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Digital Storytelling Program


The Digital Storytelling Program was a program for English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EALD) students which used fine art and digital art making to bring the student’s personal stories to life at Brisbane State High School.

Supported through investment from the Artist in Residence program, the Digital Storytelling Program aimed to strengthen student’s English language skills, as well as develop their confidence and sense of belonging within the school community.

Through a series of workshops during the school year, students worked with artists including film makers, animators, a writer and visual artist and teachers from the Arts, Humanities and English departments to develop both the concept and the multi-media format for the story.

Artists included past EALD students from BSHS who were able to draw on their own experiences to help current students to tell their story.

The digital stories created by the EALD students are available on the school's intranet or through ibook publication.





January 2014 to January 2015


Brisbane, Queensland

Key stats

  • 120 students
  • 10 educators
  • 5 artists

Arts Queensland contribution

$20,000 – Artist in Residence program


  • Ninety per cent of students surveyed agreed the feedback received had helped to develop their skills in writing. All of the students involved in the program received C or above in English for semester one of 2015.
  • Following the program, students felt their culture was a valued part of the school with 90 percent of students strongly indicating that the program had showed them their culture was a valued part of the school.
  • The program has allowed for parents of EALD students to be more involved and connected with what the students are doing at school.
  • The project’s design and objectives will be implemented in future 'Language for Success' classes. These classes are designed to address specific language learning and it is planned to incorporate this project in the junior secondary phase of learning.
  • Students presented their digital story at the Brisbane Writers’ Festival as part of the transmedia presentation and workshop.

Learnings and reflections

Educators commented the program had been a wonderful experience for students and staff.

While it was initially planned to target a larger group of students, the educators felt that the program strongly impacted on the students who were engaged and that small intensive group work were more successful than one-off lessons for groups. The second round of workshops were redeveloped to be small group intensive workshops and students were targeted based on school and NAPLAN data.  

In future, the educators indicated they will consider tutoring sessions between artists and students and how to better involve the parents of EALD students.

The intensive programs worked better than the one-off lessons for groups. It was easy to see the impact of the feedback on learning over time. I would organise some tutoring sessions for the visual artists on how to problem solve with individual students. I would also try to timetable the program in such a way as to possibly bring the parents along to the workshops. Possibly even running a program to help the parents with their English also

Brisbane State High had the following tip for others undertaking similar projects: 

Be sure that your goals are clear for the students and the staff. Set up a system for communication between all staff to keep abreast of program developments

Contact for further information

Grainne Hamer, Brisbane State High School


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