15 Stories as a context

Using stories as context is a way to connect theory and practice. Stories, as well as movies, interactive videos or digital photography can be used in teaching and learning. Stories as a context may be created by the teacher for introduction to the topic, teaching, summarising of essential things. Stories may also be created by pupils implementing the topic /task given by the teacher.

A story, movie, interactive video or series of photos can be applied in a lesson as a way to

  • take students on a virtual tour or virtual adventure
    • STEAM problem using Comic Life. Comic Life is perfect for engaging reluctant readers and teaching visual literacy, perfect for integrating STEAM and Common Core Standards into your lessons. Easy to learn and fun to use, Comic Life is a great tool for any student.
    • Museum slideshow. Explore UNESCO World Heritage,
    • Virtual Museum
  • demonstrate a process (i.e., making a model of bridge) or cycle (i.e., life cycle of a tree).
  • make a comparison such as right/wrong or correct/incorrect.
  • show how items can be organized or categorized.
  • introduce a new topic or to stimulate thinking.
  • visualize concepts, laws or labelling parts.

In pre-primary and primary education we often find a concrete reason for STEAM in picture books. For example, many picture books present problems that can stimulate children to research and design. One such example is the stories of the Gruffalo (Donaldson & Schaffler, 2004), where a little mouse is scaring the big dangerous Gruffalo by creating a big shadow of itself. Many fairy tales also contain starting points for STEAM. For example, rescuing Rapunzel from the high tower or building sturdy houses for the three little pigs. Furthermore, television programs can also form meaningful contexts, such as the stories of “Neighbour & Neighbour” (Marek Beneš, 2019) in which two neighbours try to solve all kinds of problems again and again, but this never goes quite well…

Interactive video

Interactive video is a new form of media used to engage students and reach pedagogical goals. The educational interactive video is a fast-changing field. In recent years, there has been a sharp increase of research in employing interactive video for learning. More researchers study both the functional and cognitive interactivity affordances of educational interactive video and try to identify the learning effectiveness of the various supported interactions.

An interactive video gives the pupils the ability to interact with the video content itself through a variety of tools. Users can click, drag, scroll, hover, gesture and complete other digital actions to interact with the video’s content.

There are several different functionalities teachers can build into an interactive video. The most commonly used options include:

  • Hotspots: clickable areas within a video; these buttons can take a viewer to a separate web page or reveal content directly within the video, like merchandise pricing.
  • 360 views: the ability for a user to drag the screen within a video frame to see in all directions.
  • Branches: different paths a user can take to control and customise the content they see.
  • Data inputs: form fields through which a user can enter information like their name, age, etc.
  • Quizzes: combining buttons and branching to deliver an assessment and reveal a personalised result at the end of the video.

These tools create a more fun and engaging experience for the pupils. Teachers can exploit interactive video to address the following learning goals:

  • Active studying of the video content. Note taking, highlight-ing or creating per-sonal summarized video improves focus and active learning since students have to listen/watch carefully and decide what to include in their notes, they have to emphasize and organize information better. The related actions produce a condensed record for later study and review.
  • Draw attention to critical information. Information processing can be facilitated through signaling. Signaling can help to emphasize particular aspects of content (and therefore reduce split-attention effect) but also to underline the correlations between concepts. Highlighting and hotspots draw the attention to specific visual aspects of the video. Thus they support mental selection and organization during observation.
  • Information recall. Information recall is mainly achieved through embedded questions and the various means of replaying the video, from the table of contents to looping (replaying the video). For example, pre adjunct questions help in attention stimulation, while post-adjunct questions promote information recall.
  • Reflection. Reflection is one of the critical stages of learning. Through reflection prompts within a video (e.g., the video pauses in the context of a problematic situation and urges the students to reflect about strategies they have used in the past) students inspect the video contents critically. Shared users’ annotations and traces also trigger students to discuss, reflect and draw conclusions about their strategies.
  • Knowledge construction. Interactive video may include hyperlinks and choices that function as knowledge construction tools and help learners own the learning process and think more productively. Hyperlinks and branching allow a specific topic to be explored in multiple ways using different concepts or themes while facilitating cognitive flexibility on knowledge construction. Non-automatic summarization also may offer a constructive learning experience.
  • Cognitive conflict. Cognitive conflict occurs when a student’s mental balance is disturbed by experiences that do not match with their current understanding . This conflict can lead to conceptual change over topics students have misunderstandings. Cognitive conflict can be applied through embedded questions into the video that will help students expose their misconceptions, realize their inaccuracy and their inability to predict what will happen next. Video has the advantage of improving the plausibility of the presented proofs.
  • Collaborative learning. Although collaborative learning is the less recognizable feature of an interactive video, it is one of the most powerful. Shared annotations or notes, commenting connected with specific time frames, summative user traces and ratings can all activate the collective intelligence of the viewers of the same video. Users’ actions and comments are situation-driven and their exchange can support learners’ understanding and critical thinking.

By using stories, as well as movies, interactive video or digital photography, film & animation  pupils develop skills competencies in:

  • Storytelling, visual communication
  • Cognition, emotional, ethic and aesthetic aspects
  • Observation and sensory aspects
  • Concentration
  • Problem-solving and innovative aspects.
  • Creative problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Critical thinking
  • Emotional intelligence

Stories created by the teacher engage pupils and motivate their learning.

When pupils create stories, they are involved in active learning, demonstration of their knowledge and understanding. Pupils create scenes to express their feelings and experiences. By using storytelling methods, technologies and creative writing they express complex ideas in the form of objects. After they have created their very own story, they face interesting and fun challenges and delve into deep STEAM questions in their adventures.

Recommended tools and learning environment

PlayPosit (https://www.playposit.com/) is a free online learning environment to create and share interactive video lessons with groups of students. PlayPosit is designed to be used in flipped, and blended environments.

Adways (http://www.adways.com/) interactive video technology provides users with a significant number of possibilities for interactive video design. The instructor can show additional information inside or outside the video and give the ability to students to alter the storytelling of a video depending on their choices and actions.

EdPuzzle (https://edpuzzle.com/) provides a simple video editing tool set that may transform a video into an interactive lesson that is personal, engaging and effective. ED puzzle provides three main interactive elements: a crop tool, addition of voiceo-ver/audio notes and embedded questions with feedback.

Adventr (http://www.adventr.tv/) helps users design interactive videos and also provides actionable analytics. Adventr is a simple platform where content makers drag and drop their clips into templates. The platform enables designers to create specific paths of videos based on users’ responses.

Wirewax (https://www.wirewax.com/) is widely used in education, in marketing, and in entertainment. The platform provides a variety of interactive elements such as automated hotspots (e.g., automatically detects people, objects, and products). Hotspots also can follow the motion of the object tracked as it moves in the scene. Wirewax supports branching, chaptering, 360º Interactive video and slider/multi-video playback.

RaptMedia (http://www.raptmedia.com/) is an interactive video application that combines a path-editor and an interactive video composer. Creators can build person-alized view paths and also add clickable hotspots on each separate video.

H5P (https://h5p.org/) is an HTML5-based open source interactive video platform that allows users to create video experiences with multiple response questions, fill in the blank ques-tions, interactive summaries, single choice question sets, sim-ple overlays with text and images, tables, labels, and links.

HapYaks (https://corp.hapyak.com) works with any digital video and offers a template library that lets instructors to in-stantly add or modify overlays, chapters, links, branching, embedded questions and a lot more.

LearnWorlds (https://www.learnworlds.com/)  is an online course platform that allows instructors to design courses that may include questionnaires, tests, e-books, and interactive videos. LearnWorlds interactive videos enable creators to add several types of annotations (hotspots, augmented elements, text phrases, titles, etc.) clickable or not, add overlays as reflection activities or add questions with feedback. Learn-Worlds offers a rich library of pre-designed interaction templates.

TedEd (https://ed.ted.com/). A primary focus of TED-Ed is to provide high-quality lessons taught by exceptional educators. TED-Ed is TED’s youth and education initiative. TED-Ed’s mission is to spark and celebrate the ideas of teachers and students around the world. Everything TedEd do supports learning — from producing a growing library of original animated videos, to providing an international platform for teachers to create their own interactive lessons, to helping curious students around the globe bring TED to their schools and gain presentation literacy skills, to celebrating innovative leadership within TED-Ed’s global network of over 650,000 teachers. TED-Ed has grown from an idea worth spreading into an award-winning education platform that serves millions of teachers and students around the world every week.

The commercial interactive platforms do have a lot of educational potential to unlock.

Basic manual skills, Online Games, Guided Lessons, Lesson Plans and more teachers might be found on the Education website: https://www.education.com


Beneš, L., & Jiranek, V. (2019). Neighbour and neighbour. Ateliery Bonton Zlín.

Donaldson, J., & Scheffler, A. (2004). The Gruffalo’s child. Pan Macmillan.