Thing 14 (Week 16) - Tell Me a Story


Why Tell Stories?

People like to hear stories. Information can be passed on from one generation to the next with the spoken word. Stories are the foundation of every culture. They define nations, tribes, communities, professions. They tell history, they convey wisdom and perspective. Stories allow us to have empathy, stories can help us care about something we might not otherwise care about.

by ShawnHoon

Now, take it to the next level. A digital story is a short (2-5 minute) movie which uses images, voice, and music to tell a story. There are a variety of [[23:thing12|media]] that can be used to create digital stories and a variety of reasons for creating them in the classroom.

The following excerpts are from
7 Things You Should Know About Digital Storytelling
by Educause.

What is it?
"Digital storytelling is the practice of combining narrative with digital content, including images, sound, and video, to create a short movie, typically with a strong emotional component. Sophisticated digital stories can be interactive movies that include highly produced audio and visual effects, but a set of slides with corresponding narration or music constitutes a basic digital story. Digital stories can be instructional, persuasive, historical, or reflective."

How does it work?
"Although groups of students can collaborate on digital stories, the form is well-suited to projects by individual users. Most digital storytelling programs promote the notion that users with little or no technical background should be able to create digital stories. Indeed a number of simple applications can get someone started making digital stories. Depending on the elements included in the digital story, a student might need a recording device and microphone, hardware and software to manipulate images and video, or tools to take pictures and video. Some digital storytelling applications are available free online."

Why is it significant?
"People tell stories to teach beliefs and values to others. The oral tradition of knowledge transfer and exchange has served as the basis for education since humans began teaching one another, and digital stories build on the model by incorporating rich, dynamic media . . . Students creating digital stories develop proficiency with multimedia applications, but the deeper impact comes from their thinking critically about effective combinations among audio and visual elements . . . In doing so, students develop a discerning eye for online resources, increasing their technology and media literacy."

Where is it going?
"Digital storytelling is fundamentally the application of technology to the age-old experience of sharing personal narratives. What's new is the growing availability of sophisticated tools, as well as a maturing infrastructure to disseminate such content."

For the full article, please see 7 Things_Digtial Storytelling.pdf

Discovering Digital Stories by by Daryll Bellingham (2:38):

Resources for Digital Storytelling:

Educational benefits / classroom applications:


Discovery Exercise

Although "digital stories" are often thought of as short movies or slide presentations, there are many other ways to tell a story digitally. Check out these awesome digital stories!

Myths and Legends
  • "Storytellers get ten pages to share their stories and may select among a library of characters (some animated), sound effects, backgrounds, and objects, or they may upload their own images. They may scale, rotate, and move objects in front of or behind others. They may narrate by recording audio. They may add text bubbles and comic bursts. Students will enjoy the impressive sound and image galleries. The site also offers a library of supporting content and teacher resources." (Valenza)

Video in the Classroom
  • "Video in the Classroom" was founded in 2003 by Mathew Needleman to focus on video production in the elementary grades and beyond. The site provides examples that represent student engagement and student achievement. The site is based on the premise that Digital Storytelling promotes Higher level thinking and Media literacy. By creating media, students understand exactly what goes into constructing media messages by constructing them themselves.

Our Story
  • "OurStory is here to help you build and enrich your relationships and connections by guiding you (and others in your circle) to recall, write about, and illustrate life’s most important memories. In one easy-to-use, organized place, and in a rich environment that celebrates all of the stories – big and small – with the words, photos and voices that help tell about your journey, at the same time honoring your choices regarding privacy. OurStory delivers—finally—a way to hold on to life’s incredible moments, and to keep them in a place where others can share in your journey." (About)

If you are interested, explore more.


After viewing various digital storytelling sites and playing around a bit, write about it in your blog. In your post, please also share initial ideas you have for digital storytelling use in classroom, professional or personal learning.
Some prompts to help you...
  • How have you used digital storytelling in your classroom? (perhaps using resources or having students create them)
  • How would you like to use digital storytelling in your classroom?
  • What are your thoughts about the potential power of digital storytelling?
  • What are the obstacles to incorporating digital storytelling in the classroom, and how can they be overcome?

Please be sure to LINK to every digital story you mention in your post, and include "Thing 14" in the title of your post.


Your final product for Roycemore Learning 2.0...

...tell YOUR digital story! Your Life-Long Learning journey through this course. You may use the digital storytelling software or freeware of your choice. Your finished product must be embedded in your practice wiki page by June 12, 2010. If there are storage issues with your wiki page, you may upload your story to another site, just be sure to link it to your wiki or blog to allow others to view.

Minimum Requirements:
  • Your Voice
  • Photos (uploaded or from the web using creative commons)
  • Music
  • At least 2 minutes in length

Stretch Task

Want to go above and beyond? Try your hand at serious video work?
Check out the Atomic Learning tutorials on Digital Storytelling-
(see Beth for a username or password if you are interested).

Man on the Street: What is Digital Storytelling? by digitalinsighttv(1:40)