What is a Digital Story?

Before taking a Traditional and Digital Storytelling class, I had no idea what a digital story was or how it was made. Since the digital story format seems to be fairly new, I thought I might share some of what I’ve learned.

Digital storytelling began as a way for ordinary people to share their own personal stories using today’s technology—basically, producing their own small-scale movie using software easily available in today’s world. This is what is so great about digital storytelling—almost anyone can make their own digital story!

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And digital storytelling is evolving to become more inclusive of things other than merely personal stories. For the digital story in my class project, I chose to adapt Bulfinch’s Mythology to tell the tale of The Norse Creation Myth, but other uses include educational curriculum (in which teachers encourage students to make their own digital stories), plus uses in the humanities, journalism, social issues, and archiving, and the list goes on. Since digital storytelling is still evolving, the uses are as varied as a person’s imagination.

How do you make a digital story? It’s actually fairly simple. First, write a script—include all sounds, images, as well as the narrative audio track you intend to lay down. Then, gather all the needed pieces and parts—such as sound effects, pictures, video, and voiceover audio recording—and upload them into the computer you intend to use to cut your story. Third, edit together all those pieces and parts in the way you intend them to be viewed using the production software of your choice—iMovie and Windows Movie Maker are perhaps the most common, but because I’m a Linux nerd, I used OpenShot Video Editor. Finally, once you get your digital story exactly the way you want it, upload to the internet on your choice of websites—YouTube is probably the most popular, but there are others, such as Vimeo, Metacafe, Yahoo! Screen . . . you get the picture. Or, there’s nothing that says you have to share your digital story if you don’t want to . . . but isn’t it so much fun to share?

And, speaking of sharing, here’s my first digital story—The Norse Creation Myth. I created a brand new YouTube channel called “The Digital Storyteller” on which I plan to add future digital stories as I make them. Digital Stories really are a lot of fun! Enjoy!

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