Introduction to Digital Storytelling


Let’s watch this video from Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk (watch at least the first 8 minutes or so).  Then (if you enjoyed the first video) watch his follow-up video (hang on until the end – the final quote is very meaningful).

So, what does this have to do with technology integration? Are there tools available that will enhance student’s creative thinking? Are there tools that will enable students to share their divergent thoughts to a broader audience? What types of activities might be possible in your grade/subject area?

One of the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) addresses creativity and innovation:

Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.

a. apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
b. create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
c. use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.
d. identify trends and forecast possibilities.


Brainstorming tools are used frequently to support creativity in K-12 classrooms. Since you’re tasked with coming up with an idea for a digital story – I thought it would be a good idea to explore a brainstorming tool first to help you get some ideas down on paper.

Project Requirements

But you probably want to know a little about the digital story requirements before you brainstorm what yours will be about!  You have several options for what your digital story might be:

1. An educational video for use in your subject/grade level.
2. A video that showcases a personal talent.
3. A commercial for your major.
4. A TED talk about something you are passionate about. (what is a TED talk?).

Here are some other details:

1. The video should tell a story – not simply instruct.
2. Your story needs a beginning, middle, and end.
3. It can be fiction or non-fiction.
4. You need to identify the age of your audience (within the story or preferably on your Creativity and Innovation webpage).
5. If you are writing fiction you need characters and conflict.
6. If you are writing nonfiction – your readers need to know why they should care about your topic.
7. Regardless of fiction or nonfiction – your reader should learn something.
8. The story will likely be 2-3 minutes long. Nothing bad happens if it’s a little shorter or a bit longer.

If you want to be able to create a visual of your brainstorming (although not required at this point),  I suggest using the free online tool called Bubbl.  Spend a few minutes getting used to the tool and then begin a brainstorming web for your story ideas. Your web might be a large cluster of different ideas for a story or you might already have an idea so your web is just laying out what you want to include in your story. There are many other brainstorming tools that you can use. You are not required to use Bubbl.  If the technology gets in the way of your creativity – don’t use it!  You might also want to use Kidspiration, Inspiration, Xmind,or Edistorm. Here’s a tutorial for Inspiration and Kidspiration created by a former EDIT 2000 student.

Here are some digital stories from past students:

5th grade mathematics
High School Chemistry
Special Education

Come to class next Monday prepared to share ideas about your story.

If you want to think ahead to our Digital Storytelling Project, try looking at some tutorials to the following programs you may choose to use:

Photostory has been the most commonly used tool in our class for creating digital stories. It’s a free download for PC – unfortunately, it doesn’t work on Macs and you’ll need Windows XP. Other resources you might need:
1. PhotoStory Tutorial
2. Blank slides to use for title slides

VoiceThread is an option for both Mac and PC users. More and more EDIT 2000 students are choosing this. You can create a free account and create up to 3 videos at no charge. While VoiceThread is designed primarily to allow others to comment on video and/or photos that you upload – you can use the comment feature to add narration to your video/photos. Here’s an example of a VoiceThread created by 1st grade science students. You can access a tutorial for VoiceThread here. Or you can watch the tutorial made by an EDIT 2000 student. Or you can print an 8-page step-by-step tutorial here.

If you have a Mac and you’ve been wanting to learn how to use iMovie – now is your chance. If you have a PC and you’ve been wondering about MovieMaker – you can use it to create your story. The links for each of these tools takes you to a tutorial.

Storybird is also an option. It’s a free tool that can be used on a Mac or PC (it’s web-based). It does not allow original images or narration. A former student created an example/tutorial for Storybird that you may find helpful.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Introduction to Digital Storytelling

  1. Pingback: Digital Storytelling: Day 3 « editclass

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s