“Ever wondered what schizophrenia was?”: Students’ digital storytelling about mental disorders


digital storytelling
mental disorder
self expression
bilingual learners
middle school

How to Cite

Kim, D., & Jia, F. (2020). “Ever wondered what schizophrenia was?”: Students’ digital storytelling about mental disorders. Journal Of Curriculum Studies Research, 2(2), 144-169. https://doi.org/10.46303/jcsr.2020.14


Digital storytelling is a short form of multimedia production that can foster digital literacy and facilitate subject matter learning. This study describes how middle school students learned about mental health by composing digital stories, showing how this also influenced their attitudes toward mental health in their own lives. Using a qualitative multiple-case method, we explored three immigrant students’ digital storytelling in a psychology class. We use a visual grammar derived from systemic functional linguistics to analyze their digital stories, examining representational, relational, configurational, and social functions. Our analysis shows how students chose design elements to reflect their learning about and reactions to mental illness. We analyze how students projected relationships with the audience and how these projected relationships both reflected and influenced their learning and personal development. We conclude that digital storytelling can be an excellent pedagogical tool that allows students to engage both in subject matter learning and self-reflection.