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Jamie L. Forshey
Instructional Technology Coach
Bellwood-Antis School District
814.742.2273 ext. 4009
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What is digital storytelling?
As the name implies, it is the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories. Digital stories typically contain a combination of computer-based images, text, recorded audio narration, video clips and/or music.
Why would I want to incorporate digital storytelling into my classroom?
The real question is –
Not only can teachers create digital stories to introduce, teach and/or review concepts, but this strategy can be used for a variety of project-based assessments. More importantly, students can demonstrate their understanding of skills acquired during a lesson or unit while having the opportunity to imagine, plan, design, compose and invent - skills all crucial to 21st Century learning. And what a great way to hook reluctant readers and writers in all subjects!
Storytelling can also satisfy the NETS for Students in the areas of Creativity & Innovation, Communication & Collaboration, Digital Citizenship, and Technology Operations & Concepts. But most of all, digital storytelling can inspire students.
Uses for Digital Storytelling:
The possibilities are endless when it comes to creating digital stories, but here are some ideas to consider as potential themes for digital storytelling projects:
Talking Books; Reports on Famous People, Historians, Building, Landmarks, etc.; Scientific Processes; Field Trip Diary; My Hero Biographies; Autobiographies; Advertisements; Book Reports; Vocabulary Activities; How-to Directions; Short Stories
The best part about digital storytelling/Photo Story is that it can be used at any grade level and in any content area!
Tips for Creating a digital Story:
1. Pre-Planning Tasks (story boarding, idea mapping, note cards, flow charts, outline, create draft(s), purpose)
2. Research (Internet sites, video, books, magazines, newspapers, data, interviews, surveys...)
3. Upload Photos/Pictures
4. Last slide
include works cited (images, music, voice...
Be sure to cite it all!
5. Add Text/Voice Narration
6. Special Effects/Transitions
7. Music (cite sources...be sure it is meaningful to the topic)
8. Present/Peer Reviews
(Adapted from Bernajean Porter's notes -
Essentials Elements of Digital Storytelling:
1. Overall Purpose of the Story
(What is the main point of the story?)
6. Pacing of the Narrative
(The rhythm of the story and how slowly or quickly it progresses)
2. The Narrator’s Point of View
(What is the perspective of the author?)
7. Use of a Meaningful Audio Soundtrack
(Music or other sounds that support and embellish the storyline)
3. A Dramatic Question
(A key question that keeps the viewer's attention and will be answered by the end of the story)
8. Quality of the images, video & multimedia
(Image and video that support and embellish the storyline)
4. The Choice of Content
(Making the topic come alive in a powerful way to connect the story to the audience)
9. Economy of the Story Detail
(Using just enough content to tell the story without overloading the viewer)
5. Clarity of Voice
(A way to personalize the story to help the audience understand the context)
10. Good Grammar and Language Usage
For more information about how these elements can be used in the classroom, you may be interested in the following articles:
The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling
A Multilevel Approach to Using Digital Storytelling in the Classroom
Developing your product:
Remember it is all about the content – and then the tool.
Jakes’s Online Photo Story Tutorials and Screencasts –
▪ Photo Story How-To Guides –
Text Screen Templates:
Blank slides for Photo Story Projects – A
collection of blank color slides/text screen templates for downloading and usage as title slides, etc. in the process of digital storytelling. Great for creating text screens!
50+ Web 2.0 Ways To Tell a Story – Examples of 50+ tools available for digital storytelling –
▪ Classrooms for the Future Photostory Wikispace – Elements of digital storytelling, student samples, tutorials, *** copyright free materials –
▪ Creating Your Photo Story – Examples and ideas –
▪ Digital Storytelling – Tons of links pertaining to digital storytelling in education –
▪ The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling – Getting started & storyboarding ideas, examples, tutorials, rubrics, alignment to standards –
▪ The Digital Storytelling Cookbook – Getting jump started & storyboarding ideas, samples –
Digitales: The Art of Telling Digital Stories – Tons of resources, storymaking files, peer reviews, scoring guides – A great resource! –
▪ Why should I have students create a Photo Story wiki – storyboards, rubrics, image and audio links, copyright info, tips & tricks –
ArticleS of Interest:
How to use digital storytelling in your classroom –
▪ The Power of Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: Tell Stories with Technology –
If you have any questions or concerns and/or need additional assistance as you journey into the world of digital storytelling, please contact me.
Good luck with your Photo Story adventure!
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