digital storytelling

Digital Storytelling

Intro & Overview

Digital storytelling is an exciting way to engage students in creative multimedia projects. Creating a digital story provides a wonderful opportunity to meet a variety of content area standards and opportunities for collaboration, creativity and innovation, research, critical thinking, and problem solving skills. Be sure you don't miss the two sub-pages of resources for: Apps (Adobe Voice, Sock Puppets, Tellagami and more) and Online Tools (Animoto, Storybird, Sway and more), and Audio Production (Audacity, SoundCloud, and more).


The Digital Storytelling process involves:

  • Preparing to tell your story

  • What is it going to be about?

  • What type of story are you telling?

  • What is your own connection to the story?

Below are some examples of how teachers are using the digital storytelling.

Student News Teams: Letting Students Tell The Stories

Who tells the stories about all the great things happening in your school? See how Michigan teachers Brad Wilson, Greg Vieau (Michigan Center High School, REMC 15), and Mary Phillips (Dudley STEM School, REMC 12E) organize student news teams in their schools to let students connect with their classmates and communities through news stories. (15 minutes)

Mary Phillips   Watch the video

Digital Storytelling: Explain It In Your Own Words

Having students explain something in their own words has moved beyond just paper and pencil. See how Karen Bosch, an art teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator, at Southfield Christian Schools allows her students to demonstrate what they understand using a wide variety of digital media sources. (15 minutes) 

Karen Bosch    Watch the video

Some Ideas for Topics

Topics can range from personal, fictional, documentaries, and everything in-between.

  1. Check out this list of Ideas for Digital Storytelling Across the Curriculum

  2. Visit the site Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling and view example stories and projects

10 elements of a digital story:

Adapted from (Center for Digital Story Telling) and Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling 

1. Point of View - what is your purpose? What is the goal?
2. Narrator's Point of View
3. A Dramatic Question - the action, tension, central desire...
4. Content or paradigm - inspirational, love, loneliness, friendship...
5. Gift of your voice - your audio recording (practice and relax, be conversational)
6. Pacing of your narrative
7. Power of your audio - music, sound effects, your own lyrical narration (watch copyright)
8. Images - the quality and type of media (video, animations, photos, graphics...)
9. Economy of the story detail - the sequence of events, images, text - (keep it simple)
10. Appropriate grammar and language usage

Resources for Planning, Hunting and Gathering

1. Organize

Magnifier  Make use of the resources covered previously, to build your story elements and create your outline.
3. Visual Learning, 5. Collaboration, 9. Be Legal and Fair, 10. Search Strategies and
13. Digital Images

2. Document Artifacts

Document Artifacts Label and save your multimedia elements into a folder for easy integration in your story.
Create a document with the source URL's and titles so you can give proper credit for each media element (video, photo, etc.)

3. Script and Storyboard

script Create a storyboard with your script and indicate the media element to be included at each step. PowerPoint is a great tool for story boarding because you can shuffle the slides and change the order so easily. 

Download and use this file (storyboard template.doc ) or use an online story boarding site such as GENERATOR.

For your assignment, please visit each of these pages and check out the resources, then choose the one(s) that will enhance a lesson or activity you teach and have fun creating your digital story:

1. Apps & Online Sites  (Animoto, Little Birdtales, Storybird, Sway... and Apps for Adobe Voice, Sock Puppets, Tellagami and much more)

2. Audio Production  (Audacity, Soundcloud, Google Drive Music Player)


Check out additional resources for Digital Storytelling

Learning Objectives

After completing this Thing, the educator will:

  • Know elements and processes of digital storytelling

  • Understand how to use digital storytelling media to engage students

  • Make connections with technology standards and best practice

  • Transfer the learning to professional practice by creating and sharing a digital story



21 Things Hands-On Activity and Assignment:

1. Prepare for your digital story: Identify a content area or lesson you will be teaching in the coming month. Use the elements of a digital story to guide your work. Suggested tools are found on the three linked sub-pages.

2. Create a short (max 3 minute) digital story that includes title, content, copyright information (learned about in Be Legal and Fair), and transitions with music (if available in the program you chose to use).

3. Post a link to or embed your digital story on your Face of the Classroom web site and your Digital Portfolio. Share some reflective thoughts about the use and process of digital storytelling.  (If you created a video and are unable to post a video to your classroom site, you could post it to School Tube, YouTube or another video hosting site, and link to it on your web page.)

4. Take the very short survey giving feedback for this Thing.


Addressing the ISTE Standards For Educators

1a. Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.
1c. Stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences.

2b. Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.
2c. Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, 
evaluation, curation and adoption of 
new digital resources and tools for learning.

3c. Mentor students in safe, legal and ethical practices with digital tools and the protection of intellectual rights and property.
3d. Model and promote management of personal data and digital identity and protect student data privacy.

4b. Collaborate and co-learn with students to discover and use new digital resources and diagnose and troubleshoot technology issues.
4c. Use collaborative tools to expand students' authentic, real-world learning experiences by engaging virtually with experts, teams and students, locally and globally.
4d. Demonstrate cultural competency when communicating with students, parents and colleagues and interact with them as co-collaborators in student learning.

5a. Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
5b. Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
5c. Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.

6a. Foster a culture where students take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes in both independent and group settings.
6c. Create learning opportunities that challenge students to use a design process and computational thinking to innovate and solve problems.
6d. Model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections.

7a. Provide alternative ways for students to demonstrate competency and reflect on their learning using technology.


1. Summarizing & Notetaking;
2. Non-linguistic Representations;
3. Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback;
4. Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers;
5. Identifying Similarities & Differences

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