Didactical Tool: Digital Storytelling

Authors: Danijela Birt, Jadranka Brkić-Vejmelka, Ines Cvitković Kalanjoš
Tags: Digital Inclusion Digital Literacy Digital Worldmaking

Digital storytelling is combining the art of telling stories with a variety of digital multimedia such as images, audio, and video. Digital stories bring together a mixture of digital graphics, text, recorded audio narration, video, and music/sound to tell stories on a specific topic. The recommended duration is between 2 to 10 minutes; so digital stories are rather short.

What is it about?

When presented in a simple and interesting way, digital stories can be useful when teaching, especially when discussing delicate topics, so that students can understand and/or identify with them. Digital storytelling is useful during formal and informal learning and teaching. Storytelling implies recognising the value of storytelling as a form of art. As there are certain steps to follow when telling a story (read in the Concept on Storytelling), try to follow them when you give instructions to your students.

Try it out

Example 1:
For students having problems with public speaking or performing in public, digital story telling can be a way for them to overcome these difficulties. Students can express their attitudes, problems, feelings, or knowledge in such a way because the story being told, using a digital tool (https://bookcreator.com, https://www.canva.com/create/ebooks/, https://www.artsteps.com), is speaking for them. For example, when discussing delicate topics such as: any kind of violation, discrimination, racism, etc.

  • Do you find that digital storytelling encourages and strengthens the individual presenting the information?
  • How suitable do you find digital story telling when addressing delicate topics?
  • What other aspects do you find important in digital storytelling?

Example 2:
Students can create a digital story, with help from their teachers (in case the topic is rather challenging). Together they can explore and learn about the topic, and can extract the most important and interesting facts, conclusions, and attitudes. This work involves collaboration between students while teachers are coordinators. Topics could be: homeland, patriotism, tolerance, acceptance, or sustainable development.

  • What topics do you find challenging and suitable for this kind of work on digital storytelling?
  • Can you tell the difference between digital and classical storytelling?

Example 3:
Students are formed into groups. Each group creates a digital story on the same topic. Each student has a certain role in their group: writer, director, storyteller, and screenwriter. Topics could vary: globalisation, multuculturalisam, or pandemics, while the same story could be told in very different ways. In the process of making a digital story, different digital tools are used.

  • Do you have possibilities to use such a way of telling a story?
  • What technical problems might you face during the process of making a story?
  • How do you find your students’ abilities when creating digital materials?

Tell your colleagues

You can share digital stories, using various digital tools, with your colleagues all over the world. The examples you create while working with your students can be shared with colleagues in your collective, but we would like to suggest that you share it via the Digital Inclusion Map on the Website of DigitClue. The D.I. Map is a map of the world, you can enter your own projects, materials, ideas, and leave comments on digital literacy in your own country.

Thinking further

While using digital storytelling, you’ll probably discover some delicate or challenging topics. Will it affect your personal view about topics you are teaching? Think about using different digital tools when creating digital stories and discuss with your students options/possibilities when using it while making a story. Put yourself in the position of storyteller and create your own story.