Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Why I Love Digital Storytelling

I am going to try and kill three birds with one stone. Or rather, do three pieces of homework with a single blog post.

Because everything is connected. I might be making a generalisation here, but I believe everything we do on the internet these days boils down to digital storytelling.

Let's look at it this way: we spend hours on the internet blogging, tweeting, posting images and audio files. We talk to each other and we listen to each other. We tell each other stories.

Week 3 in Multiliteracies was about digital storytelling. And Week 4 in Digital Storytelling is the Grand Finale of the course - the point where we actually get the chance to tell our story.

Where does Teacher Challenge come in? Well, Challenge Number 6 was about adding multimedia to your blog. Multimedia were compared to the nerves of your blog, the way images were compared to the eyes of the blog.

I have to confess that I was deliberately stalling with my homework both in Multiliteracies and in Digital Storytelling so that I could wait for the time that I had some stories of my own to share.

When we are talking about adding multimedia to your blog, what we are really talking about is digital stories. They can be in different formats: video, audio, slideshows, cartoons. Multimedia can serve the same purpose images do. They can illustrate the post, or inspire you to write it. They could be the centre of the post. You can try out an application and write a post explaining how or why you used it. The multimedia shared in your blog do not have to be created by you, but it feels great if they are.

Is digital storytelling different from ordinary storytelling? If so, how?

Digital storytelling uses multimedia. Stories are told in different ways - you can use images, or video, or words, or music, or any combination of the above. There are so many tools to choose from. In his 50+ Ways to Tell a Digital Story Alan Levine told the same story using 50 different tools!

Digital stories are short and succinct. Everyone attempting to write a digital story should bear in mind that the attention span of his or her readers is short. They land on your page, scan the text and they might or might not click on the multimedia. The shorter the story, the better your chances are. But then, your responsibility is to make the story really powerful with the little time you have.

Which brings me to another point: Digital stories are embeddable. Most of Levine's 50+ stories are embedded right there in his wiki. Digital stories can be shared in blogs, wikis, on Twitter and Facebook. If your friends like them, they might share them further.

Digital stories can be written by one person or a group of people.

Digital stories are multicultural and digital storytelling is truly democratic. It gives power to everyone to express their talent.

It seems that whole new genres are being born almost daily and there are probably thousands of ways you can tell your story.

I chose two. First I decided to bravely read a poem of mine, so I started looking for tools that linked audio to a single image. I tried out three, but liked Fotobabble best (really easy to use, good sound quality) and I am going to share the Fotobabble version of my poem here:

Then, I decided to learn how to use Prezi. I had tried once before and it seemed too difficult. This time I watched all their tutorials and it actually isn't difficult at all. I chose another poem and started copy-pasting it into Prezi

Prezi can turn plain text into beautiful images (a bit like Wordle), which gives it great potential for publishing 'digital poetry'. I am not very gifted for visual arts (even photography is difficult for me), so I felt not having to worry about images was great.

My poem is called Stop Drilling. It has nothing to do with practicing boring grammar in class:) You see, I live in a flat and two years ago one of my neighbours decided to redecorate his flat. He kept drilling and knocking down walls. Finally, I learnt how to sleep through the noise, but the silence would always wake me up. The poem got completely out of control. It rebelled on me and decided to turn itself into something completely different. Time you people saw my dark side:

Keep hitting the Play button to read on.

I believe digital storytelling is something I might devote more of my time to in the future. I am even toying with the idea of starting another blog, just for poetry. What do you think?

In the meantime, I am packing my bags. I am going to a beautiful mountain with my family and we will be away for a week. I will have to press the Pause button on this blog and on all my workshops, but I will continue where I stopped as soon as I am back.

Your comments are very important to me. I won't be able to respond until I return, but I'll get to you as soon as I can.

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