Digital storytelling

Digital storytelling refers to a short form of digital film-making that allows everyday people to share aspects of their life story.

"Digital storytelling" is a relatively new term which describes the new practice of ordinary people who use digital tools to tell their 'story'. Digital stories often present in compelling and emotionally engaging formats, they are usually less than 8 minutes long and can be interactive.

The term "digital storytelling" can also cover a range of digital narratives (web-based stories, interactive stories, hypertexts, and narrative computer games); It is sometimes used to refer to film-making in general, and as of late, it has been used to describe advertising and promotion efforts by commercial and non-profit enterprises.

One can define digital storytelling as the process by which diverse peoples share their life story and creative imaginings with others. This newer form of storytelling emerged with the advent of accessible media production techniques, hardware and software, including but not limited to digital cameras, digital voice recorders, iMovie, Movie Maker and Final Cut Express. These new technologies allow individuals to share their stories over the Internet on YouTube, Vimeo, compact discs, podcasts, and other electronic distribution systems.

One can think of digital storytelling as the modern extension of the ancient art of storytelling, now interwoven with digitized still and moving images and sound. Thanks to new media and digital technologies, individuals can approach storytelling from unique perspectives. Many people use elaborate non-traditional story forms, such as non-linear and interactive narratives.[1]

Simply put, digital stories are short 2 to 3 minute multimedia movies that combine photographs, video, animation, sound, music, text, and often a narrative voice. Digital stories may be used as an expressive medium within the classroom to integrate subject matter with extant knowledge and skills from across the curriculum. Students can work individually or collaboratively to produce their own digital stories. Once completed, these stories are easily be uploaded to the internet and can be made available to an international audience, depending on the topic and purpose of the project.[2]


Development and pioneers

The broad definition has been used by many artists and producers to link what they do with traditions of oral storytelling and often to distinguish their work from slick or commercial projects by focusing on authorship and humanistic or emotionally provocative content. Digital Storytelling has been used by Ken Burns, in the documentary The Civil War, cited as one of the first models of this genre.[3] In his documentary, Burns used first-person accounts that served to reveal the heart and emotions of this tragic event in American history, as well as narration, archival images, modern cinematography, and music (Sylvester & Greenidge, 2009). Some of the other artists who have described themselves as digital storytellers are the late Dana Atchley,[4] his collaborator Joe Lambert, Abbe Don, Brenda Laurel, and Pedro Meyer.

The "short narrated films" definition of digital storytelling comes from a production workshop by Dana Atchley at the American Film Institute in 1993 that was adapted and refined by Joe Lambert in the mid-1990s into a method of training promoted by the San Francisco Bay Area-based Center for Digital Storytelling.[5]

Typically, digital stories are produced in intensive workshops. The product is a short film that combines a narrated piece of personal writing, photographic and other still images, and a musical soundtrack. Technology enables those without a technical background to produce works that tell a story using "moving" images and sound. The lower processing and memory requirements for using stills as compared with video, and the ease with which the so-called "Ken Burns" pan effect can be produced with video editing software, have made it easy to create good-looking short films.

Digital storytelling was integrated into public broadcasting by the BBC's Capture Wales project. The following year a similar project was launched by the BBC in England titled Telling Lives. Sveriges Utbildningsradio created Rum för Berättande (Room for Storytelling).[6] Netherlands Educational TV Tealac-NOT created a program with young people in Amsterdam. KQED, Rocky Mountain PBS, WETA and other public television stations in the US have developed projects.Digital storytelling is evolving from the simple narrated video to forms that are interactive and look better. These include websites and online videos created to promote causes, entertain, educate, and inform audiences.


The most important characteristics of a digital story are that it no longer conforms to the traditional conventions of storytelling because it is capable of combining still imagery, moving imagery, sound, and text, as well as being nonlinear and contain interactive features. The expressive capabilities of technology offers a broad base from which to integrate. It enhances the experience for both the author and audience and allows for greater interactivity.

With the arrival of new media devices like computers, digital cameras, recorders, and software, individuals may share their digital stories via the Internet, on discs, podcasts, or other electronic media. Digital storytelling combines the art of storytelling with multimedia features such as photography, animation, text, audio, voiceover, hypertext and video. Digital tools and software make it easy and convenient to create a digital story. Common software includes iMovie and MovieMaker for user-friendly options. There are other online options and free applications as well.

Educators often identify the benefit of digital storytelling as the array of technical tools from which students may select for their creative expression. Learners set out to use these tools in new ways to make meaningful content. Students learn new software, choose images, edit video, make voiceover narration, add music, create title screens, and control flow and transitions. Additionally, there is opportunity to insert interactive features for “reader” participation. It is possible to click on imagery or text in order to choose what will happen next, cause an event to occur, or navigate to online content.

Additionally, distinctions may be drawn between Web 2.0 storytelling and that of digital storytelling. Web 2.0 storytelling is said to produce a network of connections via social networking, blogging, and YouTube that transcends beyond the traditional, singular flow of digital storytelling. It tends to “aggregate large amounts of microcontent and creatively select patterns out of an almost unfathomable volume of information,”[7] therefore the bounds of Web 2.0 storytelling are not necessarily clear.[8]

Another form of digital storytelling is the micromovie, which is “a very short exposition lasting from a few seconds to no more than 5 minutes in length. It allows the teller to combine personal writing, photographic images or video footage, narrative, sound effects, and music. Many people, regardless of skill level, are able to tell their stories through image and sound and share those stories with others.”[9]

Uses in education

The Center for Digital Storytelling model has also been adopted in education, especially in the US, sometimes as a method of building engagement and multimedia literacy. For example, the Bay Area Video Coalition[10] and Youthworx Media Melbourne[11] employ digital storytelling to engage and empower young people at risk.

Uses in primary and secondary education

"The idea of merging traditional storytelling with today's digital tools is spreading worldwide." Anybody today with a computer can create a digital story simply by answering such questions as "What do you think? What do you feel? What is important? How do we find meaning in our lives?"[12] Most digital stories focus on a specific topic and contain a particular point of view. "These topics can range from personal tales to the recounting of historical events, from exploring life in one's own community to the search for life in other corners of the universe and every story in between."[12]

For primary grades the focus is related to what is being taught, a story that will relate to the students. For primary grades the story is kept under five minutes to retain attention. Vibrant pictures, age-appropriate music and narration are needed. Narration accompanied by subtitles can also help build vocabulary. Content-related digital stories can help upper-elementary and middle-school students understand abstract or layered concepts. For example, in one 5th grade class a teacher used digital storytelling to depict the anatomy of the eye and describe its relationship to a camera. A fifth grader said, "This year I have learned that places are not just physical matter but emotional places in peoples' hearts. I-Movie has made all my thoughts and feelings come alive in an awesome movie."[13]

These aspects of digital storytelling, pictures, music, and narration reinforce ideas and appeal to different learning types. Teachers can use it to introduce projects, themes, or any content area, and can also let their students make their own digital stories and then share them.

Software such as iMovie, Photo Story 3 or Movie Maker do all that is required.

Faculty and graduate students at the University of Houston have created a website, The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling, which focuses on the use of digital storytelling by teachers and their students across multiple content areas and grade levels.[14]

The National Writing Project has a collaboration with the Pearson Foundation examining the literacy practices[vague] involved in their digital storytelling work with students.[15]

Use by teachers in curriculum

Teachers can incorporate digital storytelling into their instruction for several reasons. Two reasons include 1) to incorporate multimedia into their curriculum and 2) Teachers can also introduce storytelling in combination with social networking in order to increase global participation, collaboration, and communication skills. Moreover, digital storytelling is a way to incorporate and teach the twenty-first century student the twenty-first century technology skills such as information literacy, visual literacy, global awareness, communication and technology literacy.[12]

With an emphasis on collaborative learning and hands on teaching, this website offer an in depth look at how to integrate 21st Century Skills with the objectives of a rigorous academic program:

Uses in higher education

Digital storytelling spread in higher education in the late nineties with the Center for Digital Storytelling (CDS) collaborating with a number of Universities while based at UC Berkeley. CDS programs with the New Media Consortium led to links to many campuses where programs in digital storytelling have grown; these include University of Maryland Baltimore,[16] Cal State Monterey, Ohio State University, Williams College, MIT, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.[citation needed] The University of Colorado, Denver,[17] Kean University, Virginia Tech, Simmons College, Swarthmore College, the University of Calgary, University of Massachusetts (Amherst), the Maricopa County Community Colleges (AZ)[18], and others have developed programs.[citation needed]

The distribution of digital storytelling among humanities faculty connected with the American Studies Crossroads Project was a further evolution through a combination of both personal and academic storytelling. Starting in 2001, Rina Benmayor[19] (from California State University-Monterey Bay) hosted a Center for Digital Storytelling seminar and began using digital storytelling in her Latino/a life stories classes. Benmayor began sharing that work with faculty across the country involved in the Visible Knowledge Project[20] including Georgetown University; LaGuardia Community College, CUNY; Millersville University; Vanderbilt University, and University of Wisconsin–Stout.[citation needed] Out of this work emerged publications in several key academic journals[vague] as well as the Digital Storytelling Multimedia Archive.[21]

Ball State University has a masters program in digital storytelling based in the Telecommunications Department,[citation needed] as does the University of Oslo.[22]

Digital storytelling is also used as an instructional strategy[23] to not only build relationships and establish people's social presence online but also as an alternative format to present content.[vague][24]

Uses in public health, social services, and international development

The development of the Silence Speaks project[25] in 1999 under the direction of Amy Hill (who joined the Center for Digital Storytelling in 2005) led to the expansion of digital storytelling in public health. Projects developed with the Center for Disease Control, the Open Society Foundation, work in gender-based violence prevention with groups in California, Texas, New York, Minnesota, and with the organization Sonke Gender Justice in South Africa, the broad use of digital storytelling with Foster Youth, and finally the connection to digital storytelling to public campaigns in substance abuse prevention and community mental health programs.

Uses in museums

Digital storytelling is being used by many different museums.

The largest project is currently taking place in the North East of England - Culture Shock! This project is using museum and gallery collections to inspire people to create their own digital stories, which are also being added to the relevant museum collections.

Another large-scale project is the work of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.

The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. also held a series of classes to integrate arts education curriculum with digital storytelling from 2003-2005.

Some museums help interpret and make community history accessible. In 2007, the Colorado Historical Society collaborated with the Center for Digital Storytelling to create a program, The Italians, about Italian American History. In 2008, a group of eleven museums in Yorkshire launched My Yorkshire, a digital storytelling project.[26] The museums work with communities to use contemporary collected oral histories alongside those from archives to interpret local history from a personal point of view. Some interesting issues[vague] have arisen with the use of historical oral recordings and archival photos. The group have also produced help guides to creating digital stories in a museum setting.

The finished digital stories can have many uses: advertising an upcoming exhibition, preserving a short-term project, building relations with communities. They provide skills to volunteers and can be permanently displayed in galleries.

Uses in Libraries

A digital story station is a public space for people to create a digital story that serves to archive oral histories from the public perspective. These oral stories may focus on a personal experience, incident, describing a place or witnessing an event. Based on the Center for Digital Storytelling model, over 30 public libraries ranging from Northern down the coast to Southern California have a place for people to tell their own story.

Bilingual library staff work with participants to create a recording using the digital station, which can be integrated with a variety of media, including audio, video, pictures, and images. The digital storytelling station project called California of the Past is funded by a grant from the California State Library, U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and Technology Act, and administered in California by librarians. The Media Arts Center in San Diego facilitates this project.[27]

Since 2006, San Diego has housed a story station in its downtown library. The Media Arts Center of San Diego partnered with the downtown public library to set up a story station where the public can create a three-minute video. The topics of the archived videos range from personal to historical documentaries.[28]

Place-based digital storytelling

The Canadian Film Centre's New Media Lab (formerly MediaLinx Habitat) launched a project, Murmur, out of the 2002-2003 studio.[29] The project integrates audio interviews into cellphone-based tours. The Center for Digital Storytelling created in 2006 with projects in Mendocino (California), Houston, New Orleans, and Tuscaloosa (Alabama) to promote the connection between storytelling and issues of local memory and civic planning.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Moursund, Dave. "Information Age Education". 
  2. ^ Roland, Craig (March 2006). "Digital Stories in the Classroom". School Art. 7 105 (7): 26. 
  3. ^ Sylvester, Ruth; Wendy-lou Greenidge (December 2009). "Digital Storytelling: Extending the Potential for Struggling Writers". The Reading Teacher 63 (4): 284–295. 
  4. ^ Dana, Atchley. "Pioneer of Digital Storytelling". Next Exit. Dana Atchley Productions. Retrieved 6 March 2011. 
  5. ^ The website of the Center for Digital Storytelling is
  6. ^ The website for Rum för Berättande is here, Sveriges Utbildningsradio AB. (Swedish) Archived by the Wayback Machine on 6 December 2006.
  7. ^ Rossiter, M; Garcia (2010). "Digital Storytelling: A New Player on the Narrative Field". New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education (126). 
  8. ^ Alexander, B; Levine (2008). "Web 2.0 Storytelling: Emergence of a New Genre". EDUCAUSE Review 56. 
  9. ^ "Digital Storytelling". Information Age Education. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  10. ^ "Center for Digital Storytelling". 
  11. ^ "YouthWorx Media". 
  12. ^ a b c Kompar, 2007[vague]
  13. ^ Banaszewski, 2002[vague]
  14. ^ This website is here.
  15. ^ The website is here.
  16. ^ Its site is here.
  17. ^ Its website is here.
  18. ^
  19. ^ Whose website is here.
  20. ^ Whose website is here.
  21. ^ Whose website is here.
  22. ^ University of Oslo page.
  23. ^ Lowenthal, P. R. (2009). Digital storytelling—An emerging institutional technology? In J. Hartley & K. McWilliam (Eds.), Story circle: Digital storytelling around the world (pp. 252-259). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
  24. ^ Lowenthal, P. R., & Dunlap, J. (2010). From pixel on a screen to real person in your students’ lives: Establishing social presence using digital storytelling. The Internet and Higher Education. doi:10.1016/j.iheduc.2009.10.004
  25. ^ Whose website is here.
  26. ^ Whose website is here.
  27. ^ "Oakland Library". 
  28. ^ "Media Arts Center". Retrieved June 26, 2011. 
  29. ^ Its website is here.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Digital Storytelling — Le Digital Storytelling est un procédé de narration multimédia qui est conçu grâce à des outils numériques en ligne (tels que Facebook, Twitter, Blog, etc.) afin d offrir au plus grand nombre la possibilité de raconter des histoires vécues.… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Digital history — is the use of digital media and tools for historical practice, presentation, analysis, and research. It is a branch of the Digital Humanities and an outgrowth of Quantitative history, Cliometrics, and History and Computing. Some of the previous… …   Wikipedia

  • Storytelling (technique) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Storytelling. Le storytelling est une méthode utilisée en communication basée sur une structure narrative du discours qui s apparente à celle des contes, des récits. Littéralement : Raconter une histoire[1] …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Storytelling — is the ancient art of conveying events in words, images, and sounds often by improvisation or embellishment. Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture and in every land as a means of entertainment, education, preservation of culture …   Wikipedia

  • Digital journalism — is a term used to describe journalism originating from the Internet. Technological innovation, which previously allowed the mass distribution of news and information to large audiences, is now giving that power to individuals. Digital journalism… …   Wikipedia

  • Transmedia storytelling — (also known as Multi platform/Cross platform Storytelling or Transmedia Narratives) is the technique of telling stories across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies. It is not to be confused with traditional cross… …   Wikipedia

  • Adventures Into Digital Comics — Infobox Film name = Adventures Into Digital Comics caption = director = Sébastien Dumesnil producer = Sébastien Dumesnil Robert Nichols writer = Sébastien Dumesnil starring = John Barber Leonard M. Cachola Joe Casey Patrick Farley Shaenon Garrity …   Wikipedia

  • Daniel Meadows — is an English photographer turned maker of digital stories, and a teacher of photography turned teacher of participatory media. Contents 1 Life and career as photographer 2 Career as teacher and digital storyteller 3 Selected exhibitions …   Wikipedia

  • National Film Board of Canada — logo Abbreviation NFB Formation 1939 …   Wikipedia

  • Battle Command Knowledge System — The Battle Command Knowledge System (BCKS) is the change agent for implementing knowledge management (KM) capabilities into the training and military operations of the United States Army. BCKS is headquartered at the U.S. Army Combined Arms… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.