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Digital Storytelling

Page history last edited by Theresa 14 years, 5 months ago


Resources for Digital Storytelling Projects


DigiTales- The site created by Bernajean Porter, with resources for digital storytelling, many of which are linked below 


Center for Digital Storytelling- Based in Berkeley, with international digital storytelling resources


Digital Storytelling Cookbook- By Joe Lambert, from the Center for Digital Storytelling 


The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling- Site from University of Houston, with examples, guidelines, tips, and other resources, many of which are linked below


The DAOW of Storytelling- by Jason Ohler, another look at the elements of digital storytelling; a good lunchtime read!


What is a Digital Story?


7 Things You Should Know About Digital Storytelling- An overview of the pros and cons of digital storytelling



Island Movies- These movies were part of a contest for students in Hawaii. Many are tied to science standards. You will need to right click on the movie title and choose "Save Target As" in order to view them.


Nice example using clip art to have students write a creative story



Should You Be Afraid of Snakes?- An 8 year old shares his knowledge


Sweatshops- A very powerful and persuasive movie, created by a high school student, about the connection between big retailers and sweatshops.


iCan- A collection of digital stories from the same project that created "Sweatshops."


A Young Man's First Battle-  A 5th grade docu-drama about the Civil War.


Granny Smith- A third grader brings to life the world of an apple, with a thick southern accent.


Sanford Middle School Student Projects- Click on the teacher's name to get to the student projects. These were tied to a partnership with the zoo. You will need to Right Click and choose Save Target As to download and view the movies. Also, you may not be able to view them on a Mac because they are in Windows Media Player format.


Number the Stars- A synopsis of the book, created by a teacher, but could be easily adapted to be done by students. Very powerful use of sound.


DigiTales StoryKeeper's Gallery- A collection of digital stories created by teachers and students. If you click on the StoryKeeper's Gallery link, you can pull up different genres adn themes. Many of the examples above came from this site.


Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling- Click on the "Examples" link to see many examples.


"Every brain is a little bit different"- there are no images to go with this, but it is a powerful nugget where a child shares with her mother her feelings about dyslexia. This could be a great model for getting kids talking about something they struggle with.


Digital Stories- A site with a collection of high school digital story examples


Some less effective stories- sometimes it helps to show students what to avoid!


Middle School Stories- Many of these have a good message, but the delivery could be better.

How can I tie Digital Storytelling to my standards?


TILT- NET-S and Digital Storytelling- This site shows the NET-S for students that tie into digital storytelling 


Alignment to Standards- examples of how digital storytelling is aligned to national standards and 21st Century Skills


California State Standards- Click on the link below for your subject area to access the online version of the content standards.


English Language Arts - The Listening and Speaking standards are always a good place to start, as well as the Writing standards. Think about the genres that are the focus of your grade level, and see if you can tie your project to that genre. For example, 3rd grade looks at descriptive writing and personal narratives, as well as comprehending "classic fairy tales, myths, folktales, legends, and fables from around the world." One project might be to have students write and dramatize a version of a classic fairytale, or to have students write a personal narrative about a memorable experience, and turn it into a digital story with pictures of illustrations, or even re-enactment. 


History and Social Science- These topics are ripe for docu-dramas and historical fiction writing. Tell the tale of a day in the life of someone from history, anywhere from the first people to live on North America up to imagining the life of a recent President. Dramatize the conflict between two opposing parties, such as the Native Americans and the European explorers. World history provides numerous opportunites to take a field trip back in time to ancient civilizations. Government classes present the opportunity to introduce persuasive writing by having students take a stance on a controversial topic, and support their stance through a movie.


Science- Digital storytelling CAN be tied to science! It can be used as a great final project to demonstrate deep understanding of a topic. You have to know the human body pretty well to take a trip through the digestive system as someone's hamburger from lunch. Students can use digital storytelling to take a trip underwater, into the earth, or to outer space. Digital storytelling can also be a vehicle for connecting science to real life. Students can take a position on a controversial topic and use a movie to make their point, such a the impact of plastic bags and water bottles on the environment.


Math- You can bring digital storytelling into the math curriculum as well. Check out these ideas for digital storytelling in math. Students can tell stories of how they used math outside of school. They can talk to adults about how they use math at work and at home. Take the idea of measuring angles outside of class, and have students demonstrate using protractors around school. Present students with challenging or real-life problems and have them digitize how they solved them. Have students create math stories (combining math and language arts, especially in the lower grades. Use books such as Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi, by Cindy Neuschwander, or Grandfather Tang's Story, by Ann Tompert, as models.)


English Language Development- Digital storytelling can be an effective way to get ELD students involved in class. Many adult ESL classes use digital storytelling as a way to have students practice English and encourage them to share powerful life experiences, such as what led them to come to the U.S., and the struggles they have faced here. Why not do the same with younger students, through the use of drawings or pictures? Student narration can be done in small, manageable chunks, and can be practiced and recorded until the student is happy with the results. This is much less intimidating than having to stand in front of your classmates and having to stumble through. ELD students could also use digital storytelling as a final product for a project where writing a long paper may be too taxing, but using images and limited narration can convey the main ideas. 

What are the elements of a good story?

It's up to you as the teacher to decide which approach works best for you and your students. Sometimes it may be a mix of elements from both of these approaches, or even a set of elements you find elsewhere. Sometimes you may want to focus on just a few elements in a story.


Take Six: Elements of a Good Digital Story- Bernajean Porter's elements for a good story 


7 Elements of Digital Storytelling- From the Center for Digital Storytelling; a walk through their 7 elements of a good story. Click here for a brief version of the elements.  


Graphic Representation of the 7 Elements- An Inspiration map of the elements and their purposes; a little busy, but might reach some learners. From a school in Hawaii.  

Phases of a Digital Storytelling project

Different teachers take different approaches to the digital storytelling process. Some like to brainstorm, gather images and music, and then write; others like to get the story written before finding the images and music. Choose the path that works best for you and your students.


Capturing Stories, Capturing Lives: An Introduction to Digital Storytelling- Paper by David Jakes, outlines his steps to digital storytelling 


Seven Steps to Create a DigiTales Story- From Bernajean Porter; her 7 steps for creating a story, with explanations of each step.



Get the process started with a prompt. This can be reading a book that will be the basis of the movies, asking a question, showing an example of a movie, or anything that gets students thinking about what they want to say. You may have a brainstorming or pre-writing process already in place in your classroom. Use what works for you!



Some teachers like to have students write the whole story, and then create a script version. Some prefer to go straight to a script, and others like to use the story itself as the script. It really depends on your purpose, your audience, and your students. 


As with any writing project, there should be multiple opportunities for reading and revising based on feedback. DigiTales has an outline for the Peer Review Process


This phase is a good time to introduce any rubric you may be using to evaluate the projects. Having a rubric is a great way to give students a clear understanding of the expectations and all of the elements of the project. They can refer to the rubric throughout the process as a guide to improving their product.


Examples of digital storytelling rubrics

UH Rubric- A good starting place.


Digital Media Scoring Guide- From DigiTales; choose the genre, choose the elements you want to evaluate, and you get a guide.


Digital Storytelling Rubric- From Virginia Hoke, in Oregon (I believe,) used with high school students.


Skip Va's Rubric- Very detailed. 


Another example- Can't find the source! 



What is storyboarding?- explanation and example from UH. 


Walk Through Storyboarding- From Berkeley's journalism school; and explanation of why and how to create a storyboard.


Practice storyboarding by creating a storyboard of a scene from a favorite movie. 


Storyboard Resources


For making a large storyboard- cut and glue thse to a large piece of paper- #1   #2 (Thanks, Virginia Hoke!)

Another version of the same pieces, in Microspft Publisher format.


Bernajean Porter's Planning Pieces

     Image List Template

     Music List Template

     Storyboarding Template


UH Storyboard


Two storyboards from Skip Va- Top View and Side View


Storyboard from the Center for Digital Storytelling


Gathering Resources

Be organized! Keep your resources in one folder so you can easily find everything. Model the process for the students so they understand how to organize their resources. We'll talk more about places to locate resources in a bit. The Image and Movie List Templates can also help in orgnization.



How you make the movie depends on the software you're using. But there are some tips for making the process easier.

1. Find a quiet place for recording the sound. This allows students to focus on their script without worrying about what their friends are doing behind them.



Sharing and Evaluation

This is when to refer back to the rubrics from above. Some teachers have students evaluate their own work, have peers provide feedback with the rubric, and then provide their own evaluation via the rubric. Think about your grade level and what your students can do in a constructive manner. Peer feedback may require modeling and practice.


Sharing can take many forms. Try a movie night (or day) and invite parents to watch. Post movies on a wiki so that all students can access them. The websites you viewed earlier with movies are examples of the ways to display and share movies.



Resources for Organizing the Process with Students 

Checklist from Seminole County Public Schools 


Digital Storytelling Implementation Guide from Seminole County Public Schools 



Copyright- Resources for Educators


Fair Use Checklist- A quick list to help you decide if you are within Fair Use guidelines


Code of Best Practices in Fair Use- A more detailed explanation of what qualifies as Fair Use in education


Code of Best Practices in Fair Use Video


7 Things You Should Know About Creative Commons- Creative Commons is becoming more prevalent, and here's an overview of it 


Copyright and Fair Use Guidelines for Teachers- A chart with an overview of copyright rules in education. 


Copyright and Digital Storytelling- An organized examination of how copyright plays a role in digital storytelling, and how to stay legal.


Educator's Guide to Copyright and Fair Use- Five part article from Education World with more detail about copyright and classrooms


New Rules of Copyright- Article from Tech and Learning magazine


Multimedia Resources


Ed1Stop- This is a great place to access copyright friendly resources for school projects, such as music from Soundzabound and images from Pics4Learning, TCM, and AP. Just be sure to credit your sources adn follow the copyright guidelines for each site. 


Free Sound Effects- Free sound effects for educational use 


Animal/Nature Sounds- OK for school use



Project Ideas


Create a movie in the style of the Common Craft videos (i.e. Wikis in Plain English.) Check out this blog post and podcast from a teacher who did it.


Documentaries and Docu-Dramas- explanation and ideas from DigiTales.


Telling personal stories through a vehicle- "Walk in My Shoes"- Students begin with an image of a pair of their shoes, and can take it in many different directions. It could be a day in their life, or the story of a memorable experience, or the saga of their life. It builds off the idea of not judging someon until you've walked a mile in someone else's shoes.


Reading about Digital Storytelling


Digital Storytelling Finds its Place in the Classroom- Article from Tom Banaszewski about the triumphs and trials of digital storytelling in class.


How to Use Digital Storytelling in Your Classroom- Edutopia article with tips


The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling-

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