How Digital Storytelling Bolsters Literacy, Creativity

  • Everyone has a story to tell. Make it visual.

    Digital storytelling is a creative learning experience. With the proper multimedia tools it is a relatively new and novel way to bolster literacy and help students develop a wide range of intellectual, creative and critical-thinking skills.

    Let’s face it, reading a story to the class or giving a presentation can be daunting and downright scary. But adding digital media to the mix helps students tell a meaningful and often heartfelt story that combines a recorded narrative with images (still or moving), and music or other sounds. These short narratives encourage students to come out of their shells.

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    Why is digital storytelling important?

    Teaching in the digital age means there are many new concepts for teachers to absorb. Digital storytelling is one. But, like many new teaching concepts, it is important because it fosters a sense of individuality and gives students an opportunity to experiment with self-representation and establish their identity through their anecdotes.

    Merging writing and literature with technology is quickly gaining more ground in the educational field as many schools across the United States and around the globe are introducing the learning method.

    So far, the results have been promising in terms of student engagement and motivation, which is why more teachers are exploring the medium. While research has proven that that literature enhances connectivity in the brain and improves brain function, so too does digital storytelling.

    Telling a digital story

    Digital stories are planned. Like all stories they have a beginning, a middle and an end.

    The story itself is the most important ingredient. But using digital tools can bring the story to life by adding visual and auditory enhancements. Merging a good story with even simple tech enhancements creates a memorable product.

    As with traditional storytelling, most digital stories focus on a specific topic and contain a particular point of view. However, as the term implies, digital stories usually contain some mixture of computer-based images, text, recorded audio narration, video clips, and/or music.

    The topics used in digital storytelling range from personal tales to the recounting of historical events, from exploring life in one’s own community to the search for life in other corners of the universe, and literally, everything in between.

    Digital Stories are “told”. They are not fact-filled reports. They don’t have bullet-points, fancy bells and whistles or links to anywhere. They are told in first-person or second-person voices. They are after all, stories.

    Content can come in many categories:

    • Biographical (Ken Burns type) Informational/Explanatory, Narrative
    • Student-Created Tutorials – Informational/Explanatory
    • Public Service Announcements – Informational/Explanatory & Argument
    • Focus on Research and Informational Text
    • Historical Docudramas – Informational/Explanatory, Narrative

    Learn digital storytelling

    As a teacher it is important to understand the benefits of digital storytelling and its place in specific Common Core curriculum areas.

    Through a professional development course, a teacher can learn about available digital tools that can be used to create storytelling projects. You can learn to plan, create and publish a digital storytelling project and show students how to develop their own projects.