To be literate now means to be a consumer, and creator and publisher of information. One of the easiest and most rewarding ways to become a publisher is by telling a story. Digital tools, in combination with traditional storytelling practices, are making it easier for you as a teacher, and your students to become sharers and publishers of stories.
The process of digital story telling obviously involves technology and creative processes:
- What kind of hardware, software, storage and connectivity options are available to you? You need to know what kinds of tools are available, both in your classroom and at home, for your students to use to help them tell their stories. You also need to ask if any of the Web-based tools are practical or even possible to use in your learning environment.
- Resources or art such as images, diagrams, and video and audio clips must be found or created. Other people may also be involved in the story, so they must be contacted, briefed, and scheduled.
- Planning must be done and generally involves an activity such as storyboarding or story mapping using traditional tools such as pens, scissors, and paper.
- A narrative must be written-the writing piece is critical as it is in any storytelling activity. The narrative for a story contains a beginning and an end, but somewhere in the middle are a problem and a solution, with some kind of change that occurs on the way to the solution. The narrative needs to be tested and revised.
- All the pieces must be put together in a meaningful way so that the story flows properly and if a soundtrack is chosen, the timing needs to be correct and it must match the mood of the story. Something as simple as changing the music that accompanies a story will change the message that is conveyed dramatically.
- There are many ways to publish and share a story. They can be copied to a memory stick, a CD or a DVD for limited distribution, or uploaded to YouTube, iTunes, a blog, a wiki, or any number on online sites for sharing with a broader audience. If the stories are shared on the Internet, then the author must decide who has viewing access, who can comment, and whether or not the story can be downloaded by others to remix or reuse.
Jason Ohler has a fantastic (now only accessible in archived form) Website that outlines all the aspects of digital storytelling in detail. It is a great place to start your exploration of digital storytelling and how digital storytelling is used in learning. You should notice that Jason points out that it’s not the tools, or the effects that the tools can produce that make a good story, it is how the narrative and other media are put together, and how the story connects with learning that is important.