Digital Storytelling for Developing Computer Skills in Rural Appalachia

Rebecca M. Jonas, Benjamin V. Hanrahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As we built and deployed a digital storytelling system to teach digital literacy skills to rural Appalachians, we discovered key opportunities and challenges to promoting digital literacy in this region. We identified that the importance of storytelling in Appalachian culture made digital storytelling an effective means of teaching these skills to residents. However, the poor technology infrastructure at our study site posed challenges to our participants' ability to use technology and learn new skills. We found that poor infrastructure reinforces low self-efficacy, discouraging participants from using technology. In environments where computers are often slow and unreliable, it is not possible to form realistic expectations of how a computer should act. Therefore, it becomes difficult for users to untangle if the issues they encounter are because of usage errors or the technology. These findings highlight how infrastructure and self-efficacy should be accounted for together when conducting rural HCI research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number508
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW2
StatePublished - Nov 11 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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