Digital Storytelling

Digital Storytelling

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:

1. Point of View:

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.

2. Dramatic Question:

This is your “hook” and the stylistic theme that is wrapped up at the end of a traditional written work.

3. Emotional Content:

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.

4. Economy:

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.

5. Pacing:

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.

6. Voice:

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.

7. The Soundtrack:

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


  1. Research/Notetaking/Interview/Compile Information: This will include video, sound, etc., alongside just for script writing. (This should require a proposal step early in the process to ensure students are on the right track.)
  2. Outline: Students will have to compile all of their sources and information in an organized matter that makes sense. They will have to determine what needs to be a scripted component and what will be conveyed through other forms of media.
  3. First “written” drafting of the Script & Storyboarding: Here is where students compile the information in a usable way for the first time for editing. This does not yet require the creation of the video yet. Here is where educators or peers can check the organization, language, story plot, etc, just as they would in a traditional story. See the storyboard example below.
  4. Written Edits: Before students compile the actual video, they must finish their perfect first drafts.
  5. Video Drafting: Now on the phase two of the project, the creating of the actual video. Students will splice together, edit, record voiceovers, and all the other good stuff that can be included in a digital story.
  6. Video Edits: Feedback can be given once again, just like with a written paper. Students may need at this point to go and film more or change the written script.
  7. PUBLISH: Students have created a finished video project that integrates both digital and traditional literacy.


Great Resources for Digital Storytelling:

The Center for Digital Storytelling

Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling 

Seven Things You Should Know About Digital Storytelling 

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