I continue to be pleasantly surprised as I search for digital stories. In this story, Galveston, Hurricanes and OZ, were presented with an act of discovery that leads to learning about a historical event and that leads us to present day and the arts. This digital story produced by a University of Houston student uses many elements of digital storytelling.

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The story is engaging and begins with a student’s mission to create a digital story. There are considerations to make when deciding on an appropriate subject for this story. This introduction establishes the narrator as our pilot and defines the path on which we are about to embark. The narration is well composed and rehearsed. This is important to establish trust with the participant.

There are images that fade in and out throughout the story. There are simple effects such as zoom and pan, while subtle, work well with the narration. There are also sound effects added to bring a sense of depth. Sometimes the sound is faint when there are birds chirping as images of the graveyard are presented. Later, the sound effect is front and center when the Galveston Hurricane is presented. Another nice touch is the use of a second voice/narrator who speaks for a witness of the Hurricane, King Vidor.

Overall, this story is very effective in how this journey begins and where we finally end up. The introduction and conclusion are tied together nicely and address the subject of Art and History. There is a lot of ground covered in this story. The Galveston Hurricane of 1900, The Vidor Family, Hollywood, and The Arts are all brought together like characters in a play. I really appreciate how the story concludes with recognizing how art was composed out of the death of so many trees and through the care given to the historical Vidor home. This is a worthwhile digital story which informs us of little known historical facts.

Using Jason Ohler’s assessment traits I have chosen to focus on Story, Project Planning, and Research. This is a very well done digital story and it shows in the engagement created through narrations, images, and sound effects. There is little room for improvement, but the addition of music in the background would be nice to fill in some of the space absent from sound effects.

Story How well did the story work? This trait can address structure, engagement, character transformation or any of the other qualities of story discussed in Part II. In fact, an entire rubric can be devoted to evaluating the quality The story works well. The intro is clear and inviting, the body of the presentation is meaningful and addresses the different aspects of the story to create cohesiveness and the conclusion ties us back to the intro.
Project Planning Is there evidence of solid planning, in the form of story maps, scripts, storyboards, etc.? There appears to be solid planning evidenced by the rehearsed narration, the timing and the use of special audio effects.
Research Was the student’s project well researched and documented? This story is supported by research and credit is given to all the resources used.
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