• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Digital Storytelling

Page history last edited by Mike King 15 years, 4 months ago


What Is a Digital Story?

Each of us has the ability to tell stories, from ancient times until the present man has told stories to cultivate and document history. Today with the emergence of the digital age, story telling is taking on a new form of storytelling, called digital storytelling. Digital story telling combines the conversion of written narrative to digital voiceovers that is aided by computer tools. By taking a written story and then converting into a digital sound narrative provides a means for expressive creativity. Additionally, digital narratives can be overlaid to both digital pictures and background music to give the digital story depth of expression and mood.   An example of a digital story with the emotion of time and expression can be found at Daniel Meadows site entitled Scissors.”1


What are the elements of a digital story?

To construct a digital story there are a few elements in design to consider. First a digital story as an end product is usually 2-5 minutes in length that includes a combination of narrative personal writing, photo images and a musical soundtrack. Daniel Meadows states that “There's strictness to the construction of a Digital Story: Two hundred and fifty words, a dozen or so pictures, and two minutes is about the right length. These strictures, I find, make for elegance. Digital Stories are a bit like sonnets in this respect, multimedia sonnets from the people (only it's probably better when they don't rhyme).” With the design elements defined the next question to answer would be “What is an effective process to consider when constructing a digital story?”


What is the process for constructing a digital story?

The process begins by first defining the style that best fits the kind of digital story you would like to portray. The KQED/DSI website suggests several types of story styles that can be used to create a digital story. These styles include: a story narrative over pictures; a story with music over pictures; or a story with interviews and pictures. The KQED/DSI has four chapters devoted to the construction of digital story telling that includes style definitions.  


Why Should I Select A Theme?

Once the story style has been determined then a theme should be developed to support the story line. Themes can range from stories about adventure, travel, places, artifacts, and memories. The most important part of digital story design is its expressed point of view. An expressed point of view allows for the understanding of perspective and what compelled the telling of the story in the first place. Without a point of view or perspective, a story can appear to be a recitation of facts. A digital story is thus effective if it is told from an expressed point of view that captures a mood or emotion about ones topic.


Creating A Storyboard

The next step in the process of digital story telling design is to construct a storyboard. Storyboarding helps to create a more exact sketch of the digital story and to define the technology tools that might be included. Using a storyboard template can help a story teller reflect about both the sequence of events and the technology they want to include. This might be as the story teller is reviewing content and deciding what will actually translate into the story. At this instant, the story developer narrows their focus to a specific theme. Once the content has been determined and the theme for the story has been decided, it is time to develop a story board.


Creating a storyboard for your digital story is an important and necessary process for visualizing what your story will look like in its completed form. The digital stories made in this workshop are time based—they progress across time in a linear format. A storyboard is a visual road map that allows you to organize what you will be seeing and hearing as your story moves from beginning to end. Creating a detailed storyboard in advance of the editing process helps you to think about what images (photographs, video, other types of artwork) your story will need and provides a guide for you to follow during the edit. Having a well-thought-out storyboard in advance of production reduces the likelihood that you will end up frantically searching for visuals as you go along.

The Storyboard Template

We have provided a blank storyboard template at the end of the manual for you to create your storyboard. Starting in the upper left corner of the page, use the square boxes for simple sketches or drawings to represent what visuals will be taking place. The space beneath the boxes is used to indicate the audio that accompanies the visual. It is not necessary for you to include the entire text of your script in this space, but it may be helpful to include the beginning and end of the audio portion for each panel so you are clear on exactly what will be said in that section of the story.


You will need to progress in a left-to-right pattern, filling in the panels with script and key images as you go. The final panel should be the end of the story, and don’t forget a panel for credits! How finely detailed you make your storyboard is up to you.


If this is your first digital story, you may wish to organize your storyboard so each scene change is a new panel. You may prefer to create your storyboard based on the audio portion—creating a new panel for each sentence. The main thing is for your story script to be complete, for you to be familiar with all the images needed to support it and know exactly where they will be used. This road map is paper, not stone, and it will likely change as you start to create your piece. As you move into the next sections of this manual and begin working on the computer, keep your completed storyboard handy for reference.


Classroom Instructional Tools



1. http://dsi.kqed.org/index.php/workshops/about/C66

2. http://dsi.kqed.org/images/uploads/Chapter_1.pdf



Stories created in a narrative style are the most personal in topic and tone. Written in first person, narrative stories are narrated with your own voice. Narrative digital stories are often the source of personal discovery and introspection, where we generally find out something personal about the author. The story “drives”—or takes precedence over—the images; the meaning is expressed through the narrative and supported visually by the images. We will examine some useful methods to identify and focus a narrative story later in this chapter.



This is the story of Pulitzer Prize winning author Marquis James and his early life experiences along the Cherokee Strip. The sound track takes the listener on a weave of experiences from his book about The Cherokee Strip. You will learn about the Land Run of 1893, famous outlaws like Dick Yeager, and Jessie James, all tied into a first voice narration by Mike King of the character of Marquis James that relives a life in the Northern Oklahoma Territory.


Most commonly recognized as music videos, this type of production is a story without words, although captions, titles and the blending of lyrics and visual imagery can personalize the piece.


Who named the Glass Mountains? Nobody knows. The name first appeared on a map issued by the federal land office in 1873. Two years later a map from this same source called them the Gloss Mountains, precipitating a conflict, which continues to this day. And it inspired a probable legend. This Britisher (or Bostonian) awakening early one morning in the survey camp east of the mesas saw the sun glinting on the selenite. He exclaimed in his long eastern patois, "Why, they look just like glaws!"


Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.