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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Theresa Y. Austin

Second Advisor

Yuri Kumagai

Third Advisor

Yuki Yoshimura

Subject Categories

Education | Linguistics


This paper explores a digital storytelling project in world language education conducted as critical literacy (Janks, 1991; 2000). Digital storytelling here entails the analysis and production of short videos (called digital stories) that tell a storyteller's personally significant experience by digitally combining a voice-over, images, and music. In other words, this study theorizes digital storytelling in a world language as pedagogical opportunities to examine the effects of language in use and to transform their relations to language through the production of and reflection on "identity text" (Cummins et al., 2005). Two areas of guiding questions were: the design process and the range of identity options that the storytelling and its reflection makes possible. This study took a narrative case study of seven students who participated in a digital storytelling project in a low intermediate college Japanese course in the U.S. where the author was the instructor. The two primary data sources are the participants' digital stories and reflective narratives. Additional data sources include instructional materials and the participants' in-process drafts and reflective writings. Two methods of data analysis were used: inductive content analysis for the recurrent themes and discourse positioning analysis for the interactional achievements (Davies & Harré, 1990; Wortham, 2001). The analysis indicated the purpose-driven use of various resources in different stages of digital storytelling, such as different aspects of the sample stories that matched their personal investment in storytelling. Academic literacy in other languages, meta-linguistic awareness, and media awareness also affected their design processes. They reported the use of iconic and symbolic images with different intents and effects respectively. These multimodal resources afforded multi-sensory engagement. The analysis also indicated the participants' positionings of other characters to create identity positions for their old selves in the digital stories. The participants’ shifting relations to the digital storytelling project were observed in their interview tellings as a series of assigned tasks and an "owned" project revealing the sense of agency. However, participants had different range of positions, suggesting the need to further consider the multiple layers of discourses that participants engaged. This adds to our understanding of shifting identity affordances.