Digital Storytelling Seminar

Digital Storytelling

Stories provide the vehicle by which we learn. [...] universities come to know things through studies, organizations come to know things through reports, and people come to know things through stories. Stories and storytelling are essential to the engagement paradigm. (Richard Axelrod, Terms of Engagement: Changing the Way We Change Organizations)

"Digital Storytelling is the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories. As with traditional storytelling, most digital stories focus on a specific topic and contain a particular point of view. However, as the name implies, digital stories usually contain some mixture of computer-based images, text, recorded audio narration, video clips and/or music. Digital stories can vary in length, but most of the stories used in education typically last between two and ten minutes. And the topics that are used in Digital Storytelling 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 literally, everything in between." (from University of Houston College of Education)


For the next five (or six?) weeks, you will be exploring a variety of digital storytelling tools and using them to create stories that you will embed or link to in your portfolio. You will have considerable leeway in the content of your stories and in the tools that you choose to use for storytelling. I do not plan to use class time to teach the tools--my role in this section of the class will be to provide help and guidance as you explore the tools and create your stories. Each of you will become teachers for this mini-seminar by presenting your works in progress to your classmates and answering questions that they (or I) might have.

At the end of this seminar, you will have created at least four stories using different storytelling tools. At least one of these stories will be completed through collaboration with one or more classmates. The content will be up to you. Here are some suggestions:
  1. Depict an activity, procedure, or protocol (for example, how to crochet, how to resolve a conflict with another student, how to use GarageBand, how to study for or take a test, etc.).
  2. Demonstrate a concept or principle that students need to learn (for example, how the Doppler Effect works, how to simplify fractions, how to perform an Internet search, etc.).
  3. Present information about a curriculum topic using existing historical footage or images (for example, Manifest Destiny, the Civil Rights struggle, the Industrial Revolution, subsistence lifestyles, etc.).
  4. Tell a personal story about a place, event, lifestyle, or issue (sense of place).
  5. Create an artistic or impressionistic montage or portfolio.

Required Projects

You will be required to create the following projects:
We may also optionally explore other tools for creating slide shows, podcasts and screen casts, given time and interest.

Tools (a partial list)

I'll be demonstrating many of these tools during the first week of the digital storytelling seminar. Atomic Learning tutorials point to the latest versions; you may have to search for your version.
(* denotes collaborative features)