Bernajean’s Porter’s DigiTales: The Art of Telling Digital Stories is a great resource website for both novice and experienced digital storytellers, and especially good for educators (like me) wanting to help students learn how to more effectively tell digital stories. I love the anonymous quotation on the front page:

Digital storytelling begins with the notion that in the not distant future, sharing one’s story through the multiple mediums of digital imagery, text, voice, sound, music, video and animation will be the principal hobby of the world’s people.

My own hope is that digital storytelling will become one of the principal activities of students and teachers everywhere!

Bernajean breaks the storymaking process into 4 essential phases:

  1. Pre-Production
  2. Production
  3. Post-Production
  4. Distribution

These 4 phases are further broken down into 7 discrete steps:

  1. Writing a narrative script
  2. Planning the project
  3. Organizing project folders
  4. Making the voiceover
  5. Gathering and Preparing media resources
  6. Putting it all together
  7. Applause!

The Storykeeper’s gallery has a wealth of excellent digital story examples. (Use the drop down menu on the top navigation bar to visit the different category pages.) Rubrics (or “scoring guides”) are also available on the website. These look like great resources to start with in designing your own evaluative rubrics for digital storytelling assignments.

One thing I would like to see on rubric websites is the ability for students to submit online evaluations and have the results dynamically aggregated. I think in order to do this in my own digital storytelling class later this spring, I’ll use a free survey engine website like SurveyMonkey or Perseus SurveySolutions Express. At least once a survey is developed using one of these tools, it can be relatively easily modified and reused again. For a class with 20 students, even the 100 submission limit of SurveyMonkey (for a free account) shouldn’t pose a problem.

A wealth of other digital storytelling examples are available on the BBC’s “Telling Lives” project.

I learned about all the resources mentioned in this post thanks to the comments of Bernajean and Stephanie Rieger on another recent post I wrote about this topic. Web 2.0 dialog and sharing is a wonderful thing! Stephanie recommends the following three sessions to help students create digital stories:

  • Session 1: Students attend small group sessions and play games designed to help them discover a story they want to tell
  • Session 2: Guidance is given to develop a short script and ideas for assets that could be useful (family photos, existing video etc.)
  • Session 3: Each student works with a specialist to create a digital version of their story using available video, audio and/pr multimedia (In a school setting this could be a one-on-one, 1 hour after class session with a teacher.)

Session 3 would be the place to really use Bernajean’s 7 steps.

Wouldn’t it be great if a school near you had a certification program for students to become digital storytelling facilitators, who could help both adults and peers in during and after-school digital storytelling workshops?!

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2 Responses to DigiTales and StoryMaking Steps

  1. It’s funny, when I first read your final few lines about certification I thought “Is that really necessary?” But after re-reading Bernajean’s steps I realized I why it was. I’ve worked on lots of content related projects over the years and the ones that failed almost always did so for lack of planning or the omission of crucial steps.

    In a storytelling environment, this may at first seem a bit draconian (storytellng should be fun!) but the bottom line is; creating (digital?) media of any kind is as much a joy as it is a challenge for even the most experienced participant. Asking kids to spontaneously produce coherent digital stories without guidance is as unfair as asking teachers to facilitate that same experience without training of their own. A plan of action (like the 7 steps), additional resources (software training, content resources) and some good hands-on facilitation experience can make a world of difference for all participants and I think that this is what certification should try to achieve.

  2. DAN says:

    I found a cheaper and better survey tool than the ones mentioned on your article

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