DIGITAL STORYTELLING

I attended a conference where I heard Bernajean Porter talk about digital storytelling. I showed my students a sample of some digital stories from her website. They were hooked.

Deborah Berger, Cycle One Teacher


Digital storytelling combines written, oral and media skills and brings the narrative to life. Whether personal narratives, stories based in fact or completely imagined, digital storytelling is an exciting media production for students of all ages. Using a computer drawing program and PowerPoint, Cycle One students in Deborah Berger’s class learned how stories are crafted as they developed a narrative told through digital storytelling.


IMMERSION

  • Have students view and discuss digital stories. Information about digital storytelling and some examples can be found in this article: Digital Storytelling in the Primary Classroom.

  • Students share their thinking about the stories they watch and discuss some key questions.

  • Help the students pull out criteria for an effective digital story such as the creativity, pacing, voice, emotion.

  • At the end of the exploration ask the students to think about what they would like to try in their own digital stories.

PREPRODUCTION

Before producing their digital story on the computer the students :

  • brainstorm ideas for their own story

  • think about the way they want to craft the story e.g. the purpose of the story and how they will tell the story for their audience

  • use the writing process to write the script that will become the audio for the story

  • get feedback from peers and teacher, e.g. Does my story make sense? Will my reader understand it? Is it clear? Does the story build up to a satisfying ending?

  • practice reading the story aloud with fluency and expression


When students are satisfied with their story, they create a storyboard that includes a title page, a sketch of the visuals, and the text that will be spoken for each slide.

PRODUCTION

  • Using the storyboard as a guide, students can now illustrate their stories with photographs, original drawings scanned onto the computer, or a computer drawing program.

  • Create a desktop file for each student to save illustrations.

  • Number the illustrations in sequence so they can be easily imported into PowerPoint.

  • Teach the students how to use PowerPoint and have them:

  • open PowerPoint and give the project a name

  • import the images in sequence, designating a new page in the presentation

  • add any written text that will appear on the slide

  • build in transitions from one slide to the next

  • add animation or other effects.

  • use the record sound tool and an external mic to record the narration for each slide

  • save the project frequently

POSTPRODUCTION

  • Students share their digital stories and provide feedback. They reflect on what they think they did well, and what they would do differently another time.

  • Celebrate accomplishments by creating a digital compilation of the stories for students to share with their families or post them on a class website.

In the final stage of this multimedia project, the students learned about the importance of reading with fluency and expression by recording themselves narrating their stories. The excitement of hearing their own voices emerging from their computers created an atmosphere of joy and inspired these young students as authors and artists. This authentic learning experience had a high degree of engagement and motivation. These 6-year-old students reflected on what they were doing, began to think critically about their work and provided their peers with feedback. They were passionate about their published texts and felt pride when their "DigiTales" premiered.

Deborah Berger

Click here to see an example of a digital story created by a grade 1 student

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