What Does Digital Storytelling “Do”?

In addition to defining what we mean by digital storytelling, it seems like it would be useful to discuss what DS “does” — that is, what it produces, both in terms of physical/digital product and how it augments and shapes its creators and viewers.

Here’s one example of what I’m talking about:

I believe everyone has a compelling story to tell, whether in an academic or personal context. However, the key to making one’s story come alive is through its ability to be shared. Digital storytelling allows for this.

Personally, I use the process as a vehicle for reflective practice, especially when I want to share an event or inspirational moment with others. Producing written narratives through the affordance of new media both amplifies and archives one’s experience.

This is from Kenneth Warren, a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Education, in response to a question about how he’s using DS now (he made a video about his aunt’s struggle to be accepted for graduate study at UVa as a student). ┬áHis focus on the way digital networked media amplify experience through sharing is just one of an array of valuable outcomes of the process of producing a digital story, and I imagine you can think of many others.

Share them with us in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “What Does Digital Storytelling “Do”?

  1. One DS function is synthesis, or integration. The act of creating a digital story necessarily involves selection and aggregation from media, from non digital materials (scanning, capture, etc), but especially the mental process of arranging a story.

    Summoning up a topic hauls in all kinds of memories and thoughts, triggering questions and digressions. Then driving that mental state into a DS form, with its specifically digital contours and breathtakingly short time limit, compels integration, cutting, paraphrasing, combining, revising: synthesis, integration.

  2. Excellent point, and synthesis was always my favorite from Bloom’s Taxonomy. ;) Truett and I see this often with our students returning from study abroad: many have real trouble identifying a single thread from their time abroad upon which to focus, but assigning them a digital story serves as a lens to do just that (even though I’ve mixed the metaphors a bit).

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