The Beginning of Digital Storytelling

Digital storytelling is a form of storytelling that is still only in the beginning stages of its potential development and uses in education. Digital storytelling is not a new concept; however, as technology becomes even more widely accessible in our current world the growth of digital storytelling will continue to expand and evolve in all aspects of our lives. Between the three digital stories that we read this week, “The Seven Digital Deadly Sins’ is the story that I considered well put together. It was a great example of a form of digital storytelling that uses a combination of different media, including stories, videos, and interactive data. The use of media was well balanced along with consistent throughout the entire story. It was not only an avenue to inform the audience, but the interactive piece was also a way for the storyteller to collect data. This is something that I did not realize or pick up on until my classmate, Kat, pointed it out in our read-and-chat by commenting, “a thought occurred to me as I answered the polls… What a great way to do research! Someone must be working on a project!’ Data collection is only one of the possibilities of how digital storytelling can be used educationally and in my classroom. The students in my Psychology class have a specific project that they complete at the end of the school year. They decide the topic, design the focus of the project, collect data, and form a presentation. Creating a digital story like “The Seven Digital Deadly Sins’ could potentially be the end result of the project because it semi creates a data collecting presentation.

As I started the process of creating my own digital story, I easily saw how it could be applicable in my own classroom. Students overwhelming tell me that they use Snapchat over other forms of communication. It makes me think that they are contributing to a modern-day form of digital storytelling. They are not simply just writing about what they are doing, they are verbally telling their friends or viewers about their day. If you combined all of them for one day into a single video it would be a digital story of their day. In Robin’s definition of digital storytelling he states, “as is the case with traditional storytelling, digital stories revolve around a chosen theme and often contain a particular viewpoint. The stories are typically just a few minutes long and have a variety of uses, including the telling of personal tales, the recounting of historical events, or as a means to inform or instruct on a particular topic’ which I would argue is what social media platforms that allow for digital storytelling also revolve around. Teenagers are either sharing a personal tale, recounting historical events (relatable to their life so might not actually be history related) or a way to instruct or inform! It is how people stay relevant in today’s society.  I think students would be engaged with an assignment that required them to be digital storytellers because they are already used to the digital world of social media and recording oneself.

When I began to read Kat’s travel blog, I saw that she also found it to be relevant to high schoolers when she stated:

It occured to me earlier in the week, that high schoolers might really relate to storytelling as it pertains to mediums they use on a regular basis: Snapchat, Twitter, or Facebook.   I was thinking “tweet-sized’ instructions or stories would be an effective new way of interacting with my students.

I think educationally digital storytelling has the potential to engage students and allow for them to be creative as well as interact with the material in a median that is natural for them. I think this is true not only for High Schoolers. I was impressed at my son’s last parent-teacher conference that part of his blue whale report assignment he researched, wrote, revised, drew a picture and created a clip’s video to go along with it. With the use of clips an app that creates shorts films, it was easy for him to create a video with limited direction from his teacher. It shows culturally how digital storytelling not only will change education but also it will change how we tell stories in our society as well as dictate how stories will be left for the next generation. I have a timeline assignment that I have students complete every year for my U.S. History classes. A student of mine made an interactive WWII timeline that had important dates/events along with pictures and descriptions of the importance to WWII. He used an APP to create the timeline but still had to do the research for the project. It was incredible and without any direction or even knowing it he created a digital story of important events during WWII.

Bernard, R. R. (2011). The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling.

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National Film Board of Canada. (2016). The Seven Digital Deadly Sins.

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One Comment

  1. Kendell Newman

    I read this post as a response to the question: What can digital storytelling do in education? You hit a stride in focusing on this question toward the end of your first paragraph. Would you consider revising that paragraph to better introduce this focus?

    I love hearing about your son’s digital storytelling, and appreciate your reference to Kat’s ideas. What are YOUR ideas for YOUR classroom? How do you think about working with students on digital storytelling?

    We didn’t get to read this in class, but check out this Master’s thesis about “Digital Storytelling in Instagram and Snapchat Stories”:

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