Digital Story Telling

prepared by David Brear, updated May 2, 2007

in loving memory of my daughter, Ashley, December 12, 1983 - April 22, 2006

"Digital storytelling begins with the notion that in the not too distant future, sharing one's story through multiple medium of imagery, text, voice, sound, music, video and animation will be the principal hobby of the world's people." - Joe Lambert, co-founder of the Center for Digital Story Telling


| Articles | Assignments | Associations | Background | Definition | Digital Resources | Educational Uses | Elements | Festivals | Guides | Help Sites | My Experience | Ppt Presentations | Resource Links | Samples | Software | Storyboard Resources | Webcast | Workshops |



Film School - the silver screen inspires young minds to think big - George Lucas Educational Foundation's Edutopia Magazine, December '05.

How to Use Digital Story Telling in the Classroom - George Lucas Educational Foundation's Edutopia Magazine, December '05.

Reality Bytes - Digital learners have their own tech tales to tell, George Lucas Educational Foundation's Edutopia Magazine, October '05.

Digital Storytelling Finds its Place in the Classroom - article by Tom Banaszewski, learn about the Place Project done with fourth and fifth grade students. This article focuses on how digital storytelling hooked children (grade 4) onto writing. It provides the step-by-step process the author used.

What's Your Story? - article by Daniel H. Pink, talks about how the business world uses story telling in its work.

The World of Digital Storytelling - by Corey Hitchcock - So what's a digital storyteller? They are artists/writers using new tools and techniques, like HTML hyper-text linking for the web, animation programming in Macromedia Director and digital movie-making using Adobe Premiere, to tell their stories. These tools, and many others, are helping or perhaps even forcing writers and artists to think outside the realm of traditional linear narrative. Every aspect of storytelling; structure, plot, character, pace, voice, timing, and setting, has the potential to be morphed by digital contact.

Spinning Yarns Around the Digital Fire - Storytelling and Dialogue Among Youth on the Internet by David Huffaker.

Making a Case for Digital Story Telling - article by David Jakes, everyone has stories. Stories represent who we are, portray our life experiences, and when presented to others, help connect us to others through common shared experience. As such, telling a story is a powerful way to communicate with others. Any teacher knows that when he or she tells a story about themselves in class, every student is "dialed in," waiting on every word. The teacher becomes more 'real' simply by relating a personal anecdote.

Standards-Proof Your Digital Story Telling Efforts - article by David Jakes, in today's educational climate of No Child Left Behind, classroom instruction must be correlated with local, state and sometimes national standards. This correlation in many cases is in support of a guaranteed and viable curriculum, which itself is in support of effective schools. In some instances, this correlation may also relate to high-stakes testing and the need for students to perform at acceptable levels. Given the above, how can educators justify an educational activity like digital storytelling, which at first glance, seems an unlikely candidate for standards-based education? Ironically, the answer to this question can be found through a careful examination of a series of standards and position statements.


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Center for Digital Storytelling - is a non-profit project development, training, and research organization dedicated to assisting people in using digital media to tell meaningful stories from their lives.

Digital Story Association - members realize that there is a need for maintaining an ongoing collaboration between individuals and organizations, across countries and continents, with regard to the production and educational goals of digital story telling.

Association of Personal Historians - The many members of the Association of Personal Historians Inc. care deeply about helping others preserve their personal and family histories or slice-of-life stories.

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The Call of Story - storytelling is experiencing an American renaissance - the resurgence of a very special art form. View this interactive presentation to learn how an ancient tradition is becoming a powerful medium that communicates the lessons of the past.

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BCcampus Online Communities

Digital Storytelling With David Brear - he will be moderating this discussion about Digital Storytelling to help you and your students "tell your story".  We invite your questions and stories. Note: if you are not already a member, you will have to join and it is free.

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What is Digital Storytelling?

Start with the art of storytelling. Add the use of technology and storytelling goes digital! There are many forms of digital storytelling that may combine any of the following elements: text, image, sound, voice and moving images, in a coherent story. It is the interplay of these elements, each of which plays a unique role, that gives this medium its power. However, no amount of digital magic will turn a poor story into a good one.

While many proponents limit the definition of digital storytelling to personal narrative, others include other forms of narrative as well.

Digital storytelling can contribute to the development of many of the competencies we want our students to acquire. It is an ideal environment in which students can work in teams, learning to collaborate on decision-making and task division throughout the planning, production and post-production phases of the creation of their digital stories. These interactions are crucial to the acquisition of knowledge as well as allowing for multiple learning styles. Digital storytelling can be used to integrate subject area knowledge in many areas of the curriculum. Those who can tell the story, understand the subject in a deep way.

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Educational Uses

Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling - this site from the University of Houston is devoted to the Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling.

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Tell Me a Story - The Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling. This site walks you and your students through seven important elements.

Seven Steps to Create a DigiTales Story - follow these seven guidelines to help craft a story.

The Elements of Digital Story Telling - The Elements of Digital Storytelling site provides a Taxonomy of digital storytelling, Analysis of current practices , Clearinghouse of effects research , Showcase of innovative story forms and a Forum for discussion.

Memories Voices - a guide to digital storytelling.

Storyboard - A storyboard is a visual script of your story. It is an important part of the planning process. It is the organizational tool that will make the production process flow easily. Depending on the elements you are using (image, text, soundtrack(s), motion) your storyboard will be more or less complex. Will your final product be a printed page, a multimedia project on computer, a video? The output will also determine what your storyboard needs to include. It will include any or all of the following:


Make sure you have a storyboard for each page / scene / screen of your project.
Number your scenes and pages.

Photo Roman - a special kind of digital storytelling, if you want to make a Photo Roman, the first thing you need are photographs. They can be your own photographs from home, you can take digital pictures or use photographs from one of the copyright free sites on the Internet. Within most software suitable for making a Photo Roman, you can resize your photographs, flip them, crop them (selecting only the portion you want to use) and do some other simple changes. You can even use different parts of the photograph to use in different parts of your story! Below is an example.

Components of a Photo Roman


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The Digital Storytelling Festival 1995 ­ 2005 - The Digital Storytelling Festival was founded in 1995 as an annual gathering where professionals and enthusiasts who use technology to communicate and share stories gather to examine creative works and new concepts being used in areas of education, community building, business, personal and legacy storytelling, new media and entertainment.

Island Movie Contest 2007 - is a digital storytelling contest for students in Hawaii to demonstrate their creative writing, collaborative teamwork, and digital movie-making skills.

The 4th Annual TGSNT™ Digital Storytelling Competition - the 4th. Annual TGSNT is an annual digital story telling competition that seeks to recognize and reward independent storytellers, 2D/3D animators, filmakers and students worldwide who produces original stories.

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Please note that the following guides, require Adobe Acrobat Reader !!

Shout Out! A Kid's Guide to Recording Stories - This is a guide you can download for students who want to gather audio stories. It works through the steps from selecting a subject to interview, how to conduct the interview and how to use the equipment. Although this site deals only with sound recording, many of the tips can be applied to video recording.

Telling Your Story - a handbook for putting the story into digital ( and traditional ) storytelling.

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Help Sites

Digital Video for the Web: Assembling the Pieces - This site addresses a wide array of issues related to the successful creation of digital video content for the internet. From an initial needs assessment to the finished product, this site offers a vast amount of easily digestible resources.

The Multimedia Project's The Video Guide - is a resource for both students and teachers to use as they explore the world of video. Containing four categories, the materials include such assets as advice sheets, activities and glossaries.

Digital Video Primer - The University of Iowa Digital Video Center's web site offers information on the following topics: Video purpose, presentation, delivery method and quality.

Visual Knowledge Project - Some Selected Online Resources

Royalty Free Resources - Links to Royalty Free Resources.

Digital Storytelling - the purpose of this web site is to provide a resource for students and educators who are engaged in learning through digital storytelling.

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Resource Links

Adobe Digital Kids Club: Story Telling - Digital Storytelling, like paintings, personal narrative stories that mix images, graphics, sound, and music with the author's own storytelling voice will exist over time and be enjoyed long past their creation. The ideas and content for the Digital Storytelling section of the Adobe Digital Kids Club have been compiled and written by Bernajean Porter, whose book, DigiTales: The Art of Telling Digital Stories, includes detailed step-by-step processes for bringing this emerging oral storytelling style into today's classrooms.

Digital Storytelling - here find resources compiled by Dr. Barrett under the following headings Digital Storytelling in Education, Digital Family Stories, and International Digital Storytelling.

Digital Storytelling - comprehensive site, links compiled by Hilary McLellan

Digital Family Story - The art of presenting family stories using common software tools.

Digital Story Telling Education - Welcome to the Digital Storytelling project, a library for Broadband schools in the East of England Broadband Region and other Regional Broadband Consortia. You can search and access digital stories. From this site you can also learn how to create your own digital stories, understand more about copyright and access further digital story resources from the Links section.

Digital Storytelling - If a picture is worth a thousand words - just think how effective your information can be when you can include motion and emotion as well.

Digital Storytelling Resources for Educators - here is a collection of resources created by Meg Ormiston to help educators create powerful digital stories. Explore the examples to better understand the ways people are taking the ancient art of storytelling to new and exciting levels with powerful digital tools.

JakesOnline!-Digital Storytelling - Dave Jakes has compiled an excellent resource site that contains lots of useful items that you can use. - Visit Jason Ohler's site for information on his upcoming book and links to other digital storytelling resources.

Mark Standley - is a strong proponent of digital storytelling. He has organized a film festival in Alaska, the IdidaMovie Festival, where students could enter and share their stories. You will find some papers written by Mark Standley outlining some of his ideas.

Supplementary - from the Winnipeg School Division, the purpose of this "Supplementary Resources" Web page is to provide extensive resources for those engaged in learning through digital storytelling.


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My Experience

The following is based on my own experience introducing the notion of Digital Story Telling to Grade 7's and 8's. I contrast the past of sitting around an open fire or a fireplace passing on valuable family stories from one generation to the next to modern multimedia methods. Today they can tell what is important to them using the digital tools that are available. It might be holidays, friends, their family, an activity, an idea, sports or something else they choose. I mention to them that a Digital Story is different to each and everyone. Each of them bring something special to it. I watch their faces and their eyes light up as they think about an idea. I also show them examples of past students Digital Stories and suggest they go through them before they start. I encourage them to plan it out before they begin. I also give them plenty of computer time to work and develop their Digital Story. Students choose their own topic and used iMovie, music CD's, a scanner, digital still and
video cameras, and their own voice to create their Digital Stories.




4. Equipment


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Digital Stories - samples created by Grade 7 and 8 students, Banting Middle School, Spring and Fall, 2005, and Winter 2006.

Historica Minutes - Historica Minutes use a combination of moving images and photographs. There are samples of student made minutes, as well.

Pier 21 - Pier 21 (now a museum) in Halifax, was the entry point for many immigrants to Canada. You can find some interesting examples of combining artifacts with stories (not all stories include images).

Culture and Traditions Storytelling - Welcome to the Aboriginal Cultures and Traditions Storytelling web site. Storytelling has always been a vital part of the cultural identity of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. Stories were told to teach lessons, give warnings, and keep history alive. - Kent Manning, the author of the site, writes "When "done correctly" [in my humble opionion], as I am sure you understand, Digital Storytelling is powerful, compelling and on the emotional side. I'd like to think that the digital stories we create are meaningful and heartfelt and not just "slide shows of family photos".  The wonderment is in the way the written narrative matches and enhances the photos that are on the screen."

Digital Stories - This website was designed by District 219, Niles Township, Skokie, Illinois, to showcase digital stories told by students and their teachers.

Family Stories - Everyone has family and every family has stories; find here find samples of Digital Family Stories and how to create them.

DigiTales - This site is an excellent source of examples, information about tools for digital storytelling as well as some ideas about evaluation of students' work.

Fraynework - Digital Storytelling, Australian multimedia developers with expertise in education, documentary videos, CD-ROMs, books, and web sites. Giving unheard voices a chance to tell their stories.

Capture Wales - This is a site where you can watch RealMedia movies made and edited by people at digital storytelling workshops around Wales.

BBC-Telling Lives - Digital Storytelling? Everyone has a story to tell. Technology now allows anyone to tell it in their own way. Digital stories are short films made by people like you using computers and personal photographs.

An Immigrant's Journey - From the Apple iLife site: Eighth grade students from Lincolnshire, Illinois wrote journal entries for a fictional, yet historically-accurate, immigrant in 1907, and then made a movie using narration, music, and photographs. This resulted in a powerful rendering of the immigration experience.

Math Story - From the Apple iLife site: Do you know how to wrap a pyramid? Working in small groups, middle school students from Westport, Connecticut, created short movies focused on solving and explaining a "real-world" math problem.

Digital Storytelling in the Scott County Schools - One school district worked extensively on digital story. Here you can get information and view the stories from a variety of students and faculty.

Digital Storytelling - presented by the Teachers in the Scott County Schools, Georgetown, Kentucky

Telling Their Stories - at this site experience the power of digital storytelling by listening to the interviews of six Holocaust survivors and five liberators of the concentration camps of World War II.

Beyond the Fire: Teen Experiences with War - its a collection of digital stories created by teenagers who live in war torn countries. When you  login, you receive a virtual passport and after you 'visit' each country and listen to the stories, your passport gets stamped.  Well worth a visit! Recommended by MaryJanne Yusyp, BCEd Online.

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Apple's iMovie site - iMovie specific art, sounds, downloadable plug ins and assorted other resources are available here.

Apple's iDVD site - iDVD has always made it easy to create beautifully designed DVDs. With the Magic iDVD feature, all you have to do is choose a theme and select the movies and photos you want to include. iDVD then automatically creates a complete DVD, unified in design from start to finish, including menu screens, movies, chapter menus and slideshows.

Apple's iPhoto - is a software application made by Apple Inc. exclusively for the Mac OS X operating system. It is part of the iLife suite of applications and comes bundled with every new Macintosh computer. iPhoto can import, organize, edit, print and share digital photos.

Microsoft's Movie Maker site - Movie Maker tutorials, tips and tricks and downloads available from Microsoft.

Microsoft Photo Story 3 for Windows - Bring your digital photos to life and experience your photos in amazing new ways.

Telling Stories Basic - from Broderbund software, requires Windows® 2000 or XP, is perfect for birthdays, weddings, graduations, anniversaries, retirement and any other event or celebration where people like to reminisce.


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Storyboard Resources

The Complete Eejit's Guide to Movie Making - This site focuses more on storyboarding from the artist's perspective. It has some excellent tips on how to indicate camera directions from within your storyboard.

Storyboard Organizer - This is a simple step-by-step approach to creating a storyboard.

StoryBoard Pro - Atomic Learning's FREE Video StoryBoard Pro is designed to give teachers, students, and home movie makers a tool to plan ahead when creating video projects.

StoryBoard Artist Studio - is the leading, top tier application for digital storyboards for professionals in film, video and media creation.

Storyboard Software - here find a comprehensive list of Storyboard Software.

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December 14, 2005 , Digital Storytelling Finds It's Place in the Classroom by David Brear. View this webcast recording and learn how to help your students tell their story now, digitally. Click here to go to it.


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The Art of Digital Storytelling - You need to register (no charge) to read this e-book which is an excellent resource. It provides links to many examples done by students of all ages.

Digital Storytelling Workshop Links - Dr. Barrett's Digital stories made by herself or her family

Workshop Agenda - Preparation for Digital Storytelling Workshop, Individual Preparation

Digital Storytelling - We all have stories about the events, people and places in our lives. The ACMI, Australian Center for the Moving Image, digital storytelling program lets you tell your own story.

Digital Story Telling - This site covers what the Fayette County Public Schools system went through in their Digital Story Telling Pilot program.

Digital Pictures Speak - Images add another dimension to powerful communication and can be used as the centrepiece for story-telling. Fact or fiction, mystery or narrative, technology tools are used to enhance, build and publish. In this hands-on workshop, you will be introduced to techniques of story-telling with images and words.

Kids Vid - the digital side of storytelling requires some training. This site provides the tools needed to create a video production in the classroom.

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Please note that some of the following sample assignments, require Adobe Acrobat Reader !!

Grade 9, Digital Story Telling Project, click on the link to download the sample. ( This is a MS Word document )

Grade 8, Digital Story Project, click on the link to download the sample.

Script Template, Digital Story Project, click on the link to download the sample.

Multimedia Storytelling - this project gives students the opportunity to strengthen their communication skills by exploring multimedia storytelling.


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Ppt Presentations

Digital Story Telling Presentation - Power Point presentation for the workshop.

Digital Story Telling - through PowerPoint


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visitors since October 10, 2005 !! Come again, thanks !!


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