Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education

First Supervisor

Professor Caroline Barratt-Pugh

Second Supervisor

Professor Lim Cher Ping

Third Supervisor

Dr Jenny Lane


Digital literacy learning has become a requirement created by the wide development and application of new technologies for communication and representation. In the context of this study, ‘digital literacy’ is defined as a set of skills that enable an individual to use technologies to work with information. It builds on the traditional literacies of reading, writing, listening and speaking and includes elements of information literacy, media literacy and technology skills.

The purpose of this study was to investigate digital literacy learning in terms of the set of competencies - aspects of digital literacy - that a student in an upper-primary school English-language classroom in an international school in Hong Kong needs to possess to participate meaningfully and actively in representing through digital multimodal texts such as digital stories. In this study, digital storytelling is defined as a contemporary strategy for the creation of digital multimedia content for expressing ideas, representing knowledge and otherwise communicating information through digital artefacts.

This study adopted a case study approach, mapping the development of digital literacy skills in three students. Data collection included, a whole class student questionnaire, interviews with the three case study students, participant observations, class discussions, students’ written reflections, peer evaluation, discussion of planning documents and digital artefacts by the researcher and three students as well as analysis of the digital artefacts by the researcher. In the course of the study, the three participants engaged in the planning and creation of three digital stories based on different genres: pourquoi story (narration), story review (response) and show & tell (personal story with a predefined genre). Analysis of the collected data provided insights into how digital storytelling supports digital literacy learning in an upper-primary-school English language classroom, what aspects of digital literacy develop through digital storytelling and what are the factors that inhibit the effective implementation of digital storytelling.

The key findings of the study suggest that digital storytelling is an effective strategy for digital literacy learning in a Primary 6 English-language classroom. Digital storytelling has supported the digital literacy learning of the three participating students and provided a context for the development of digital literacy. In addition, it has enhanced other aspects of teaching and learning that contribute to digital literacy development. To identify and analyse the aspects of digital literacy that the three students developed, an assessment rubric was constructed by the researcher. The application of this rubric produced evidence that suggested that all aspects of digital literacy were developed through the three digital storytelling projects.

Each of the three projects completed by the students enabled them to build on their skills while learning new digital literacy skills. The study also found that the implementation of digital storytelling in the classroom was mediated by a range of issues that were affected by both curricular and extracurricular constraints. The study produced a number of recommendations for teachers and curriculum designers in relation to integrating digital storytelling into the school curriculum.

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