What is digital storytelling?

The power of the story

Thanks to Alec Couros for this

Stories on TED

Digital Storytelling is the modern expression of the ancient art of storytelling. Digital stories derive their power by weaving images, music, narrative and voice together, thereby giving deep dimension and vivid color to characters, situations, experiences, and insights. Tell your story now digitally.
- Leslie Rule, Digital Storytelling Association

Daniel Meadows describes digital stories as "sonnets from the people" in which "photographs discover the talkies and the stories told assemble in the ether as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, a gaggle of invisible histories which, when viewed together, tell the bigger story of our time, the story that defines who we are"

**Digital Storytelling** requires competency in various literacies, for example, visual and critical literacies - reading visual clues (body language, camera perspective, symbolism, use of colour), sequencing, music.

We often forget that imagination is a force for the discovery of truth. The mind is not a passive thing, but a devouring flame, never in repose, always in action. ~ Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind

Digital storytelling invokes higher order thinking skills and connects content area knowledge, critical and creative thinking, and metacognition as described in Robert Marzano's Dimensions of Thinking

Why (Digital) Storytelling?

  • Storytelling is the expression of common cultural artefacts shared by individuals & societies with roots extending to the emergence of prehistoric humans.
  • Stories help us make sense of ourselves, our cultures and societies, in rich and meaningful ways.
  • Storytelling may give voice to individuals and groups who have been oppressed by a culture of literary dominance.
  • Stories will help us leave a rich legacy of expression for future generations.
  • Storytelling helps us reclaim our narratives from corporate and commercial interests.
  • Stories and the process of storytelling can be used as a rich means of assessment.
  • Storytelling proves to be an engaging alternative for many learners.

Is Digital Different?

  • Digital stories are inherently easy to replicate and share.
  • Digital stories are not constrained to text, but can make use of imagery, audio, video, and social affordances available in the medium.
  • Digital storytelling can foster innovation and creativity as there are unlimited genres & forms available for expression.

(by Dr Alec Couros on Open Thinking Wiki )

About digital storytelling

The power of stories Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)
Digistories - The world of digital storytelling
Centre for digital storytelling
Digitales : the art of telling digital stories
Tips for digital storytelling
The importance of digital literacy a conversation with Martin Scorsese (transcript here )
The digital narrative Martin Jorgensen
Digital storytelling connects youth across cultural divides

Using Media Responsibly

The creation of digital stories allow us to educate students in so many things, including the responsible use of images, sound and other intellectual property. This is an important part of digital citizenship.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but an overview of where you can find free-to-use media.

Creative Commons: An important site licensing your work under copyleft licenses, and finding other copyleft licensed work.
Creative Commons Australia
30 places to find Creative Commons media
Wikimedia Commons - freely usable media files
Flickr Search Flickr photos and check permissions
Flickr Creative Commons Images with CC licensing
Flick CC Tool for locating CC images on Flickr
Flickr Storm Another option for finding CC images
Photos8 Free photos and wallpapers - large collection of high resolution stock photos
ccMixter is a community music site featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commons where you can listen to, sample, mash-up, or interact with music in whatever way you want.
Free music archive
Soungle Royalty free sound effects
Soundsnap Sound effects and loops
SoundJay Sound effects and music tracks
Internet archive This library contains thousands of digital movies uploaded by Archive users which range from classic full-length films, to daily alternative news broadcasts, to cartoons and concerts
Open Video Project Shared digital video collection
Find more media here.

Digital storytelling in the classroom

Digital storytelling finds its place in the classroom
Educational expression - Creating connections through stories by Elena Aguilar
The educational uses of digital storytelling University of Houston
Integrating digital storytelling into the classroom Includes storyboarding links, tools,rubrics, resources, student examples.
Using digital storytelling in the ESL classroom
NSW Country Areas Program (CAP) - Digital Storytelling - look at the students examples of personal stories
Kelly Tenkley's Digital Storytelling Virtual Classroom A 5 weeks online class to engage imaginations and learn the power of story through technology driven activities

Other people's digital storytelling wikis

50 Web 2.0 ways to tell a story (Alan Levine) This is extremely comprehensive.
Digital storytelling by Alec Couros. Strongly recommended. Includes the why and how, resources, the process, examples, techniques, and more.
Digital storytelling by Wes Fryer
Jennifer Dorman's digital storytelling wiki
Web 2.0 storytelling wiki by Bryan Alexander and Alan Levine
Ms McGraw's excellent digital storytelling resources
Technology4kids (Digital Storytelling) by Shelly Terrell and Ozge Karaoglu
Instructional technology - digital storytelling (Wikibooks)
Digital storytelling Edutech wiki
Lib20 wiki: Resources - storytellingby Polly-Alida Farrington


Digital storytelling - helping students find their voice.
How to use digital storytelling in your classroom Jennifer New
Storytelling builds bridges between cultures Suzie Boss
7 things you should know about digital storytelling Educause
Web 2.0 storytelling : emergence of a new genre (Bryan Alexander and Alan Levine)


Storyteller is a blog with writing and discussion prompts
Assessment rubric for digital storytelling Rubistar
Digital Storytelling Resources using Live Binder
Digital resources and tools
Digital Storytelling Network (EDNA Groups)
International Children's Digital Library
The largest digital collections of children’s book, ICDL contains over 4,400 books in 54 languages representing 64 countries with applications for the iPhone and the new larger screen, iPad
The Digital Storytelling Cookbook (pdf)
7 Elements of digital storytelling
The 7 elements of storytelling (Unversity of Houston)
Multimedia storytelling Knight Digital Media Center
How-to-Guide - Digital Storytelling Tools for Teachers by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano (Langwitches) - 7MB PDF file


Photostory download to create digital stories with your photos. Watch this video How to create videos with Photo Story
Moviemaker download this video creating/editing software to create movies
Audacity download this sound editor to record, slice and mix audio

Web 2.0 Tools

Web 2.0 Cool Tools for Schools
Alan Levine tells the same story 50 times using different Web 2.0 tools
Xtranormal - text to movie. Create 3D movies. Follow this Tutorial for Xtranormal
Mixbook Create digital books that can be viewed online or printed
Photopeach - create a slideshow by adding photos, music and captions. Follow instructions here
We are using Photopeach to document the building of our new LRC

Pouring the slab on PhotoPeach

Animoto - creates a customised video by anaylysing your photos and music. It also allows you to highlight and add text to your photos. Create an Education account
StoryJumper - create your own online story. Click herehere to see how to use the Story Creator
Storybird - do your students like to tell stories? Storybird will help them to create short, visual stories. You can save them, share them and (soon) print them. Use Storybird's beautiful watercolor illustrations to tell your story.
(from AASL )

Tun-tun's sad day. on Storybird The Song of the Jungle. on Storybird

Zooburst - is a web-based digital storytelling tool that allows you to create your own 3D pop-up books. They will be adding a "class management" feature soon.

Fotobabble - create photos that talk! Add an image and record audio. A great way for students to share holidays, class excursions, book reviews, sing songs, recite poems, tell stories etc

Five Card Flickr - create a photo story using only images. You are dealt random images from Fickr that you put together to tell a story. Read the Integrating Technology into the Classroom blog to see how to use Five Card Flickr as a storytelling tool. Here is an example
Read this post in Brave New World about using Five Card Flickr in the classroom.

Vocaroo - a simple voice recording tool that students can use to share their stories. It can be embedded in blogs

ToonDoo - is an online comic strip creator. Students can create characters, single cartoons or whole books. It is worth thinking about subscribing to ToonDoo Spaces if you wish to create a secure and private environment for your school.

Jing Do you need to quickly snap a picture of your screen or record a video of an onscreen action? Jing is the solution; it's free software that adds visuals to your online conversations. Include it in an email, Website, or IM.

Picnik - online photo editing

Big Huge Labs - online photo editing
Lots more tools here.

Podbean - podcast hosting

Stage'D enables the creation of digital comics
100 digital storytelling tools for your digital selves + natives - this is part 2 of 4 similar posts in this blog

Examples of digital stories

Photobus - Examples of digital stories
Digital stories of immigration Culture Victoria
Digital stories vault Youth Central
Examples on Voicethread
Student digital stories

Rives tells a story of mixed emoticons - Who would have thought you could make a story from the symbols our students use to communicate?

Claymation uses stop-motion animation to bring clay or other inanimate objects to life.

ACMI - Video showcase features short films made in workshop programs - from movong personal stories to animated works made by kids

ACMI - Generator Program is a creative studio space where you can explore the moving image, be inspired, create your own moving image works and share your creations with the Generator community:


Smithteens Can you tell the story of your life in just six words?


Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)
Digital learning websites National Film and Sound Archive

SLAV Conference - Celebrations: An Eye for Literacy

The power of the story: Digital Storytelling presentation