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Digital Storytelling with Students in Potsdam and in Tel Aviv

Feld, grünes Haus
Photo: Joanna Thompson, edit: Zessko

The 2022/2023 Winter Semester at Zessko saw a pilot digital storytelling project with the Tel Aviv University take place. The project, Digital Literacy, Digital Citizenry in Academic Writing (dig.lit.cit), emerged from a 2022 joint project call of the Tel Aviv University and University of Potsdam and was funded by the funding line “Innovative Digital Teaching.” Joanna Thompson (U Potsdam / Zessko) and Dr. Elena Mizrahi (TAU) brought their two English courses together to explore the opportunities presented by digital storytelling as a means to bridge cultures, enhance intercultural competence and communicative skills in English, as well as to engage with filmmaking software.  Milena Heyelmann (student assistant, U Potsdam) provided valuable assistance in preparation for and during the shared sessions. Emma Burchardt (student, U Potsdam) also helping in two of the live sessions.

Forty students met for four sessions via Zoom and the Open.UP platform. In the first meeting, the Potsdam and Tel Aviv students shared something of their respective backgrounds and identities in order to get to know each other before beginning to draft a script and assemble visual images for their digital films. The students then met in a second session to edit and workshop their scripts. They then came together again to participate in a story exchange. This took the form of students retelling each other’s scripts in small groups and offering advice and support to each other on the writing and filmmaking process.

The feedback from students on the story exchange session was very positive: “I think it's a lovely idea…hearing from students abroad sharpens the fact that we all have many of the same feelings,” said a student from TAU. This sentiment was echoed by a Potsdam student: “Retelling another's story is deeply personal and lets you connect with them on a different level…. It lets you walk a mile in their shoes.”

In the final session, students from both universities screened their digital films in breakout rooms. A TAU student summed up her experience of this: “The videos shared with me in the group were excellent.  Every single video was special and creative, so it was very nice to see them.”


Contact: Joanna Thompson

Published on January 11, 2023