The power of storytelling
Throughout human history, storytelling has been used as a powerful tool for teaching and learning. Storytelling in the 21st century can be made richer and more effective through the use of digital media such as images, videos, audio and interactive content. Technology can make authentic human stories accessible and bring them to life in a way that immerses students in entirely different places, cultures and lived experiences. Digital storytelling can also be an engaging way to nurture positive values, spark discussion around challenging themes and encourage in-depth learning. Research shows that real human stories that are multi-sensory, emotionally strong and based on real-life situations are understood to be remembered for longer and in more detail. This research is the foundation for Lyfta, an immersive platform that aims to nurture global citizenship, resilience and empathy in students using real human stories.
 Ginnis, P. (2007) The Teacher’s Toolkit: Raise Classroom Achievement with Strategies for Every Learner, Carmarthen: Crown House Publishing
What is Lyfta?
Lyfta is an award-winning global learning platform where teachers can easily build powerful, interactive and curriculum-aligned lessons that bring learning to life. It offers a growing series of immersive learning environments (storyworlds) where students can explore real life human stories from around the world through stunning 360° environments, high quality films and digital content. The platform also hosts over 150 ready-made lesson and assembly plans, designed to broaden horizons, encourage global citizenship and foster the critical skills and values students will need in our ever changing world. They are ideal for teaching across a range of curriculum subjects including literacy, PSHE, RSE, geography, citizenship, PE, science and RE.
I have been blown away by what Lyfta has put together. This is a fantastic platform that can be used across all subject areas. The significant impact on student personal development is huge, as is being able to show our students what diversity truly looks like. The stories are wonderful and emotive, giving students the opportunity to be part of the lives of strangers they will meet around the globe.
– Zena, Dixons McMillan Academy
Case study: Broadening horizons across the LEO academy trust using Lyfta
LEO Academy Trust is formed of seven primary schools in South London, serving over 3500 pupils. Staff from across the Trust attended Lyfta’s global learning webinars to learn how to use the platform and weave the resources into lessons and assemblies. The Trust has been using Lyfta to support the LEO pupil outcomes, which include active citizenship, collaboration and leadership, as well as to help with ambitions to weave global citizenship and t he UN’s Sustainable Development Goals into the curriculum. Graham Macaulay, Director of Technology at the Trust commented that Lyfta had helped teachers tackle trickier topics, such as inequality and challenging stereotypes, in a deeper and more immersive way than would have been possible without the platform. LEO Academy Trust CEO, Phillip Hedger also commented that the Trust is now mapping Lyfta content to the wider curriculum, integrating the platform into topic themes and subjects including PSHE. Below we take an in-depth look at what Lyfta learning has looked like in classrooms across Leo AcademyTrust.
Lyfta helps our children be more involved in the wider curriculum, develop thinking skills, and have the opportunity to explore places around the world. It also encourages them to talk about their own experiences. The teaching resources link well with PSHE and topic lessons.
– Leanne Milligan, Teacher, Manor Park Primary Academy (a LEO Academy Trust School)
Nurturing perseverance: A Year 5 assembly on perseverance at Brookfield Academy
Vice-Principal Rachel Mander used the Lyfta platform to nurture perseverance in Year 5 using the Lyfta storyworld ‘Anni’s Home’ which features Finnish teenager and sports enthusiast Anni as she eats with her family and discusses her love of weightlifting. Rachel started by introducing the word ‘perseverance’ and asked the pupils what they thought it might mean. They gave varied answers, and then Rachel launched the ready-made Lyfta assembly plan on perseverance. She modelled how to access the 360° space and watch the film from the front of the class before allowing children to explore in pairs on their own devices.
“This meant the assembly kept pace and the discussion was really profound. The children loved then being able to go back and watch the video and spin 360° around the kitchen where Anni and her family were eating. The video was great – as the children were able to put their headphones on and watch it at their own pace. I was able to help read subtitles for children that struggled with reading.”
At the end of the lesson the children shared instances where they had shown perseverance during their own lives. Rachel said:“The assembly really helped the children to relate to Anni and see the benefit of not giving up and trying your best. They also learned that practise is essential.”
She also described the longer term impact of the assembly on her pupils:
“My children are really encouraging towards each other and enforce the message of keeping going, not giving up and that it is good to try new things…In a Maths lesson, one child was becoming really stressed by a task, they began to get overwhelmed and before I went over, a child on their table reassured them and said that it was ok to make mistakes and to not understand it yet – they talked about having a growth mindset and persevering.”
Challenging stereotypes: a Year 6 lesson at Cheam Park Farm Academy
Year 6 teacher, Emma Potter used an immersive Lyfta storyworld featuring a male ballet dancer to look at stereotyping with her pupils:
“We were looking at stereotypes and used the ballet dancer scene to support this. We spoke to the children about their aspirations and gave them a chance to talk about what they wanted to be when they grew up. We then explored the storyworld, watched the film and discussed whether anyone can do anything they want or if they have to do certain jobs if they were a boy or a girl.”
Emma shared how the immersive resources had facilitated a rich discussion about challenging stereotypes amongst her pupils, and gave her the opportunity to build a meaningful conversation around a topic that was difficult to introduce in a classroom setting. Of the impact, she said:
“I think it has made them more outward thinking….I think they have been more thoughtful about themselves and encouraging each other.”
Introducing sustainability: Using Lyfta in Key Stage One
Paula, a Year 1 teacher at Brookfield Primary, used Lyfta’s Beachcomber storyworld to explore the issue of plastic waste with her students. She showed her class the short films of Rob, an artist and activist, collecting plastic waste from a beach in Cornwall and using it to make art. She used this to inspire an activity where children reused plastic bottles to make musical instruments for the class music box.
She also used the rich media articles in the storyworld to share facts on plastic waste with the children, including the length of time it takes for plastic to decompose.
Petra, a HLTA supporting the lesson, commented that “the students were definitely more engaged, and eager to share ideas. The children loved the way it presented them with the issues, and ideas about how to be part of the solution.”
Would you like to access immersive, impactful and accessible teaching resources that will support global citizenship and nurture positive values in your students? Find out more about Lyfta training and free trial access at lyfta.com.
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