New Ways We Share the Narratives of Our Lives

“The most important thing any teacher has to learn can be expressed in seven words: Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.” – John Holt

All around the world, millions share the narratives of their lives through text, status updates on Facebook, tweets, images, and short videos. We share bite-sized chunks of our life stories in 140 characters, six second-videos, or memed images with a few words. That is why I created the 15 second video trailer above. This is the maximum time allowed to create Instagram videos. If you want to create a Vine video, you only get six seconds. Summarizing a story into bite-sized chunks takes skill. Bite-size language doesn’t equate to low literacy or learning.

The way we learn, share, and communicate has been impacted by mobile devices. Many of us are unaware of the way millions of our students are learning outside of school. In some stories, the images (emojis or stickers) become the letters and words of a different visual language developed through mobile technology. According to David Crystal, students are writing more with technology than we could have ever written in the past. They are blogging, microblogging, and texting constantly. They are also reading daily and responding to their peers’ written narratives by likes, comments, or reblogs. They will take what someone else created and build upon it, adding their own personal touch and humor.


Crystal, D. (2008, November). The joy of txt. Spotlight, 16-21. From:


Travel around the web and observe the way people communicate and learn in different social networks like Vine, Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter. What trends do you notice?

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Shelly Terrell is an education consultant, technology trainer, and author. Read more at

Shelly Terrell is an education consultant, technology trainer, and author. Read more at