Digital storytelling is a process of crafting multimodal narratives using video editing software or Web 2.0-based applications. Adopting digital storytelling as a collaborative learning task in the language classroom provides learners with the opportunity to discuss language problems with their peers and co-construct knowledge of their target language. Despite the potential benefits of learner collaboration for language learning, very few studies have investigated how learners of Japanese collaboratively develop knowledge of Japanese in a collaborative digital storytelling project. To identify effective pedagogical strategies, this study drew on the construct of ‘collaborative dialogue’ and the notion of ‘private speech’ to analyze both the processes and the learning outcomes of learner collaboration and knowledge construction during a collaborative digital storytelling project. The findings showed that learners strategically used their first language, grammatical terminologies, and private speech in the process of collaborative knowledge construction during the project. However, they also revealed pedagogical constraints on implementing the project in mixed ability classrooms and a large retention gap in language knowledge. The findings suggest grouping learners into groups of similar proficiency levels so that they can work on learning language at that level.
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