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Digital Storytelling: Easy yet powerful

July 9, 2010

I have really enjoyed preparing materials and collecting thoughts for my digital storytelling project this week.  I particularly like how multimedia formats (Voice, Video, photos,) are combined and used together to create a compelling story that are much more involving than traditional storytelling.  I felt this article by Leslie Rule gave a good overview of this new narrative medium:

Rule, L. Digital Storytelling: Never Has Storytelling Been So Easy or So Powerful. Knowledge Quest v. 38 no. 4 (March/April 2010) p. 56-7

Apparently Ms. Rule, a producing supervisor at the Center for Digital Media at San Francisco’s PBS station KQED, was one of the pioneers of digital storytelling and was responsible for its original definition: the modern expression of the ancient art of storytelling.   The combination of images, music, narrative and voice in creating a memorable and often very personal story can create a powerful impact on the viewer, and what strikes me the most was how one can immediately identify with the person whom story was being told by this digital medium.  I just viewed the digital story (very well done too, I must say) by our fellow classmate Ka Yee Chiu who, like me, was also born in Hong Kong (although I came to the US much later than she did), and I was both fascinated and impressed by how she was able to “condense” so much of her life story in that brief 3 minutes and how much I was able to absorb it all, thanks to the seamless weaving of the photos, the narratives, and her calm and steady voiceover.  After viewing it, I felt I’ve known a lot about her and I could see how close she is with her family members through the various photos.

I agree with Rule that “most people have a story that needs to be told…with the tools being so prevalent and so easy to use, there is little reason not to try.”  In retrospect, this is one assignment that I really wished I could have  more time to do.  The reality of working fulltime and the once-every-four-year must see event (for me anyway) that is the World Cup means that I wouldn’t be able to devote as much of my own time towards fine-tuning my own digital story and making it as presentable and polished as Ka Yee’s.    This may be the most “personal” assignment we’ll ever get to work on in this all-online program, and I’m glad we have a chance to do it.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Antonia Ruiz-Koffman permalink
    July 10, 2010 9:50 am

    Agreed re: time. Somehow I have the feeling that taking this class in the summer vs. a longer semester makes no difference, since during the longer semester I’d be taking at least another course along with it and would probably have even less time at my disposal. All I can hope for is a passing familiarity (or vague recognition) of each element for the future … forget expertise, mastery, or even just barely passing. It figures that in this program overall we have 2 days to look at the really fascinating stuff, when most of the rest of the classes consist of required outdated b.s.

  2. July 10, 2010 11:08 am

    I really enjoyed this week. I agree with you that it is a very personal experience creating a digital story for this class. For myself, I was able to go around my hometown and visit some of my old schools that I attended or spots that were important to me growing up. On you article, I like that definition of digital story telling by Ms. Rule when she says that digital storytelling is the modern expression of the ancient art of storytelling. Everyone has a right to be heard, so I was glad to see and learn about all the tools that we have at our disposal to have our voices heard.

  3. kychiu54 permalink
    July 10, 2010 1:05 pm

    Thanks for the comments on my digital story! I did find it much harder to include all the information I wanted to in it, but I tried my best. I would make it easier if we had all of our pictures in digital format, because you can then just drag and drop them. Most of the personal photos I have in there are only from the past few years, so the ones from Japan were ones from a trip 4 years ago. I do have pictures of myself when I wen for the first time.

    I have to say this was a interesting process on using tools that are so readily available to us on our computers.

  4. herrzrbo permalink
    July 10, 2010 2:31 pm

    I’ll just concur that this week’s assignment was a great experience. At first I thought making a movie, even a three minute one, would be a daunting task. I was involved in a school TV program during my undergraduate days and it would take us an entire week, if not more, to make a 3 minute film. Once I got into it this week and started making my film I found it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I imagined it would, and it turned out to be quite fun!

    And yeah, Ka Yee’s video was really well done. Makes me want to go back and add more to mine!

  5. clementmunns permalink
    July 12, 2010 11:25 am


    Very thoughtful commentary and I’ll add that your story is quite compelling as well. I am always amazed by the talent, credentials and accomplishments of my students. Without doubt this assignment is my favorite to teach as I get to make a connection with my students whom I never got to meet or see.


  6. July 13, 2010 7:47 pm

    Thanks Derek!

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