The Art of Digital Storytelling

” A man is always a teller of tales, he lives surrounded by his stories and the stories of others .” Jean Paul Sartre

Before I introduce you to some interesting books on the art of digital storytelling, let me quickly explain what digital storytelling is all about and discuss some of the practical ways to use it in education.

Digital storytelling books

What is digital storytelling?

Digital storytelling is a form of multimedia narrative that combines elements such as text, images, sound, voice-over narration and music to create a compelling story. It is often used in educational settings to help students learn more about a topic or share a personal experience.

How to use digital storytelling in the classroom?

Digital storytelling can be used in the classroom to engage and motivate students in a wide variety of ways. For instance, it can be used to help students reflect on their own experiences. They can create stories in which they share things they learned throughout school or from a specific experience. Or, they can create digital stories about their own lives or experiences. This allows for creative expression and reflection on personal topics in an engaging way.

Digital storytelling is also a great way to engage students in writing-based projects. As a teacher, you can provide them with prompts or story starters and let them build their own stories. They can use tools such as Canva, Sway, Google Slides, PowerPoint, and Pear Deck, among others, to create their own stories.

You can also ask students to create digital stories about a particular topic such as immigration or climate change. The stories can be used to help students gain a deeper understanding of the issue and its implications.

Digital storytelling can also be used as a tool for assessment in the classroom. Teachers can ask students to create digital stories about a particular assignment or project and then assess the quality of their work. This can be a great way to get an in-depth look at how well students understand the material, as well as assess their creativity and communication skills.

Digital storytelling can also be used to inspire further exploration and discussion around topics. By creating visual and interactive stories, students can share their ideas in an engaging way that encourages further exploration.

Digital storytelling is a great way to engage students in the classroom and encourage them to explore topics and issues in creative ways. It’s a powerful tool for assessment, reflection, and exploration. With the right guidance from teachers, students can develop their digital storytelling skills and gain a deeper understanding of the topics they are learning about.

Some of the best books on (digital) storytelling

1. The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, by Jonathan Gottschall 

digital storytelling

In this book, Jonathan Gottschall offers a “unified theory of storytelling. He argues that stories help us navigate life’s complex social problems–just as flight simulators prepare pilots for difficult situations. Storytelling has evolved, like other behaviors, to ensure our survival. Drawing on the latest research in neuroscience, psychology, and evolutionary biology, Gottschall tells us what it means to be a storytelling animal and explains how stories can change the world for the better. We know we are master shapers of story. The Storytelling Animal finally reveals how stories shape us.”

2. The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion through the Art of Storytelling, by Annette Simmons 

Digital Storytelling

In the Story Factor, author Annette Simmons “reminds us that the oldest tool of influence is also the most powerful. Fully revised and updated to account for new technology and social media, along with two new chapters on the role of stories in the development of civilization and how to adjust your story to your specific goal, Simmons showcases over a hundred examples of effective storytelling drawn from the front lines of business and government, as well as myths, fables, and parables from around the world.”

3. Writing for Story: Craft Secrets of Dramatic Nonfiction, by Jon Franklin 

Digital Storytelling

In Writing Story, Jon Franklin, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and master of the American nonfiction short story, “shares the secrets of his success. Franklin shows how to make factual pieces come alive by applying the literary techniques of complication/resolution, flashback, foreshadowing, and pace. He illustrates his points with a close analysis and annotation of two of his most acclaimed stories, so that the reader can see, step-by-step, just how they were created. “

4. Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences, by Nancy Duarte  

Digital Storytelling

The book Resonate is an instructional guide that “helps you make a strong connection with your audience and lead them to purposeful action. The author’s approach is simple: building a presentation today is a bit like writing a documentary. Using this approach, you’ll convey your content with passion, persuasion, and impact.”

5. The Science of Storytelling: Why Stories Make Us Human and How to Tell Them Better, by Will Storr 

Digital Storytelling

In The Science of Storytelling, “award-winning writer and acclaimed teacher of creative writing Will Storr applies dazzling psychological research and cutting-edge neuroscience to our myths and archetypes to show how we can write better stories, revealing, among other things, how storytellers—and also our brains—create worlds by being attuned to moments of unexpected change.”

6. The New Digital Storytelling: Creating Narratives with New Media, by Bryan Alexander

Digital Storytelling

The New Digital Storytelling, is a book that combines history, analysis, and practical guidance about digital storytelling. “It begins with a history that encompasses an exploration of storytelling itself, as well as a description of narratives using digital tools from the 1980s through 2000.

From there, the author dives into modern digital storytelling, offering analysis and guidance regarding the use of digital video, podcasting, social media, gaming, mobile devices, and virtual and augmented reality. The work concludes with practical advice about how to create and share digital stories using the most current tools so even the new would-be storyteller can create their first digital narrative.”

7. Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: New Media Pathways to Literacy, Learning, and Creativity, by Jason Ohler 

Digital Storytelling

“Equip your students with essential 21st-century media literacy skills, as they read, write, speak, and create art within the context of digital storytelling, and reach deeper understandings in all areas of the curriculum! In this second edition, both novice and technologically adept K-12 educators will find:

  • Practical techniques to combine storytelling with curriculum content
  • Tips for exploring effective storytelling principles through emerging digital media as well as via traditional literacy skills in reading, writing, speaking, and art
  • Visual aids and video clips that illustrate best practices in media composition”

8. Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives, Creating Community, by Joe Lambert, Brooke Hessler 

Digital Storytelling

In this popular guide to digital storytelling, “StoryCenter founder Joe Lambert offers budding storytellers the skills and tools they need to craft compelling digital stories. Using a “Seven Steps” approach, Lambert helps storytellers identify the fundamentals of dynamic digital storytelling – from conceiving a story, to seeing, assembling, and sharing it. Readers will also find new explorations of the global applications of digital storytelling in education and other fields, as well as additional information about copyright, ethics, and distribution.”

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