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Digital storytelling and teenage emotional intelligence : a South African case study.

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Little guidance is given to teachers in South Africa with regard to integrating technology into the classroom. Yet they are required to teach 21st century skills such as ICT literacy and collaborative problem-solving, as well as soft skills such as empathy, story, design, symphony, play and meaning. Competency in these skills requires high emotional intelligence that has strong links to success in the conceptual age. Digital storytelling has proven to be a successful pedagogic resource with high potential for deep learning, development of 21st century skills and emotional empowerment. As females tend to drop out of school earlier than their male counterparts, the task of this study was therefore to determine whether the making of digital stories fostered trait emotional intelligence amongst female teenagers. The study was viewed through the lens of the Technological knowledge, Pedagogical knowledge and Content Knowledge (TPCK) model and showed some shortfalls with regard to using it to assess teacher training in the integration of ICT in education. Different interventions of digital storytelling were used on four Grade 9 and four Grade 10 classes (172 pupils) in an all girls’ school with a mixed method being used. The quantitative data was obtained from a repeated self-report test for trait EI (SSEIT) and the qualitative data from a semi-structured questionnaire given to each student. The study took place at a private school in Durban, South Africa and lasted for 9 months (3 terms) from Jan 2011-Aug 2011. The qualitative data showed that digital storytelling was a unanimously positive experience in two groups only – those who made them and those who watched well-made YouTube movies picked by the educator. The other group who watched the YouTube videos as well as their peers’ movies expressed less positive experiences viz. irritation in watching poorly made movies, while the group who had no intervention had no positive comments and expressed anger and annoyance at being excluded. The quantitative data showed no significant statistical changes. This may be due to problems within the testing of SSEIT or that the qualitative data measured aspects of EI which are unrelated to trait EI. This case study point the way to a more targeted research with regard to using digital storytelling as a means to not only integrate technology into education but also to teach 21st century skills with a strong base in emotional intelligence. It is recommended that the TPCK model be enlarged to encompass collaborative problem solving, that consideration be given to the use of mixed methods research in education and that digital story telling is incorporated into teacher training.


Master of Commerce in Information Systems and Technology. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2012.