Digital Storytelling Resource Guide

WHAT ARE DIGITAL STORIES? Digital stories are short stories created using mixed media. Though there are many ways you can tell a digital story, the most common format is a short video (1 to 4 minutes) that combines photographs, illustrations, videos, text and a spoken recording or captions. Here are a few examples:

WHY TELL DIGITAL STORIES? There are many reasons to create a digital story.

For yourself: You can create a story to remember a major event in your life, to document a time you made an important decision or to reflect upon a lesson learned.

For others: Maybe someone is facing a difficult situation and could learn from your experience? Maybe they just need to know they are not alone. Your story can also tell about something you've accomplished and teach others about how they too could achieve their goals.

With others: Stories are a great way to break the ice when you are starting on a new group project. Ask team members to create a story telling the group why they are there, what they hope the group will accomplish, and what skills they bring to the team.

steps for creating a story

1. DECIDE ON A STORY

  • What is your topic?
  • How/where does your story start?
  • What is the key moment or turning point of your story? (Was there a point where you had to make a decision or take an action?)
  • How does your story end? What is the resolution? (Keep in mind that some stories are unfinished)
  • Who are the characters in your story?
  • What is the mood or tone of your story?
  • What emotions are in your story?
  • Who is your story for? Who do you want to see it?

2. CREATE A STORYBOARD

Some people like to write out their story, others prefer to sketch. One strategy that many find useful is to create a storyboard - divide a piece of paper into squares like a cartoon strip and write or sketch the storyline. Remember - you don’t have to start at the beginning - start with the part of the story that is clearest in your mind and work from there.

3. ILLUSTRATE YOUR STORY

Time to start thinking about how you are going to illustrate your story - you can use photographs, drawings, computer animations, videos, written words, collages…. the options are endless. Look at some of the sample stories provided for ideas. Keep returning to your storyboard to make sure you have something to illustrate each element of your story. Keep in mind the tone or emotions that you are trying to convey in each frame.

4. PUT YOUR STORY TOGETHER

How you put your story together will really depend on the types of media you decided to use. If you are using mostly digital photos and a bit of written text then PowerPoint works well. iMovie is great for video clips or for combining videos with photos. Here are a few ideas and tips for tools you can use:

If you decide to draw or collage: Scan your drawings or take a photo with a digital camera. See example:

To use images and written text: PowerPoint or Keynote work well to combine images and text. See example:

To use video: There are a number of video editing programs but iMovie works particularly well to combine video, photos and audio files. See example:

Tips for using PowerPoint:

  • Create your story using a different slide for each frame
  • You can add 'Animations' to your slides - for example, photos or text can be set to appear one at a time
  • Use 'Transitions' to set the timings on your slide show so that it plays through without you having to click to advance the slides
  • You can add an audio file to a PowerPoint when you 'save as a movie' - just use the advanced options to add 'background soundtrack'
  • IF YOU DO NOT USE ANIMATIONS - you can 'save as a movie' (under 'File')
  • IF YOU DO USE ANIMATIONS - because animations are not saved in the movie format in PowerPoint the simplest way to convert a file with animations into movie format is to use QuickTime Player to do a screen recording. Start QuickTime, play your slide show, stop slide show, stop QuickTime and then 'trim' the ends of the new movie file in QuickTime.

Tips for Voice Recording:

  • There are many voice recording apps but Recorder Plus is a free app for iPads and iPhones that is simple to use. It allows you to make a recording and then share it via email, iTunes sync, or over a wireless networks.
  • Other options include the voice recording feature in Quicktime Player.
  • If your voice recording is a single track, it is simple to add it in PowerPoint as described above.
  • If you have multiple voice recordings or what to split/trim the audio track then try using iMovie.

share your story!

The final step is to share your story - post it on YouTube, host a mini film festival at your school or share it with family, friends, teachers, coaches, teammates...

Questions? Need Assistance? Want to find out more about digital storytelling?

Email me at a.bundon@lboro.ac.uk


about this page

This resource was created by Andrea Bundon, a postdoctoral researcher at Loughborough University as part of research project entitled 'Are We Inspired Yet?: Digital Stories by Young People About Sport and Disability'. If you are a young person with a disability (or a parent, coach or educator) and want to tell your story about sport or physical activity, please contact me at a.bundon@lboro.ac.uk - I would love to hear your story! Find out more about my work at www.andreabundon.com

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