Digital Storytelling

What is “Digital Storytelling”?
Digital Storytelling is the practice of using digital tools to tell a story to an audience. Thus the story will be a “digital story”, a short movie that tells a narrative story using digital contents such as images, video, music, sound, and texts.

Everybody has a story to tell and anyone can learn the techniques. With available technology and software, students can create and tell stories that generate a deeper understanding for themselves as the author and greater emotional connection with the audience.

Why is it important?

  • Helps develop visual and multimedia literacy
  • Provides students with a competitive and compelling voice
  • Helps students write more effectively
  • Encourages self-directed, self-motivated learning experiences
  • Teaches technology, information and visual literacy
  • Engages students in their learning

(by Brian Grenier, Digital Storytelling)

How to do it?
Here are the steps in general, by JD Lasica in Digital Storytelling: A tutorial in 10 Easy Steps.

Step 1: Decide on a story you want to tell
You might already have one topic in mind. Keep it small and focused, just enough for a 2-3 minutes length of story. Some main topics of digital stories are:

  • The story about someone important
  • The story about an event in your life
  • The story about what I do
  • Recovery stories
  • Love stories
  • Discovery stories
  • The story to instruct or show something

Step 2: Write your story and script
Start writing some ideas, just in simple sentences is fine. No need to think that you have to write a perfect story that covers all angles. Try to imagine roughly how your story will play. Some tips:

  • Get personal
  • Write first drafts
  • Read your script aloud
  • Look for a narrative arc for your story. All stories have a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Work on the pace. The rhythm and tempo of a story is what sustains an audience’s interest.
  • Read your script to a friend. Very often, they will point out glaring omissions, help firm up the language of a passage, or help you identify your true voice.

Step 3: Create a Storyboard
A storyboard is simply a place to plan out a visual story on two levels: 1) Time — What happens in what order? and 2) Interaction — How does the voiceover and music work with the images or video?

The easiest way to begin this process is with a small stack of index cards. Take a card and write what kind of image/picture you plan to use and lay it out on your desk or kitchen table. Next, place a single index card below each image. On the index cards, jot down the main words that you’ll be reading aloud as the image appears in the story; make sure that you give each element a chance to breathe rather than rushing through them in an effort to pack in more imagery.

Step 4: Gather your materials
Start collecting memories. Find your photos, pictures or videos (if any) related to the story you want to tell. You can also use the internet search tools such as Google, Yahoo!, Altavista and so on. But be careful not to use copyrighted image/photos.

Step 5: Create your digital story
In this step, you start to create your story using software available to you. You can add photos, images, music, voice-over, video and text during this step.

If you are on Windows PC platform, you can use Windows Movie Maker or Photostory (free to download). If you are on Macintosh computer, you can use iMovie.

For detailed explanation on how to use the programs:
Windows Movie Maker

Step 6: Share your story
When you finished your digital stories, it’s time to share it with other people! Show it to the people you want to, publish it on your website or blog, upload it in video-sharing websites, or any other way you deem fit. Sharing your stories has an effect on relationships – people get insights into the storymaker that they would have never known had they not seen their digital stories.

Related links for Digital Storytelling