This practice can be used to elevate traditional narrative writing into the digital age. Digital storytelling almost literally allows written works to become three-dimensional. Before, information and stories could only recall or quote information through writing, but now, students can utilize source material of almost all types, information from written work, radio, and television, to elevate their works. Research papers become mini-documentaries. Profiles become the visualized life story.
It really is incredible and engaging. Students not only utilize digital tools naturally as a part of acquiring information, they are alive and a part of information collection in new ways. If you are not already using at least one example of digital storytelling in your classroom. Make this the year that changes.
The Center for Digital Storytelling outlines seven key elements for digital storytelling:
Just like a written narrative, each story has a purpose, a direction for which it is told, and an intended audience. All work together to guide and shape the story.
This is your “hook” and the stylistic theme that is wrapped up at the end of a traditional written work.
The pathos of the story, be it the humanity of the issue, the characterization of the characters, or something else. This is what holds your audience there.
As with all good stories, some may be lovely, but not perfect. Economy speaks to the need for everything in the story to push the narrative forward.
The escalation and deescalation of tension is what drives the story, just as putting your foot on and off the gas would. This is an important thing to consider. It can be controlled through music, speaking pace, image length, and other elements.
Another intricate part of traditional writing that is elevated through a digital story, is voice. Now, writers do not need to worry whether a reader will understand or mistake the tone, instead they can convey it themselves. It helps with both the pacing and the pathos.
This is the element that can really tip the scales for digital storytelling. Adding compelling music gives it an edge that traditional writing can’t compete with.
On top of all of these, skills of traditional literacy are still equally as reinforced, as long as the project is structured correctly. Educators should ensure that as always, students run through the traditional writing process.
The Digital Storytelling Process by Danielle Strohmeyer
Great Resources for Digital Storytelling: