According to the The Digital Storytelling Association, “Digital Storytelling is the modern expression of the ancient art of storytelling. Throughout history, storytelling has been used to share knowledge, wisdom, and values. Stories have taken many different forms. Stories have been adapted to each successive medium that has emerged, from the circle of the campfire to the silver screen, and now the computer screen.”
Storytelling and learning go hand-in-hand because the process of creating a story requires the student to reflect upon and understand their topic, and then convey the information back to others; this in-turn can strengthen learning. Also since each story provides a record of the students’ thinking on the subject matter, an instructor can use the story in the assessment of student progress toward course learning goals.
There are many tools that can be used to create a digital story. Story creation can be achieved utilizing tools as simple as Microsoft Word or a blog, to the more complex tools like Adobe Premiere for digital video or Flash for interactive animations. Most of these digital tools make it easier to critique and edit stories, even for authors who aren’t very tech savvy. Each author can construct multi-leveled stories that are conveyed through a combination of hyperlinks, words, images, and sounds. Utilizing a digital storytelling assignments in the class can increases engagement and still be as involved as any other more traditional assignment.
TeachLive and The Suicide Risk Assessment Game are two examples of projects developed here at Purdue that utilize a high level of digital storytelling. Both of these projects were developed in conjunction with faculty and use storytelling to guide the students through the game requiring the utilization of critical thinking and problem solving skills.