Storytelling in the Modern Age

What I’ve Been Reading:

This week, I’ve been reading about digital storytelling and, I must say, the idea is very cool. In this post, I’m going to look at how I could use digital storytelling in my classroom. I’m also going to look at a few questions that popped up while doing the readings.

Crystal Phoenix

Do Digital Stories Need to Be Personal?
What I mean is, if I were to make a digital story, would it have to be about me? My Grade 4s have just finished a unit on the Aztecs. If they were to make videos about the lives of the Aztecs, would these be regarded as digital stories?

The answer to all these questions is: digital stories can be about anything.

Here, for example, is a digital story about the great mathematician, Pythagoras.

And, here, for example, is a bunch of digital stories about the lives of those involved in organ donation.

Where Could Digital Stories Be Used in My Classroom?
My grade 4 technology class are about to finish a project on the Aztecs that’s taken about six weeks to complete. (I see the class once a week.) They’ve made a bunch of awesome posters using research they did in their homerooms.

The posters are all quite different. Some students chose to base their poster on the games that the Aztecs used to play. Others chose to write about (present?) the various roles that used to exist within Aztec society.

Back to the Question
I’m thinking the next time we do this project, instead of making posters, what about making digital stories?

PowerPoint, iMovie, Movie Maker and even VoiceThread are all tools the students could use to to bring their digital story ideas to life.

One thing I like about digital stories that posters simply can’t offer is sound. And from doing COETAIL for nine months, I’ve come to realise that, in digital media today, sound is integral.

Closing Remarks
Here are some guidelines for digital storytelling that I’ll be sure to follow in the future when making digital stories with my classes:

  • Digital stories can be instructional, persuasive, historical or reflective. Digital stories can be about anything.
  • Digital storytelling is best suited to the individual.
  • Digital stories are typically between two and four minutes in length.

Image Credits:

3 thoughts on “Storytelling in the Modern Age

  1. Thank you for your post. Was the photo of “Crystal Phoenix” taken at the Yuki-Matsuri in Sapporo? So glad to hear that your students have an opportunity to use so many tools to create posters and stories to demonstrate their knowledge.
    I took a look at the digital story about Pythagoras, but the link connected to the story about organ donors may be broken.
    I would be interested to hear about which tools the students found most compelling when learning to tell digital stories and which tools were the easiest to learn.
    Good luck with the stories. I’m sure that the students will come up with some amazing projects.

  2. Hi Ruth

    Yes, it was. I went there a few weeks ago – around the start of February. I highly recommend visiting Sapporo during this time, even though it was the coldest I’ve ever been!

    Yes, I think that’s a post for another time: which tools do students prefer when digital storytelling?

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. Great idea for a project next time around! Digital stories can be as easy or as complex as you choose to make them. Images and audio is a nice simple start. I recommend you try to create one yourself to see what it’s like. VoiceThread is a great starting point.

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