Digital Storytelling (DS) at its most basic core is the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories. DS is an innovative pedagogical approach that can engage students in deep and meaningful learning.
In a digital story, the author tells him/her own personal story or shows personal viewpoints about a certain subject. The author creates this story in a digital medium through the editing of images, sounds, music, text, and voice. In this way, he/she expresses him/herself and shares a part of him/her with others (Robin 2008). By using digital storytelling, the learners become creators and actors of their own story. DS is a simple and accessible way to tell a story through a short movie, without the need for extensive technical knowledge or skills.
The tool is most useful when conducted through a workshop with 8 to 12 participants and a facilitator. It's a combination of lectures and storytelling circles with some practical work. A storytelling circle is a method used to develop personal stories whilst actively listening, giving and receiving feedback.
Duration of the workshop - depending on the group is from 10 to 15 hours
The workshop starts with a short introduction to the methodology and getting to know the group. Establishing a good group dynamic is essential for further work. After a safe and trustworthy atmosphere has been established (if this takes a bit longer it's ok since it's so important) participants continue to write 2 short personal stories on the given theme. Themes from the Global citizenship education field work very good with this methodology. After every participant of the workshop writes two stories they are presented in a storytelling circle, but before the circle starts facilitator has to familiarize every participant with the correct ways of giving and receiving feedback. During the storytelling, circle participants are sitting in a circle, the facilitator is also a part of the circle. Everyone read or explain their two short stories, while the rest of the group give feedback on them. Since the aim of the storytelling circle is to share experiences, emotions, and feedback on the personal stories of the participants, after this step everyone already has a more clear picture on their stories and which one of the initial two to choose for further work.
After the first circle is done every participant needs to pick one of their two stories. Next step is to create a storybook. Everyone draws small sketches of the scenes they envision for their digital story and connect the scenes with narrative (written text). After the storybooks are done a second storytelling circle takes place. Now the group is more focused on giving feedback to the way how every participant envisioned their own digital story. It is important not to lose the initial personal aspect of the story by using too many effects and sounds.
After the second storytelling circle is done the facilitator familiarizes the group with Creative Commons. It is very important that everyone understands this before the next step. Digital storytelling methodology allows the authors to either take photographs, draw scenes, make collages or use images from the internet to create their own digital stories. For this reason, it is very important not to understand Creative Commons and attribution rules when using other peoples photos and music. At this point, the facilitator also does a short presentation on how to record narration in a correct way.
Now everyone has some time to collect all the needed materials for the creation of their digital stories (narration, photos/drawings, maybe even some sound effects). It is very important that the author of the story records his/her own voice for the narration - it makes the final result more personal.
In the next part, the facilitator explains (using a computer and a projector) how to edit the stories in a video editing program. We like to use Lightworks since it's very easy to use and it's free for everyone. Now participants create their stories. The facilitator assists if needed.
When everyone has finished editing their stories it is good to organize a "premiere screening" of all digital stories created in the group. This is also an opportunity to give feedback on the process and the final result. Digital stories are meant to be shared, of course with the approval of the authors - no one is forced to share their own personal stories at any point of this methodology. Sharing digital stories helps to spread the word and raise awareness on the given subject, but also helps to boost authors self-confidence. We usually use YouTube as a platform for sharing the stories.
To conduct a DS workshop you will need a personal computer/laptop/tablet, smartphone, and a projector. You will also need a quiet room with at least 13 chairs.
After the workshop, every participant has his/her own digital story developed. Participants have empowered their digital and media literacy skills as well as their linguistic abilities.
We have used this methodology with teachers and youngsters so we do have a lot of feedback on it. In general, participants usually come out of the workshop feeling happy and empowered. We often hear comments like "I didn't expect such a simple method to have this much impact on me."
The potential threat of the methodology is if the facilitator isn't ready for the openness of some participants. Since the atmosphere in the group needs to be safe and inviting participants sometimes feel confident enough to talk about very personal and hard stories. If the facilitator isn't ready for it he/she may lose control over the group. This situations tent do manifest into a self-help group if facilitated in the right way.
Brights methodology for DS was developed through an Erasmus+ project Brights. It is advisable to go through the online course for facilitators (also developed through the project) before conducting the workshop. All materials and resources, as well as the online course can be found on the official web page of the project - http://www.brights-project.eu/hr/
The materials are available in English, Croatian, Italian, Greek, and Flemish language.
DISCLAIMER: SALTO-YOUTH EuroMed cannot be held responsible for the inappropriate use of these training tools. Always adapt training tools to your aims, context, target group and to your own skills! These tools have been used in a variety of formats and situations. Please notify SALTO-YOUTH EuroMed should you know about the origin of or copyright on this tool.