Digital Storytelling Workshop with Bernajean Porter

20 Oct


Gather round the campfires as the ancient art of storytelling is being revived into an emerging communication mode called digital storytelling! Stories are as old as humans and more important than ever for our minds, spirits and human progress. Telling stories together about things that really matter has an extraordinary effect on people even more so when their digital storytelling is distributed quite literally to a world community through the World Wide Web. What an experience to guide a new generation into becoming 21st Century StoryKeepers™ knowing their personal narratives will endure for others long after the fires die down! By telling thoughtful stories, we clarify our own thinking, experiences and understandings in order to share it with others. Digital Storytelling has become a vehicle for mastering multiple 21st century skills considered essential for the modern workplace. Participants will be introduced to the joy, processes, elements of good storytelling, and technical tools, along with viewing memorable examples from kids of all ages creating digital storytelling of bringing together voice, graphics, animation, and sound in artful ways.

* Do you have micro-blogging in your toolkit?
* The Sesame Street letters dance and sing, yours just sit there – cartoon
* Mash-Ups of Skills
– storyteller – content
– artistic – creative
– technologist – craftsmanship
*Chapter One
– storytelling has unique qualities
– photo essays – images should never lead the story only influence and unfolding the story. is a tool for this.
ie. Eliza movie “Betty Jane 1921-2003” pan and zoom only, still pics
– visual essay
ie. “David” – video reflection, song choice, storyline
– every story starts w/narrative or storyline
– TAKE SIX: elements of good storytelling
– Preparing Script
* 30-40% of project time, written to be spoken,m more than words, an experience, telling from the heart not head, bells and whistles can not lift up a poorly developed story
ie. “Our summer vacation” – Kaitlyn – no emotion, slides don’t fit well with audio, factual, annoying background music
“Connor – piano recital” – funny, stills and audio, personal pics showing his emotion, mystery, chose story first then images were chosen
– Lessons Learned
* what do we now know or understand? What is the moral or essential message of the story?
* spine that everything hangs on
* anchors the script writing
* encourages the practice of analyzing events and relationships – putting our experiences into perspective.
ie. science based story “shop teacher – Bats”
INFO: movie making and story telling: check out this site:
ie. Water drop – closing, no moral to the story, cycle, this is a digital story only not storytelling. Take this story and have students look at the 6 elements of good storytelling and CHANGE it to an effective digital.
– Story Tension
* there is a question lingering in the mind of the viewers
* the story unfolds the answer
* a little bit of allurement, mystery
* good opening and closings in multimedia too!
* interesting titles
ie. Asha’s story
– Economizing
* 250-500 words
* keep essence – stay tight to intention
* story spine = lesson learned
* showing NOT telling
* think how few words not how many
ie. Ed’s story – barn
ie. No Place to Call Home – showing not telling
– Different Modes
* image stories
* enhanced podcasts
* voicethreads
* flimmaking
* machinima
– Influence Power – images are processed 60,000+ faster than text
– Fluency of Medium – how its used and number of squares
– Storyboarding
* voice ext (8-10 sec)
* images (3-4 sec)
* titles
* transitions/special effects
* music/sounds
– Family Stories
– Craftsmanship – sound is 50% of presentation, unusual to have same music throughout story
– Voiceovers
* reading (low)
* recitiing (medium)
* performing (high)
* Ask: what’s the mood needed for this project?
-7 Elements
1) Writing a narrative script
2) Planning a project
3) Organizing project folders
4) Making the voiceover
5) Gathering and preparing media resources
6) Putting it ALL together
7) Applause, applause
– Three Before Me – ask three other people for assistance before coming to teacher
– Distributed Leadership – with students, have experts within the class (ie. scanner, reader, editor, powerpoint, audacity) If you don’t have an expert ask a student to learn about it (you can show them or they can learn on their own. Younger kids can have “scout badges” as they learn a skill and help others.
– Learning Curves
* elements of good storytelling
* writing scripts – rigorous and creative
* storyboarding/designing info
* audio-editing skills
* image-editing skills
* video-editing skills
– Tools for Tasks
* mind mapping
* word processing
* audio editing – Audacity
* image editing – MovieMaker, Adobe Premiere, Corel Video Studio v3, 720×540 pixels minimum, pics with perspective that grabs people, layering with PhotoShop,, Balbberize, BeFunky,,
* video editing – Zamzar, Oxelon
* Baker’s Dozen – effective communicate, enduring understanding, visual literacy, technical literacy, MI, cognitve apprenticehsip, HOTS, information literacy, exploiting affinitiy, project mgmt mentality, team/collaboration, NETS*S, AASL
* “The story making process enables us to simplify complex information into core essence of understanding”
* “Thread the beds of your facts together with a story plot so they don’t roll away.”
* Six Aptitudes by Daniel PINK
– design
– story
– symphony
– empathy
– play
– meaning
* Types of Communication: scoring guides on
– narrative
– persuasive
– informative/expository
– environments
– personal expressions

ie. Living Memories – theme like Charlotte’s Web – friendship – tell a story ab9out you and your friend

ie. Docu Dramas – non-fiction, history to come alive (like the Water Molecule video), reality-based, factoids come from personal experiences

– Primary sources – interviews, radio/TV archive, letters or journals, photos or paintings, music of the time, newspaper clippings, artifacts.

ie. Diary of a Worm book

ie. Voicethread – letters written by students in an internment camp WWII

ie. Elephants – students pretending to be animals and talking about sound waves

ie. Granny Smith – gr 3: life cycle of an apple (What a great example to show teachers!!!)

ie. Mashup – poetry + docudrama + voicethread

ie. Museum trip – key question to answer, visit in the morning, afternoon time to put together a docudrama.

– 3D Worlds
* Quest Atlantis – online enviro
* purpose and audience, participatory elements, avatars are users IN the story
* Rampano NY middle school – Second Life demo
* The Graveyard book and 3D environment
* Bernajean Porter has a Storytelling Palace, works with Pepperdine University

Overall the day session gave a good, solid overview of Digital Storytelling, however I really wanted to explore some of the technological products that were being shown in the many examples. I look forward to spending more time on this topic. If any of you have some great digital storytelling projects or products that you use effectively and want to share with others, please leave a comment!


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