Letter from UCI

Mark Warschauer, Professor of Education

February 26, 2018

Board of Education

Palm Springs Unified School District

980 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way Palm Springs, CA 92262

Dear President Williamson and Members of the Board:

I understand that the Board of Education will be discussing the district’s Digital Storytelling initiative at its February 27 meeting. I submit the following brief comments for your consideration.

For the last two years, a team of researchers in the UC Irvine School of Education has been carrying out an evaluation study of the DIGICOM Learning-Palm Springs Unified Digital Story program. We have found the program to be one of the largest, best organized, and most impactful programs implementing digital storytelling in K-12 instruction in the nation.

Some of the benefits that we have noted include increased student mastery of technology; development of media arts skills that are of value for life and career success; promotion of positive connections to students’ families and community; scaffolding of students’ engagement, analysis, persistence, and retention of subject matter content; and support for student language and literacy development.

We note that digital storytelling is thus far introduced in the district in an uneven manner, varying by the initiative and interest of individual teachers. We believe that it would be beneficial to the district to assess how digital storytelling fits in with overall district objectives and then plan a district-wide implementation to best achieve these ends, including a scope and sequence across grades and subjects, with curriculum development and professional development tailored to this plan.

Thank you for the opportunity to observe this outstanding program. We have submitted a report to the district on our first-year evaluation and will submit a final report after the end of the second year. In the meantime, if you have any questions you are welcome to contact us.

Mark Warschauer
Professor of Education