'Storytelling @ Thurdays' photo (c) 2009, Zhao ! - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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 venue, in order to come-up with another “The Best…” list.

The main criteria for a resource to be included on 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.

The rest of post will be filled with resources on how to make digital stories that can range in difficulty. But I really like simple project from Educational Snippets — it doesn’t get much easier than what she did.

What’s My Story: Using Drama and Technology For Storytelling
is a good Slideshare presentation showing the steps behind making a good digital story.

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. page will lead you to a simple PowerPoint presentation on how to set-up and create a Voice Thread.

Kevin Hodgson has a good post titled When Stories Go Digital. He also recommends Profiles In Practice,a site developed by the National Writing Project and Pearson on digital storytelling.

Storytelling Creed is a good SlideShare presentation on Digital Storytelling.

Making A Case For Digital Storytelling is an article by David Jakes that appeared in Tech & Learning. Here is another link to all of David’s great digital storytelling resources.

The Educational Uses Of Digital Storytelling is filled with excellent resources.

Kevin Hodgson has recently written two very useful post about digital storytelling — Using a Complex Science Concept for Writing and Storyboards with Digital Science Picture Books.

I think article on Advanced Thinking In Digital Storytelling is a useful one.

Lee Kolbert has created a very nice slide presentation on how to use VoiceThread.

Here are 63 printable Storyboard templates.

Digital Storytelling Tools for Educators is the title of a free downloadable book by Silvia Tolisano, author of the popular Langwitches blog.

Take test — Can You Spot A Story?

Creating Digital Stories

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.

8 Simple Storytelling Tips For Business Owners


Telling science stories…wait, what’s a “story”?
is a useful article from Scientific American.


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.

“Stories are about 22 times more memorable than facts alone”

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.

The Psychology of Storytelling: 10 Proven Ways to Create Better Stories (and Why Stories Sell)

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. 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.

The Science of Storytelling: Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains is from LifeHacker.

The Power Of Stories

Two Quotes Of The Day On Storytelling (Plus A Slideshare Presentation)

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.

What listening to a story does to our brains is from Buffer.

Here’s a great infographic on storytelling.


via Anecdote

Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling is an excellent and short post at The Harvard Business Review about the research related to storytelling.

Quote Of The Day: The Importance Of Storytelling

Quote Of The Day: Communicate Vision By “Using Image Based Words”

Quote Of The Day: “How To Tell A Great Story”

Telling Stories In Class Like Abraham Lincoln

You can find the written transcript to this video, a TEDx Talk, here:


I watched Tom Hanks’ new movie, News of the World, and it is a great one on the value of storytelling. Here are two videos from it that highlight that message:

New Study Reinforces Value Of Teaching Through Stories

As always, feedback is welcome.

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