I can’t pinpoint the exact time I heard the phrase “digital storytelling.” I want to say it three or four years ago, although, I am sure it has been around for longer than that. As usual, I was probably just late to the game. Once I heard someone explain it to me, I was like, “Oh. ANOTHER person (or group of people) took what MANY educators are already doing with their students and have given it a name- and are making money off of it. These people are GENIUS!” I remember back in the day (I swear- I am not as old as someone who says “back in the day” should be) prior to 1:1 anything, before iPads, my group of students were working to create a visual of their choice, after we brainstormed some ideas, to help show that they learned about Ancient Greece. Many students chose to use Photo Story to share their learning. The process involved checking out point and shoot digital cameras as well as bargaining with the other teacher who had the flip camera checked out so that my class could use the flip camera instead of hers. She was gracious enough with some creative scheduling so we could use the equipment! The students’ final pieces made them digital storytellers! I wish I was wise enough back then to have backed up my files so I could share them here. It would be so interesting to see how digital storytelling has changed between then and now (and how much easier devices like tablets has made this for teachers AND students).

I love Kathy Schrock and the wealth of knowledge and resources that she shares. She has a great collection of examples of digital storytelling as well as various tools that can be used. Some of the examples she shared reminded me of a video (has nothing to do with I saw when YouTube was becoming the YouTube that we know today. You’re welcome.

Digital storytelling is a FANTASTIC way for students to “[combine] narrative with digital content, including images, sound, and video, to create a short movie, typically with a strong emotional component,” as stated in 7 Things You Should Know About Digital Storytelling. I love that the writer of the article included the point that ANYONE can do this- one does not need an extensive background to create a digital story. One of the great things about iPads is that it is so easy to use to create digital stories.

“Digital stories let students express themselves not only with their own words but also in their own voices, fostering a sense of individuality and of “owning” their creations. At the same time, digital stories give students an opportunity to experiment with self-representation—telling a story that highlights specific characteristics or events—a key part of establishing their identity…”

In my role, I am fortunate enough to be in many different classrooms and witness various teaching styles. I help support in a grade four class with a student who has wonderful ideas, but getting those ideas down on paper proves to be a challenge. However, his ability to create a digital story connected to those ideas is no problem for him. He is actually a rockstar at it! I can tell and see a difference in his confidence when it comes to writing vs. creating his story digitally.