Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Digital stories based on literary texts

In 2012 and 2014, I conducted workshops for library staff and a group of students involved in the iTell project at St Vincent's College in Potts Point, Sydney.  The aim of iTell was for students to create digital stories based on literary texts.

One of the librarians made a fabulous digital story based on The Great Gatsby: it was a letter from Daisy to her daughter confessing to having been the driver of the car that killed Myrtle Wilson.  Another staff member took inspiration from The Diving Bell and The Butterfly.  Her story unfolded as a series of 'blinks', each representing a snapshot of the time Claude Mendibil spent helping Jean-Dominique Bauby 'dictate' his story after he had suffered a stroke.  Year 10 student, Lucy Kenehan, made a fractured fairytale from the point of view of the woman who witch in Rapunzel.  This can be viewed here by clicking on the following link and scrolling down to Lucy's story.
iTell project - St Vincent's College

Marrickville Stories - June 2012

In 2012, I teamed up with Inner West Cultural Services in Newtown and received a community cultural development grant from Marrickville Council to create 'Marrickville Stories' - a digital storytelling project involving seniors and primary school students in the local area, which culminated in a community screening and celebration.

Here is the moving story of one of the seniors, Mercedes:

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And here is a composite digital story of three Grade 1 students from Stanmore Public School.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A great idea to tell stories of place

I recommend visiting this great site: www.dearphotograph.com. I love the idea of revisiting the site of an old photograph and taking a new photograph with the old one superimposed on the scene. All sorts of memories and stories could be conjured up by this simple act.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Digital Storytelling across the curriculum

In September this year, I gave a couple of lectures to pre-service primary school teachers majoring in languages education and creative arts at the University of Sydney. In these, we discussed how digital storytelling not only supports language and literacy development in important ways, but also how it can be used to engage learners in other curriculum areas. To illustrate, here are some examples of digital stories created by students in primary and high school. I have also included some made by teachers in order to teach content.

Personal stories

Here is the script of 'My Back Yard' - a digital story of place written by Charlotte in year 3.

This… is my place. From my house you could see the built-in sandbox and play-space that my parents and I created together. We also had a beautiful vegetable garden. At certain times of year, my vegetable garden would grow taller than ME! Our backyard was like a park. The bridge was the start of a trail, which went across a stream. And the trail wrapped around trees, bushes and rocks until it came to an opening at the bank of the Farmington River. Being a little girl at the time, no matter which direction I turned my place seemed as big as the moon. My brother and I were there every minute to help our place grow, and ride that cool tractor. Now every time I look at this picture, I wonder if this swing is waiting for me to come back and take it for a ride in my place. (Banaszewski, T. (2005). Digital Storytelling: Supporting Digital Literacy in Grades 4 -12. Unpublished Master's Thesis, Georgia Institute of Technology, p. 56)

In this 'i-imagine' story told as if reflecting back from 20 years in the future, Dani, in year 6, talks about how she realised her aspirations to become a Broadway choreographer.


Works of fiction

Dot's Adventure by Andrew in year 2 is the tale of a rabbit's escapades. The images are made using plasticine.

Stories that explore content

Crikey! Frogs by Madeleine in year 2 is an informative story about frogs and toads that incorporates her own hand-drawn illustrations.


While there is no link to this digital story created by a group of students to describe a maths experiment, Jason Ohler refers to it in his book Digital Storytelling in the Classroom.



'Buffalo' is a 'docudrama' created by a group of students on a visit to a museum in Nebraska, USA. In one day, their task was to bring an aspect of the museum to life using a first-person narrative and incorporating lessons learned. This fabulous story is told from the point of view of the buffalo as a species.

Digital stories that teach content

The following digital story, 'A Molecule's Journey', was created by a primary school teacher in Illinois. It is told in the first person, from the point of view of a molecule, talking about its 'jobs' in the water cycle, and its aspirations to one day work in the 'big city' (the ocean).

Digital storytelling has also been used to introduce learners to mathematical concepts. Here is a story about Pythagoras and the significance of his theorem.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Digital Stories from December 2009

In December 2009, I did another 5-week project with a group of advanced English language learners. Here are some of their stories:

Could the Global Financial Crisis be a good thing? Gisleine gives her opinion.

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Do you believe in ghosts? Edna isn't sure if she does in spite of her experiences.



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Doing what you love is the ultimate freedom according to Max.


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Anna tells a lovely story about her grandfather and stuff. video

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Digital Storytelling with Teacher Educators from Indonesia

Digital storytelling is proving to be an effective tool in reflective practice and teacher professional development. Earlier this year, I did an 'express' digital storytelling workshop with a lovely group of teacher educators from several Indonesian universities. In their stories, these teachers explored questions such as: "Why teaching for me?, Why am I passionate about my subject?, and "How did atomic theory develop!?"


A teacher - Why do I want to be one.
By Irena

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Physics - My Study
By Maison

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Monday, April 20, 2009

"In a Flash" Digital Stories

This short digital story was my first attempt at the "In a Flash" format I discovered in the BBC Capture Wales digital storytelling guide. The idea is to use one photo - and take one photo of it in the narrator's hand and one photo of them holding it and looking at the camera.

I tried this out as a model for groups of Japanese study tour students with a pre-intermediate level of English. The idea was that they would use this to develop their own digital "In a flash" story based on a special event, experience, person, place or object.


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The time I spent with each group varied, but on average I had about 4 one and a half hour sessions with them (6 hours), in addition to the final screening (1.5 hours). The software we used was Photostory 3 (free Microsoft movie making software). Photostory 3 doesn't have the same scope as Movie Maker, but for simple, short-term enterprises, it is easier to use.

Some examples of student work will be posted here if and when permission is granted.