What Does Digital Storytelling Look Like in the Classroom?
The process of creating a digital story in the classroom follows steps similar to creating any large-scale technology project.
Digital storytelling is a way for students to think critically and apply knowledge about a curriculum topic, not learn it for the first time. The first step is to help them gain the foundational knowledge necessary to tell a compelling story.
Students need to see and hear what a great story looks like. Share examples created by students, as well as professional storytellers like Ken Burns. Make sure that students understand your expectations and the criteria for successful performance.
Building a well-crafted digital story takes time. To conserve valuable classroom time and build important collaborative skills, have students work in teams to design, plan, and develop their stories. Assign roles to students based on their strengths and interests, and work with the teams to ensure a uniform narrative voice.
The process of creating a digital story moves from bigger to smaller, wider to narrower. Brainstorming helps to open up the project to ALL the possibilities. Begin the process by brainstorming as many ideas about the content as possible. Then brainstorm ways to best share that content and refine the project‘s scope.
Develop the Vision
Brainstorming generates many ideas, but every good story needs a focus. Determine what the audience should know and feel as a result of watching the story. Then, decide the best way to tell the story to achieve this goal.
Write the Narrative
Digital storytelling is about telling a personal story or sharing a personal perspective on an event or process. The narrative should makes the voice of the storyteller clear. Each word should be carefully chosen to evoke an image in the mind of the viewer.
Create a Storyboard
The storyboard is the map that demonstrates how the vision will be achieved. The storyboard should demonstrate how every image, media element, and effect will support the narrative. Developing a storyboard helps ensure that the narrative is focused, organised, and concise, and will prompt additional edits in the text component of the story.
Gather Resources and Process Media
Collect your photographs and scan them, search the Internet for images to support your ideas, use a paint or imaging program to create original art. If you are using Frames, you can create your own illustrations using the drawing tools. Write, record, or locate sound effects and music that help set the emotional tone of the story.
Build the Story
Often the key to a compelling story is not the content, but the way in which the story is told. Flashy features and transition effects should support the content of the story, not overwhelm it. Combine the media resources, record the narrative, and adjust the timing and effects to create a powerful digital story. Save the story in a format you can use online or incorporate into a presentation.
Share the Story
Your story needs to be told! Share it with small groups or to a larger audience in an auditorium. Televise your story on closed-circuit television or on your school’s YouTube or other social media channel. Publish it to the web and visit news groups and blogs to encourage others to view it.
Digital storytelling pushes students beyond creating slide shows or presentations about a topic, requiring them to incorporate their opinions and perspectives. The powerful combination of student voice and technology-rich product motivates students to perform high-level work and engages them in a process that helps make learning in the classroom relevant and exciting.