A theoretical journey from social constructivism to digital storytelling

Lizzie Abderrahim, Mar Gutiérrez-Colón Plana


Using the concept of a journey through time, this article examines the theoretical foundation underpinning the use of digital storytelling as a pedagogical tool in the language classroom. It describes the arguments developed by Dewey, Piaget and Vygotsky, which form the basis of social constructivist theory and the work of Kolb from which experiential learning theory was developed. It goes on to describe how these theories are reflected in pedagogical approaches to language learning, from Asher’s total physical response approach, to Blaine Ray’s TPR storytelling and finally to the development of digital storytelling by Lambert and Atchley. Along this journey, the reader is able to pause and consider progressive theories of education and to take account of cognitive development and sociocultural theory. The significance of experience in the learning process and the value of a physical response becomes evident and the benefits of  telling stories, whether these are told in the traditional way or through the use of digital technology is apparent.


digital storytelling; social constructivism; experiential learning theory; total physical response; TPR storytelling

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