In Finland, the rights of the child are considered important in all areas of society. The vision of the national children ’s strategy published this year is that the impact of activities on children is carefully assessed. Another vision in the strategy is that decision-making concerning children is based on high-quality information and proper consideration. Unfortunately, today too little information is produced by children and young people themselves. The Youth Act of 2017 and Act on Early Childhood Education and Care of 2018, for example, aim to increase dialogue between young people and authorities.
Digital storytelling is a method, which makes it possible to gather the experiences of children and young people throughout the country in support of policy and decision-making so that regional differences could be identified through stories.
Picture 1. Children know how to use a computer and programs. Picture: Liisa Törn.
Children’s participation in making a digital story
Digital storytelling process consists of preparation, creating a script, collecting material and transferring it to a digital form if needed. After that the final product is edited and presented to the audience. When a child takes responsibility for group and project work, he/she develops his or her own and the group’s skills as a participating citizen. And when a digital story is distributed outside the borders of a residential area or even a country, children’s worldview widens and thus increases the child’s cultural awareness, which contributes to developing the child’s active citizenship skills.
Getting children involved in planning a digital story process increases both the participation possibilities and the motivation of children, and seeing the outcome of digital stories can be very good for the little creators’ self-esteem. Digital storytelling process helps children learn that – instead of only being passive users of media – they can be active in making and influencing content. This feeling of participation possibilities can be applied to other aspects of children’s daily life as well, increasing the wellbeing of children.
Participation is action that takes place in interaction and requires reciprocity. In participation, it is important to be able to choose the option you like by taking part in decision-making. Being heard and able to influence in this way is an important part of participation. It is important for the child to be able to realize his or her own creativity in a way that is unique to him or her, and the child is included in the community as an active and competent actor. The child’s motivation to participate increases when the child feels that participation produces results.
The adult supports the child’s participation by enabling the child’s participation in the action process, such as ideation stage, planning, implementation, decision-making and evaluation. The adult is involved in the process and is a platform for reflection for the child. It is important that the adult has confidence in the child’s abilities and can encourage and support the child. Adults are especially needed that all children can have their voices heard and thus only the loudest ones do not define the implementation and content of the story. Participation evokes feelings of togetherness, acceptance, joy and pride.
Digital storytelling has the same benefits of enhancing children’s literacy and communication skills as traditional storytelling, but it also adds to children’s abilities to use, interpret and understand media. More importantly, with digital storytelling children can take active role and use their own competences, creativity and playfulness in sharing their own stories. Digital storytelling can be a great way to enhance children’s rights to express their opinions and be heard concerning the things that matter to them.
Picture 2. Digital storytelling allows children to bring out their own experiences and views. Picture: iStock Photo.
Iisalmi anniversary event
Ihanien Ipanoiden Iisalmi 130v collects stories about a child’s life 130 years ago until today. The event is aimed at children and families, and encourages intergenerational cooperation and community. As a result, about 2-5 -minute digital presentations will be completed for the City of Iisalmi, which will be available for everyone to see. More information: Iisalmen kaupunki: Ihanien Ipanoiden Iisalmi 130v
Blog writers: Tiina Lappalainen, Minna Miettinen and Liisa Törn, Welfare and Health Coordinator- students from Savonia UAS.
Merjovaara, Olli; Nousiainen, Tuula; Turja, Leena; Isotalo, Susanna 2020. Digital Stories with Children: Examining Digital Storytelling as a Pedagogical Process in ECEC.
Sosiaali- ja terveysministeriö 2021. Kansallinen lapsistrategia.