#CampusTech – Digital Storytelling for Education: The State of the Art

Session Description: This workshop explores what digital storytelling has to offer higher education. Bryan Alexander, author of The New Digital Storytelling: Creating Narratives with New Media, will examine the various technologies currently in use — including storytelling platforms like social media and gaming. You will analyze how digital storytelling works in practice, with examination of questions of pedagogy, curricular integration, support strategies and institutional commitments.

Speaker: Bryan Alexander


  • 1990s Digital storytelling was framed, Web 1.0 storytelling, browser-focused, connected with offline, analog content (textbooks), evanescent, hypertext, multimedia
  • What is a good story? Classics like: Orsen Wells – The War of the Worlds
  • Old and new tools: iMovie, HyperCard, GoPro, PowToons, Storify, HTML, Flickr, Instagram, podcasting, blogging, wikis, audio, video, Twitter, Facebook, Photoshop, GIMP, iPhoto, maps, comics life, audacity, GarageBand, video editors (MovieMaker, Premiere, WeVideo, FinalCutPro, iMove), VoiceThread, and more!
  • K12 seems to be more active in this space.
  • Storytelling in marketing, governments, journalism, education and how can this be used best in IT
  • Applications: first year seminars, orientations, digital studio, faculty professional development, student projects, communications
  • Center for Digital Storytelling – Example
  • The New Digital Storytelling Book
  • What is storytelling?
  • Exposition > Rising Action > Climax > Falling Action > Denouement – The Freytag
  • Joseph Campbell – The hero with a thousand faces. The heros journey, he begins with a call to greatness, inspiration, crisis, and then triumph.
  • Stories about people vs persons.
  • Stories about someone important, about a important event, or about what one does.
  • Stories about mystery, the last. Man on Earth sat alone in a room, there was a knock on the door…
  • Clarify and illuminate is a purpose but with some mystery keeps attention – makes you want to go on – a journey, a purpose.
  • What isn’t storytelling? Data
  • Stories have people, purpose, 
  • A list definition, for a given audience, a story is a sequence of content, anchored on a problem, which engages that audience with emotion and meaning.
  • Digital storytelling, new technologies new ways of telling a story. 
  • Chain letters was a start of small stories that continued, Dreaming Methods was a flash based story, http://pinepoint.nfb.ca tell stories as a small town
  • The New York Times: Snow Fall The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek – multimedia rich stories
  • Ted’s Caving Journal – fiction journal using early hypertext
  • Digital Storytelling Roots: effective, storytelling, not about the tech per se, personal connection, NITLE varient: non-personal narratives, campus focus
  • PBS Storycorps

What role could storytelling play in connecting and engaging distance learning students?

  • Educational projects are growing, community, curricula support. EDUCAUSE article
  • Stories help thinking differently: repurpose 
  • Storytelling / Socialmedia / Gaming
  • Six Word Stories – stories in 6 words
  • Smalltownnoir.com – Real short stories, small town
  • Pepysdiary.com – 17th century diary
  • Facebook page about a boy who died in WWII.  History comes alive
  • SCP Corporation – fake corporation about anomolies 
  • UCF online podcast – offers an online and blended learning
  • Serial – investigative journalism nonfiction podcast
  • More about podcasts via a blog post by Bryan Alexander
  • Wikistorytelling – all about penguins 
  • Flickr stories in 5 photos – complete stories in photos
  • Lots of stories in gaming, what can education learn from this field?
  • Key starting questions: who produces?, personal or impersonal stories? , who supports?
  • Workflow and process: preparation (curricular integration, pedagogical, integration into syllabus, platform selections, support strategy determination)
  • During the class: explanation, projects, assessment, group presentation 
  • Project structure, storycenter model: 1) determine story idea, 2) writing voiceover, 3) recording, 4) video editor, 5) assembling other media, 6) edit edit edit edit, 7) publication
  • Work with students and video in stages and increase complexity over time, assignments by media, interwoven through other class work
  • Afterwards… archiving, selection of exemplary work, lessons learned > notes for next time
  • Curricular integration: disciplinary (journalism, writing, anthropology), writing programs, gen ed, job skills, media literacy, student life/support
  • Pedagogical principles: constructivism, student voice, media defamiliarization, outreach to media drenched generation, job skills
  • Peer support, IT (media services, academic computing), library (space, staff, copyright, archiving), collaboration off campus?, YOU?
  • Scope is critical, determine milestones, build in risk (minimum 15% – something can go wrong)
  • Assessment: process vs final product, peer and self assssment, asses in stages, summarize or constructivist, draw on per-existing strategies, generate rubrics

What stories can you tell about the interaction of teaching, learning, and technology?


One thought on “#CampusTech – Digital Storytelling for Education: The State of the Art

  1. Eric, thank you so much for this rich report on our workshop!

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