Archive for September, 2004

8th September
written by Tom Banaszewski

Week 3 – Project Production

My thesis will lay out an effective curriculum for using digital storytelling in a school setting, ages 10 and older. The central issues I’m addressing are:

•providing ‘story practice’ in digital and non-digital ways(eg. teacher directed vs. computer-based)
•improving the scripting process
•demonstrating a clear, coherent model for teachers to follow that meets literacy and technology standards set by most school districts

The Competition

This can be split into two parts: organizations and software. I’m attempting to refine the approach that organizations use while also looking to prototype ways of improving the software most used for digital storytelling(iMovie, Windows Movie-Maker, Photo Story, Adobe Premiere).


Center for Digital Storytelling – This is where I learned how to create my first digital story. Joe Lambert and company have pioneered the digital storytelling movement and assisted a number of school districts in implementing DS. Joe and I have talked about this need for something to assist the storyteller in the scripting process. He has some great ideas about ‘writing into the image.’ Need to talk with him more about that. CDS uses a workshop model, usually lasting 3 days. Not really applicable to a classroom setting.

Joe and company developed “The Cookbook” a few years ago – This is a fantastic resource because it’s the first to detail the seven elements that are reflected in an effective digital story. What it does not do is take the classroom and the unique needs of students as a specific setting and audience, and work through how the digital storytelling process can be implemented there. That’s where my thesis comes in.

Digital Storytelling Inc.
– I’m next to certain that the people who started this company took the CDS workshop and spun their own start-up version. It’s not clear what their approach is, but based on the sample projects the emphasis is more on creating something cool with the technology that resembles a story, but when you view the sample stories you see where the students are at in terms of their ‘story practice.’ This organization’s mission is good for schools, but they’re really just helping students create shoddy digital artifacts. Even though they talk about using assessment standards, it’s clear that those can be twisted to support any project. Also, I don’t like the design of their website. And, you can’t incorporate something like digital storytelling.

Creative Narrations – There’s a big difference in the quality of the stories produced from Digital Storytelling Inc. and the ones from Creative Narrations. CN is also a spin-off of CDS. They work mostly with students in after-school settings and have a community-empowerment focus. Not sure how they approach the scripting process, but, again, they work outside the regular school day which has a special set of demands when implementing a technology-based project. I’ll need to follow-up with Natasha, who runs CN, and ask her about how she approaches the actual story writing part of a DS project.

Where do organizations like ISTE stand on digital storytelling?

For a new idea to take off in a school it should only need to be a good idea, but teachers and administrators are reluctant to risk precious class time and money on ideas that are not officially endorsed by the National Council of Teachers of English or the International Society of Technology Education, to name a few relevant to my work. Administrators feel safe when they can point to national standards that support a new idea.

*Grades 3-5 NETS Performance Indicator 5: Use technology tools (for example, multimedia authoring, presentation, Web tools, digital cameras, and scanners) for individual and collaborative writing, communication, and publishing activities to create knowledge products for audiences inside and outside the classroom.
*Grades 6-8 NETS Performance Indicator 6: Design, develop, publish, and present products using technology resources that demonstrate and communicate curriculum concepts to audiences inside and outside the classroom.
*Grades 9-12 Performance Indicator 5: Use technology tools and resources for managing and communicating personal or professional information.

Bill Gates Loves Digital Storytelling

It’s obviously in the best interests of companies who produce the digital storytelling tools like iMovie or Movie-Maker to want to see schools embrace DS whole-heartedly. Windows Movie-Maker is the only one I’ve seen take a step towards assisting the user in the scripting process. They include templates for generic stories like a birthday party or a vacation trip. Why not go one step further and add a few prompts that help in the creation of THEMED stories, which most digital stories have, such as Challenge, Family, Memory.

Microsoft and Apple have online showcases of their products “revolutionizing today’s classrooms.” Apple has the most extensive library of iMovie related projects for digital storytelling. Microsoft is just catching on. The George Lucas Educational Foundation has also been in the business of multimedia storytelling within education.

iMovie, Powerpoint, Photo Story, Movie-Maker, Final Cut Express, Adobe Premiere all allow the user to import images, sync them with a voice over and export them as short digital movies for easy distribution. BUT, the students need an in between step of practicing their ‘story skills’ before getting to the computer. Software will never replace the human story coach but it can play a role in providing story practice for the student.

Tom Invents the Wheel

Digital storytelling in schools may not be that common, but dozens of teachers have created very successful projects that demonstrate how students can use digital media and tools to tell an effective multimedia story. I’m not looking to reinvent the wheel, but rather find a way to get digital storytelling rolling in more classrooms so that more students’ voices are heard.

Here are few DS projects:

Microsoft Education
Teacher Project
Place, Vision and Voice
iMovies in Teacher Education
DS in Australia
Carnegie Mellon
Visible Knowledge Project
Powerpoint digital stories

Digital Storytelling Web Wonders

The web has provided a large audience for digital storytellers, but has not done much in the area of aiding the story creation process. For the most part, sites only include a text box where by typing you can “Tell Your Story.” This model relies on the user viewing a few of the stories from the site(if provided) and feeling compelled to add their two cents(eg. off the of the Sept. 11th Digital Archive site you can submit your relevant story). Just like when we put students in front of a computer or give them a blank piece of paper and prompt them with “Tell Your Story” we don’t provide much guidance.

The following sites all provide a database of stories, not all digital in the sense I’ve been referring to. The web is a source of inspiration for stories and provides the built-in audience for a digital story. Sites that encourage collaboration, critique, and coaching, such as, will spread as Internet 2 enters the scene.

Stories 1st

Capture Wales

The web offers an excellent environment for students to practice creating stories. Interactive Flash games are already allowing site visitors to practice a number of skills.

2nd September
written by Tom Banaszewski

Week #2 of LCC 6315: Project Production

This week, we had to research the demographic and ethnographic backgrounds our potential thesis projects. As of September 1st, 1:52p I am planning to write the definitive guide to successfully implementing a digital storytelling program in a school environment. My focus is on strengthening the ‘story skills’ of the students and the school as ‘story community.’ I am interested in the potential of a school that uses technology to effectively represent all the voices of the school population. I see the thesis being a 70-30% split on written documentation and technology-based exercises that provide ‘story practice’ for students.


A tough sell – storytelling AND technology

Implementing educational technology has a long, checkered history

Best Practices depends on perspective – computing, multimedia, spec. curricular enhancement, integration

A Flickering Mind – know the arguements

Tom Snyder


“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate
integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system
and bring about conformity OR it becomes the practice of freedom, the means
by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and
discover how to participate in the transformation of their world,” – Paulo Freire

School Settings:

Public vs. Alternative


Art and Technology Magnet

Next Week

Analysis of Competition

What’s out there for providing digital storytelling instruction in schools?

eg. Digital Storytelling Inc., CDS, Creative Narrations, who else?


Ease of use
Risk, intell. prop, privacy issue, copyright
Demographic reached