Digital Stories with Children: Examining Digital Storytelling as a Pedagogical Process in ECEC


  • Olli Merjovaara University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Tuula Nousiainen University of Jyväskylä, Finland; Finnish Institute for Educational Research, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Leena Turja University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Susanna Isotalo University of Jyväskylä, Finland


digital storytelling, 21st century skills, early childhood education and care, children’s participation


Modern digital technologies have become common in educational settings of all levels. This has made the use of digital storytelling (DST) more applicable in early childhood education and care (ECEC). This paper examines the implementation of DST, aiming to answer the following questions: 1) How to support children’s active participation throughout the DST process in ECEC, and 2) how do 21st century skills manifest in the DST process? The study was conducted between 2017 and 2018, when two cycles of DST projects were implemented in four Finnish ECEC centres as part of a European project. The data consist of interviews with educators (N=15) and children (N=51), as well as documentation of the DST activities (project sheets, N=37, and yearly summary documents, N=18) produced by the educators. The data were analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Firstly, our results highlight aspects that are important for supporting children’s active participation in DST, divided into the following categories: premises on starting DST with children, interpersonal processes during DST activity, affordances of digital tools and the meaning of DST activity and products. Secondly, we present how the 21st century skills such as digital skills, collaboration and problem-solving manifested in the DST process.