novel The Outsiders. Classroom observations, teacher interviews, and artifacts of teacher and student work shared through a project wiki, Google Drive and online conferencing comprised the data set. The study findings describe how the subjects used technology to facilitate project monitoring and how they incorporated formative and summative assessments into the digital storytelling project. Several implications for teacher education are discussed, including parallels to the writing process instructional model, the role of cloud computing in collaboration and assessment, and the importance of connecting teaching methods to technology coursework.

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