“Digital Storytelling is the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories. As with traditional storytelling, most digital stories focus on a specific topic and contain a particular point of view. However, as the name implies, digital stories usually contain some mixture of computer-based images, text, recorded audio narration, video clips and/or music. Digital stories can vary in length, but most of the stories used in education typically last between two and ten minutes. The topics that are used in Digital Storytelling range from personal tales to the recounting of historical events, from exploring life in one’s own community to the search for life in other corners of the universe, and literally, everything in between.” – University of Houston
“Digital Storytelling is the modern
expression of the ancient art of storytelling.
Digital stories derive their power
by weaving images, music, narrative
& voice together, thereby giving deep dimension
and vivid color to characters, situations, experiences,
and insights.” - Leslie Rule, Center for Digital Storytelling
“The human species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories.” – Mary Catherine Bateson
Point of view
The point of view element focuses on both the story’s purpose and perspective of the author. The purpose of a story or narrative can be to inform the listener about an experience or an idea, and, depending on how its communicated, persuade them to change, engage them to discuss and inspire them to act.
A dramatic question
The dramatic question is the key theme that holds the listener’s attention. Often times, digital stories are most powerful when the problem, conflict or dilemma is introduced at the beginning of the narrative.
Each story or narrative should seek to include an aspect of emotional content that connects to its listeners’ feelings and evokes a response, whether visceral or subliminal.
The gift of your voice
The storyteller’s voice is a gift that must not be taken for granted, but rather recognized and nurtured as it is the vehicle that delivers the story’s message
The script should be a page to two pages.
Pacing is connected to the gift of your voice and sequence of images. A storyteller’s voice should be clear, inflect emotion, and have proper cadence. To achieve this, the entire narrative must be recorded in one take, from the first word to the last word. No interruptions or digital edits. Storytellers should pause for each comma, semi-colon and period that they see, while seeking adequate breath control when recording into the microphone.
Use of Music
Music should be used sparingly. Some digital stories do not need music.
Interested in learning how to use the software to create a digital story? Take a look at the tutorials here.
You can also learn more about digital storytelling and how these 7 elements are now evolving into what is known as the “7 steps”. Take a look at Joe Lambert’s new book here: Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives, Creating Community”