Posts Tagged ‘digital storytelling’

Digital Storytelling: Balancing Content and Skill

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

A thought-provoking digital storytelling (DST) session at last year’s THATcamp inspired me to teach a graduate Digital Storytelling class this spring at Mason (thanks to all the participants at last year’s session!).

Teaching digital storytelling raises a number of pedagogical and technical issues, so in addition to the excellent questions posed by Kenneth Warren (Collecting the Digital Story: Omeka and the New Media Narrative), I would be interested in discussing the balance between teaching/evaluating content and technical skill in digital storytelling classes or classes that include a digital storytelling component.

What is digital storytelling (including a wide range from documentary format to interactive narrative development)? What happens when we tell a story digitally? How does digital storytelling work in the classroom? Does it change learning? How can it be used to teach/help students learn content in an engaging way? How can a one-semester course effectively teach digital storytelling, including technical skills and storytelling skills, while keeping a strong emphasis on content, research, historical accuracy? [or is the question “can a one-semester course. . . ?]

My goal for the class was to keep a strong focus on content, research, and narrative, but (of course) ideally without sacrificing technical quality. In addition, students came to the class with a range of skills (experienced filmmaker to absolute novice)–a challenge in many ways, but it also led to more collaboration and collegiality than I’ve seen in most graduate classes.

I started the course with many unanswered questions and ended the course with at least as many new questions. I look forward to the conversation!


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