Curious about how digital storytelling (DST) could enrich the teaching and learning of history? This Google Site is designed to provide history educators a brief overview of DST. A vast amount of resources are fortunately available online. Here, you will find a sample of novel and effective ideas for DST, a collection of tools and resources that can be of help throughout the process, and a brief discussion of how to deal with copyright concerns.
For history educators and students, DST makes use of multimedia components to enhance historical narratives. Digital stories can serve many purposes: a narrative form of entertainment, an interactive and immersive experience for viewers, a powerful teaching tool, a nonlinear way to address historical questions, a way for ordinary people to tell their own stories, or simply a way of re-imagining one of the oldest forms of entertainment.
DST offers students a medium of personal expression and authentic engagement with history. Digital stories are a product of collaborative efforts, peer review, selective choices about resources, and editing aimed at presenting audiences with a clear narrative concerning the question at hand. Throughout the process of creating a digital story, students learn the methodology at the heart of historical scholarship. Scholars, for their part, will find that DST offers a different way of approaching historical questions. Video, audio, and text combine to offer a structure far different than text-based forms of scholarship.
Like any media tool new to users, DST offers challenges as well. Media literacy and media fluency are essential skills for developing digital productions. As Jason Ohler stated, "media literacy is needed to fully parse and understand what the media fluent person can do...media fluency allows us to effectively create it." In other words, it is not necessary to master all of the digital technologies involved in creating a digital story but it is crucial to "speak the language."
Nonetheless, the benefits provided through DST are worth the extra effort. Students will better understand how historians think through the process of creating a digital story. Moreover, they will also discover that technology is less important to an effective DST project than the timeless power of storytelling centered on the stories of diverse people. This site aims to provide suggestions and resources that can help de-mystify DST for new users. Experienced users may also find some useful information and links.