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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Digital Storytelling and the iPAD

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Everyone has stories to tell, including our students. Stories come from a variety of places, from a person’s past to their imagination. Some can be funny, some can be painful, but all are personal. Digital storytelling is the process of writing about that story, and adding the multimedia elements of voice, imagery, and music to create a visual story (Jakes & Brennan).

A digital story needs Seven Components:

  • the author's perspective and opinion,
  • a dramatic question,
  • issues that speak to the heart of the listener,
  • powerful narration through voice,
  • images and sound,
  • and a solid structure and pace to keep interest high.

In the process, the digital story author learns how to be independent, creative, meaningful and emotional, enhances digital literacy, practices critical thinking, and focuses on the message. With the use of technology.

The author will need to take pictures, create images and video sequences, record the narrative, write music, or search for these items on the net and import them to the story. He will need to structure the content so that it makes sense, edit it, experiment with different versions of it, share it to get feedback, present it in a way that takes advantage of its full potential and does its content justice.

Surprisingly, in my experience with different age groups, the device that can make it all happen quite seamlessly, the device that provides all the possibilities mentioned above, the device that is friendly to users between 5 and fifty five years of age is an iPAD. In addition, there is an application which is available for free that enables you to include all the components we mentioned and manipulate them accordingly: Book Creator. At your fingertips, every time, everywhere. Literally!

Furthermore, it works well for all ages and the end product looks professional while it reflects your age and sophistication. It can make your product visible when you upload it to the dedicated site for iBooks. It allows for different groups from the same class or from different parts of the world to work on the same project if you so wish. It is patient with time, forgiving with mistakes and tolerant when you are uncertain what to do next. The latter is true for all electronic devices but it is an added bonus when you create as you go. Pun intended!

This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

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Dan Callahan's picture
Dan Callahan
Professional Learning Specialist, Edcamper, Graduate Professor

Hi George,
I like your outline for things needed for a digital story. I'm a big fan of both the iPad and Book Creator because of their digital storytelling uses, and also recommend explain everything and iMovie to teachers looking to round out their repertoire for different kinds of products.

Brian Sztabnik's picture
Brian Sztabnik
AP Literature teacher from Miller Place, NY

I read recently that, on average, only 20% of blog posts are read. That is why I still believe that books produce the greatest engagement from an audience. What I love about your post, george, is that is reinforces the idea that digital media can be used to enhance the reader's experience, not distract one from it.
"Adding the multimedia elements of voice, imagery, and music to create a visual story" is the new direction of literacy and we, as teachers, need to be cognizant of ways in which we can teach students to use sound, image, and effect for heightened effect.
Models are a great tool. Here's a fine example of digital storytelling by the masters themselves -- apple.


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