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National Standards

ISTE Technology Foundations Standards for All Students:

1. Basic operation and concepts

Students are proficient in the use of technology.

2. Social, ethical, and human issues

Students develop positive attitudes toward technology uses that support lifelong learning, collaboration, personal pursuits, and productivity.

3. Technology productivity tools

Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity.

Students use productivity tools to collaborate in constructing technology enhance models, preparing publications, and producing other creative works.

NCTE Standards

3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.

5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Leave a legacy of cultural history for future generations through digital storytelling. Stories are important because they provide us with a voice in time and place about our heritage. Rich digital stories can be created using many different technologies such as iMovie, Moviemaker, and Photo Story 3. Stories can then be published or broadcast over the Internet. To construct a lasting record, stories should also be preserved in print on acid free paper and both the digital and print copy donated to a repository such as a local library or museum.

Getting Started with Digital Storytelling

American Folklife Center

Your first stop should be the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The wealth of material that is made available is superb. Browse by subject or geographical area, A teacher’s Guide to Folklife Resources for K-12 Classrooms by Paddy Bowman, Coordinator, Network for Folk Arts in Education. For the serious teacher or student who wants to learn how to collect ethnographic materials, conduct interviews, and preserve information, read the booklet, Folklife and Fieldwork by Peter Bartis. Then, explore the online collections such as Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier, Voices from the Dustbowl, Folk-songs of America, or Tending the Commons.

Center for Digital Storytelling

Visit the Digital Storytelling Center for valuable information about their programs and workshops. Workshops generally are 3-4 days in length with up to 15 participants. Contact the Center for details. Be sure to read the Digital Storytelling Cookbook listed under resources. It will serve as an excellent guide for developing your own lesson. The following topics are included in the booklet 1) Stories in Our Lives, 2) Seven Elements, 3) Approaches to Scripting, 3) Storyboarding, 4) Digitizing Story Elements, 5) Introduction to Photoshop Elements, and 6) Introduction to iMovie.

Digitales – The Art of Telling Digital Stories

Digitales presents seven steps to creating a 3-5 minute digital movie. Specific directions are provided for each step. Elements for writing the narrative or script provide direction in giving a story personal meaning. Story planning templates are included to assist in planning the project. Directions for planning digital folders are given. Even if you have had no experience with voiceovers, these directions will assist you in completing the task. Gathering and preparing media resources offers students the opportunity to be creative and unique. Putting it all together provides helpful hints for thinking about purpose and impact of the story.

Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling

Dr. Bernard Robin from the University of Houston has developed an easy to follow guide for the uses of digital storytelling in the classroom, including a PowerPoint presentation. He also provides goals and objectives, step-by-step tutorials for technology tools, an evaluation rubric, and links to resources.

How to Use Digital Storytelling in Your Classroom

Lights, Camera, Action - become the executive producer of student work using video. This site is helpful in discovering the many applications for using digital storytelling. Two teachers who use and encourage digital storytelling in the classroom offer advice that will be valuable for teachers new to this genre. In addition there are examples of student work that show the power digital storytelling can provide for student organization, communication, and learning. The concept of collaboration and student team work is evident in these amazing student productions.

Digital Stories

Digital Storytelling Finds its Place in the Classroom

Tom Banaszewski’s article from the Jan/Feb issue of Multimedia and Internet @ Schools magazine provides a concise overview of the storytelling process he used with his fifth graders. Project Place was designed to stimulate writing about a place that transcended physical matter - places in the heart as one student astutely stated. Mixed into the equation were visual images and the use of iMovie. The outcome was the building of a community and a clear understanding of the writing process.

Digital Storytelling in the Scott County Schools

If you are looking for ideas and resources to create digital storytelling with you students this site offers valuable insight into creating digital stories. The Easy Guide to Storytelling includes sections on meaning, storytelling, memory, voice, links, metaphor, expectation, economy, and pacing. . Instructions for recording and voiceovers and capturing a movie are found in The Digital Story Cookbook offered as a PDG file. Take a look at an actual digital story and see how the writing occurs with images, and see how the narrating brings the images to life. This site illustrates how digital media can create a powerful medium for presenting a story from a personal voice while sharing them with the world. Do not miss the powerful stories presented by teachers in the Scott County Schools.


National Center for Quality After School

This lesson was excerpted from the Afterschool Training Toolkit under the promising practice: Developing Self-Expression And Creativity. In this lesson, students create original stories that include text, drawings, photos, animation, audio, and video. They use technology tools, such as digital cameras and computers, to bring their stories to life.

Miwok Storytelling Legend Movie

In this lesson students read Native American legends and then, tell one of the stories using a variety of illustrations. The project description, outcomes, technology skills, assessment suggestions, resources, and example are provided. This is a nice example of how students combined a visual narrative with images using iMovie.

Digital Storytelling Tools

Apple iMovie (Macintosh OS X)

Apple Computer’s iMovie is fairly easy to use and comes with the Ken Burns effect for zooming and panning individual photographs. It is part of the iLife package that provides other nifty features for editing photographs and publishing to the Web. Video tutorials, system requirements, and step-by-step instructions are provided at the Website.

Audacity (Macintosh OS X and Windows)

Audacity is a great audio editing tool and ideal for oral histories. Import, edit, and export wav, aiff, au, and mp3 files. Complete directions are provided in the Help menu. Create multi-track recordings by dubbing over existing tracks or add a variety of special effects such as echo, phaser, and wahwah. Since Audacity is open-source, there are all sorts of free plugins available.

Ken Burns: The Civil War, Telling a Story

Practice constructing a digital story at the Ken Burns PBS Website. Mix together archival images, narration, and sound to create a Civil War era documentary. The interactive online tool allows you to order and manipulate the images and transitions on a timeline. Once you have completed your movie, you can email it to yourself. This would be a great way to begin the technology portion of your storytelling unit.

Photos - Microsoft

Photos makes it easy to quickly create videos in the classroom Introducing Photos, a brand new video creator coming in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

Photos is designed to inspire educators and students to easily create and tell stories using photos, videos, and music.

Movie Maker

Microsoft version for making movies.

If you are looking for an easy to use app that allows pictures sounds and layers, this is a great choice for the classroom.


Originally Published Jul/Aug 2006

Updated January 5, 2019
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