As I’ve mentioned, I was able to raise some funds to purchase some Flip camcorders and digital cameras for my classes to use. Though I’ve had students create some VoiceThread presentations using simple storyboards, and many of my students have created very simple online slideshows, I thought I should spend some time learning a bit about digital storytelling. Our new equipment creates some great opportunities to create more complex “learning objects” and, though them, more ways for students to develop their English and higher-order thinking skills.
I knew of some resources, and contacted others who are far more experienced than me in this venue, in order to come-up with another “The Best…” list.
The main criteria for a resource to be included on this list was that it was practical and accessible to someone just exploring the topic.
Here are my picks for The Best Digital Storytelling Resources:
Digital Storytelling Part 1 from the great Langwitches blog is a good place to start. She includes examples, background on the importance of storytelling cultures, and practical advice. It’s worth reading the other posts in her series, too.
Here’s a good short description on Özge Karaoğlu’s blog about why she used digital storytelling with her English Language Learner students.
The rest of this post will be filled with resources on how to make digital stories that can range in difficulty. But I really like this simple project from Educational Snippets — it doesn’t get much easier than what she did.
Here’s a list of Digital Storytelling resources from the Kenton County Schools. One of the things I like about this site is that there are some very simple examples of worksheets (like storyboards) that can be printed-out and used for the simplest and most complicated story you want to make.
What’s My Story: Using Drama and Technology For Storytelling is a good Slideshare presentation showing the steps behind making a good digital story.
Jason Ohler has some good hand-outs on digital storytelling.
Langwitches has a great tutorial on how to use Voice Thread, a popular digital storytelling tool. There’s also a Voice Thread For Education wiki filled with examples and advice. This page will lead you to a simple PowerPoint presentation on how to set-up and create a Voice Thread.
Mathew Needleman has two excellent resources on video storytelling — an online presentation he’s created and several other tutorials. I think a Digital Storytelling Blog Carnival that Mathew hosted is also helpful.
Kevin suggests a site showing films by teacher George Mayo’s students is worth a look.
Kids Vid is a source of information on telling stories with video in the classroom.
Alan Levine at CogDogBlog has developed a nice page of online storytelling resources. He tells the same story about his dog using many of the tools. Looking at the many versions really gives you an excellent idea of the differences between the applications.
Storytelling Creed is a good SlideShare presentation on Digital Storytelling.
The Educational Uses Of Digital Storytelling is filled with excellent resources.
I’m quite impressed with this online interactive storyboarding tutorial. It comes from “Learning and Teaching in Scotland.” The English is very accessible to ELL’s.
This resources a simple list of the best topics for a digital story.
I think this article on Advanced Thinking In Digital Storytelling is a useful one.
An Educator’s Guide To VoiceThread is a simple step-by-step PDF document showing how to use the great VoiceThread application.
It’s amazing how much great storytelling advice Scott Simon from National Public Radio fits into a three-and-a-half minute video.
Here are 63 printable Storyboard templates.
What All Good Stories Have In Common from Free Range Thinking
How to Tell a Story that Feels Your Own in 30 Seconds from Network For Good
Take this test — Can You Spot A Story?
On the Go- Mobile Storytelling is from Langwitches.
Storyboarding: Pre-Writing Activity is also from Langwitches.
The Narrative in the Neurons is by Wray Herbert.
The last #ELT Chat on Twitter was focused on storytelling, and its written summary is filled with great ideas and links.
The Power of Stories comes from Psychology .
Seven Habits of Highly Effective Storytellers some very thoughtful insights.
Telling science stories…wait, what’s a “story”? is a useful article from Scientific American.
I’ve mentioned Storify on this blog in passing as an easy way to display “tweets.” In fact, I did just that in my post, Using Storify For “Poverty Matters When…”, when I displayed multiple tweets that began with that phrase. I had thought its use was pretty limited.
Recently, though, Storify announced some major changes, and its now one of the easiest tools to use to create a multimedia digital story. You can search the web for just about anything, including images, tweets, webpages, photos and videos, and use their “drag-and-drop” interface to add your own text and create a story (or a collection of labeled images, or just about anything). It’s really become quite versatile, and it would be difficult to find a tool that’s easier to use. You can also read this post from Read Write Web other uses for the tool.
Whether Humble or Glorious: Telling Stories of Human History Through Objects is a very nice lesson plan from The New York Times Learning Network.
The Art of Listening is a very interesting New York Times column. Here are a few lines that particularly struck me:
“That’s not a good way to die — before you’ve told the end of your story.”
It struck me as I listened to those two men that a truer nomination for our species than Homo sapiens might be Homo narrans, the storytelling person. What differentiates us from animals is the fact that we can listen to other people’s dreams, fears, joys, sorrows, desires and defeats — and they in turn can listen to ours.
Many people make the mistake of confusing information with knowledge. They are not the same thing. Knowledge involves the interpretation of information. Knowledge involves listening.
Lincoln Tells a Story is from The New York Times.
Your Storytelling Brain is from The Big Think.
Meet Me Halfway is from Scientific American.
Story Collider: Where Science is a Story Well Told is from The New York Times.
Richard Byrne has developed a collection of ten digital storytelling projects.
Why Storytellers Lie is from The Atlantic.
Storytelling advice from Joss Whedon, Stephen King, Salman Rushdie, Doris Lessing, Scott Simon, Damon Lindelof and a machine is a collection of videos offering good…storytelling advice.
Students Remember More When They Tell Stories is a short piece I wrote.
“Stories are about 22 times more memorable than facts alone”
This fun video (probably not appropriate for younger learners) clearly communicates the power of a good story:
Pixar story rules (one version) comes from The Pixar Touch.
Six Characteristics of Highly Persuasive Stories is from Neuromarketing.
Careful around the campfire: Five types of leadership storytelling and when to use each is from Internal Monologue.
Can Storytelling Be Taught? is by Annie Murphy Paul.
You might also find these previous “The Best…” lists particularly helpful with digital storytelling:
The Best Ways For Students To Create Online Animations
The Best Ways To Make Comic Strips Online
The Best New Sites Students Should Use With Supervision
The Best Ways For Students To Create Online Videos (Using Someone Else’s Content)
The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows
In addition, I include several excellent storytelling apps in the The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me list.
Here’s a great new infographic version of Pixar’s rules for storytelling that was co-designed by TED Talks.
The Moral of the Story appeared in The New York Times.
3 Golden Rules Of Successful Storytelling In The Social Era is from Forbes.
12 Deadly Storytelling Mistakes Many Speakers Make is from Craig Valentine.
The Yellow Test is the headline for a New York Times column that offers great writing advice.
I would strongly encourage reading the entire piece, but here’s an excerpt:
Carrie is a professor at a university. She had asked me how to turn an area of her expertise, secondary school education, into writing that the general public would find rewarding and enjoyable. That’s when I began talking about scenes, using her accident as an example of how to approach her work. Almost all creative nonfiction, essays or books, are, fundamentally, collections of small stories — or scenes — that together make one big story.
There’s been a lot of research published about the effectiveness of stories. Readers remember information longer — and are more likely to be persuaded by ideas and opinions — when it’s presented to them in scenes. This is why so many TV commercials are narrative. Think of parents’ angsting over how to pay for their children’s college tuition in the Gerber Life College Plan ad, or the famous “I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up” spot, campy, but so successful that the phrase itself has been copyrighted by the sponsor.
I told Carrie about the exercise I assign my students: “The Yellow Test.” You pick up a book by your favorite nonfiction writer or leaf through a best seller that made a big impact. Take a yellow highlighter and color in the scenes — that is, the places with characters and action, where things happen. I promise: You will find you have highlighted a major portion of the text.
Story telling: the language teacher’s oldest technique is by Mario Rinvolucri and appeared on the British Council website.
The Teaching English — British Council Facebook page has two excellent posts related to storytelling. I’m adding them to
The Best Digital (& Non-Digital) Storytelling Resources. Be sure to read the comments.
As always, feedback is welcome.