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March 29, 2008

Digital Storytelling

Sight Words from vanessa on Vimeo.

One thing I did not include in my recent Web 2.0 entry was digital storytelling - I was saving the best for last! Digital storytelling incorporates a variety of multimedia such as audio narration, music, video, and still images to tell a story. See my example above.

Digital storytelling has taken the educational world by storm, due in part to the power it has to engage and motivate the learner. Digital storytelling can also be used by any age group from pre-k to college level. Young children can be involved in the making of a digital story in a variety of ways, such as taking photographs with a digital camera, acting out scenes, drawing pictures and scanning the images, and narrating the story with their own words. When the students are involved in the creation of the digital story it becomes very meaningful to them and, thus, a very effective teaching tool.

Digital storytelling is only one example in a vast array of Web 2.0 tools available to teachers in the classroom today, and it is one that my students enjoy a great deal. Whenever I tell them we are going to make a “movie” they are on their best behavior because they are highly motivated to participate. Photographing our sight word story above took about 30 minutes, start to finish, but they were engaged the entire time, putting on and taking off the vests, helping put the letters in order, and singing the songs. Now, each morning we start our day by viewing our sight word video; it’s an engaging and meaningful way to teach sight words.

Don’t know where to start? Here’s a quick breakdown of the steps for creating a digital story:

  • Surf the net looking for examples of digital stories others have created for inspiration
  • Download the Photo Story program for free
  • Take digital pictures
  • Upload pictures to your computer
  • Open Photo Story
  • Import Pictures
  • Edit Pictures
  • Remove Black Borders
  • Add Text to Pictures
  • Add Narration
  • Customize Motion
  • Add Music (if you’re not using narration)
  • Save for Further Editing
  • Save Final “Draft”

You can break the steps down over a series of days, taking pictures one day, importing and arranging photos the next, and adding narration on another. You can also create a Power Point, convert it, and then import it into Photo Story if you’re more comfortable with Power Point.

Our next project is going to be a re-telling of the classic story Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. The students will wear the same vests from the sight word story as they act out the scenes from the book and narrate it as well. The possibilities for digital storytelling are endless; you are only limited by your imagination.


Nice work! Have you ever heard of Vivian Paley? She is the pioneer of storytelling/storyacting. Putting her work into video format is amazing. Considering you put this great piece together, you would probably enjoy using her philosophies on video as well.You can find more onfo on her at Ball Sate.

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