I have come to realize that digital storytelling can be a powerful tool. Whether the story is just for fun, to sell a product, or to provide instruction, if composed properly it is very effective. When considering digital stories as a means of communication it is important to understand some of the basics.
The article written by Bernard R. Robin titled The Educational Uses of digital storytelling does a nice job at establishing definitions and a basic framework for composing digital stories. I agree with Robin when he states, “digital storytelling is not a new concept.” Digital storytelling is familiar, especially when used to inform about a particular product, but the use of digital storytelling as a means to educate in the classroom is a newer application.
I appreciate the classification on digital stories into three types. This helps build understanding and enforces the seven elements of digital storytelling. The author defines the three types beginning with personal narratives.
“One of the most popular reasons for producing digital stories is to create a personal narrative.”
This is true and, and as the author points out, personal narratives are great for delivering and educating varying perspectives. Being introduced to, and understanding others perspectives, is a valuable learning tool. I often use a perspectives activity in the facilitated courses I develop for my company’s Leadership Development. An understanding of perspectives adds to a participant’s emotional intelligence and fosters a foundation allowing for better collaboration.
The author then goes on to introduce the two other types of digital stories; digital stories that examine historical events, and stories which inform or instruct. I have personally experienced stories that present historical evidence. One that stands out was about Martin Luther King Jr. and was part of a perspective activity. This activity was a module for diversity training provided by MGM Resorts International. The use of digital storytelling to share individual perspectives is most certainly a great activity.
The author continues with Digital Storytelling as an instructional learning tool and enforcing literacy skills. I personally work with adult learners who are high performers within a corporate setting, but I strongly feel that no matter the audience; K-12, millennials, or more senior learners, could all benefit from digital storytelling as long as the activity is set up correctly. As the author points out,
“One of the major questions that teachers, administrators and technology support staff ask is: do the students have access to the technology they need to create digital stories?”
That is a very real concern for all audiences. I also agree with the additional concerns raised by the author. It is difficult to accurately gauge participant’s comfort level with technology. Available time is also difficult to gauge because of all the variables, including the previously mentioned concern.
Overall, the use of digital storytelling in learning environments is viewed positively in my perspective. It enables working with different types of stories to create a powerful experience that is personal and memorable. There is also a very attractive opportunity for participants to empower themselves by defining the learning experience.