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Digital Storytelling Best Practices, Tips & Tricks: Ignite Rigor and Creativity

Explore and create

Explore and create : Creation lab

Friday, December 4, 12:30–1:20 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Julie Jaeger  
Gwynn Moore  

Learn the process that moves students from writer to screenplay creator, to director, and finally producer, elevating thinking to highest levels of Blooms. Best practices utilize “7 Steps” for management and “Take 6 Elements” to find story, critically/intentionally create, assess/analyze for an audience with purpose. Create stories digitally!

Audience: Teachers, Professional developers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Participants should use what is available to them in the form of apps or programs for any of the following formats: video, slide show, animation, comic, etc. The process is what will be the focus of the session, the format used is up to each participant. Participants will receive information on other options available for their consideration.
Participants will be introduced and have access to numerous copyright free to use and share resources for final production.
Topic: Storytelling/multimedia
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
Digital Citizen
  • Students demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property.
Additional detail: ISTE author presentation, Session recorded for video-on-demand

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Actively engage participants in the Digital Storytelling from beginning to end, creating a mini final product as if they were their students in a Remote Learning environment. Introduce the 7 Steps to Assist in Management and Take 6 Elements for Creative production. Tips and Tricks on how to help students find story, how to inspire writing with purpose and intent, how to plan and create the storyboard, looking for imagery and essence of their product, and finally how to guide students through the process of directing and producing their digital product, Familiarize participants with Copyright and provide resources on free to use and share media for production. Explore equitable options through a variety of final products created on free and easily available options.

•Participants will go through the 7 steps of DS ~ PreProduction, Production and Post Production, in the same way they would with their students, moving them from author of their story to storyboard creator, decision making director, and finally producer of their work with purpose and intent for audience.
• Participants will review the difference between StoryTelling and Multimedia show and tell products through examples. Participants will leave with several ideas of how to stimulate story and use the story arc to generate good writing.
• Participants will go through the 6 Elements of Digital StoryTelling and go through activities to use with their students to recognize those elements and how they make the difference between a "Tell aAbout" Multi-media and a "Meaning Making" Digital StoryTelling product.
• Participants will participate in a mini storyboard planning process to experience how it leads students to analysis and critical thinking throughout the process.
• Participants will be introduced to management of the process, importance of copyright and ideas for free to use resources, and a variety of final production options that can be used to put it all together in the production steps
• Participants will view a variety of student products for the purpose of recognizing the influence of the Digital StoryTelling 7 Step process and 6 Traits of Digital StoryTelling by Bernajean Porter which will be the foundational guideline for this session.
• Participants will be provided with numerous final production options to assist in equitable opportunities to create digital storytelling products
• Evidence of Success would be the beginning of a final product and an idea or plan of where they would like to start with their students.


Walk through the remote or face to face process just as you would do with your students. Move from writer, to screenplay creator, to director, and finally producer, elevating thinking to highest levels of Blooms. Become a part of the learning experience as you are immersed in best practices utilizing the “7 Steps” for management and the “Take 6 Elements” to find story, critically/intentionally create, assess/analyze for an audience with purpose. Create stories digitally!
Experience how the process of Digital StoryTelling can be done in the remote setting as well as face to face. Digital StoryTelling Curricular Applications make leaning come to life.

Estimated TimeFrame for 90 min Creation Lab
10 min - Welcome/Introduction of presenters and review of the standards being addressed in this presentation.
Review the concept of StoryTelling done Digitally compared to a Bed to Bed Story or a report format. StoryTelling has purpose and intention and is memorable....sticking power. Review types of StoryTelling products and share one or more short student examples. Share resources and resource page that will be used throughout the session and invite participants to join in and create their own mini storytelling project.

10 min - Introduce the 7 Steps of Digital StoryTelling and how this part of the process can be used as a management tool, moving students through the process with checkmarks and deadlines.
Introduce Step One - Writing the narrative. Participants will be shown several ways to help students start story. Participants will be invited to start their own story with assistance of an image or story starter or topic of interest.

10 min - Introduce Step 2 - Storyboard, breaking their story in to scenes and deciding the essence they want to convey to their viewers. This thinking process moves students from author to director and raises thinking to the highest levels of Blooms as students decide just what type of imagery, video shots, music, voice and sounds are needed to bring their essence to life. This is another management tool that holds students accountable when working on the product.

10 min Introduce the Take 6 Elements of StoryTelling.
Introduce Step 3 - organizing products - student management of their work is important part of the process. Participants will review options based on technology available to their students.

15 min - Finding resources - participants will be introduced to several copyright free to use and share resources they can use and use with their students. Review of imagery over images to create the essence of their final product. Using their storyboard as a guide, this time will be used to search for images, music and sounds that could work with their mini story to create the essence they desire.

25 min - putting it all together in a format - participants will use any format they have available - on their device, online, in cloud or app on device to create as much of final product as they can get through.....voice over text of text and and insert images, music and sounds.

5 min - share final products and/or show student final products as examples. Some will be shown throughout the process.

5 min - wrap up, questions and remind of resources available.

This outline will be used for a 90 min creation lab, Timeframes would be increased and participant interaction would allow for more production time during a workshop session..

Supporting research

Support for Digital StoryTelling via MultiMedia
Digital StoryTelling and Media Making are not synonymous. Digital StoryTelling requires intention and meaning making. Understanding the essence of story and its ability to make meaning happen for all is at the heart of Digital StoryTelling. The media is not what is important...the story is!! 

ASCD: Understanding How Young Children Learn Children learn through story. Children understand the concept of story for the purpose of learning.
Bernajean Porter: The Art of Digital StoryTelling "Digital Storytelling Across the Curriculum | Creative Educator." 2008. 27 Sep. 2015
Ohler, Jason B. Digital storytelling in the classroom: New media pathways to literacy, learning, and creativity. Corwin Press, 2013 Sessoms, Diallo, “Stories keep memories alive. Your life stories as well as your family’s stories about he most memorable life experiences are worth preserving.”
Paige Baggett: Educational Uses of Digital StoryTelling When students are engaged in the process of creating a digital story, they must synthesize a variety of literacy skills for hte authentic product: researching, writing, organizing, presenting, interviewing, problem-solvin, assessing, as well as employ8ing interpersonal and technology skills.
Merilee Sprenger: How to Teach so Students Remember Brain research shows us that learning needs connections, memories, something to stick to. Stories create memories and connections that influence memory. ....understanding of the brain structures that influence memory, and learn how teachers can promote better recall for daily classroom learning, high-stakes tests, and beyond.
Top three levels of Benjamin Blooms Taxonomy revised (Anderson, Krathwohl 2001) look at elevated thinking as analyzing, evaluating and creating which are essential parts of the decision making StoryBoard Phase of the Digital StoryTelling process. Use of verbs instead of nouns puts Blooms into action which is exactly what the Storyboard is...the action and planning behind the product.
Anderson/Krathwohl The Second Principal Krathwohl
A Revision of Blooms (Zak, Why Your Brain Loves a Good Story 2014)
Digital StoryTelling requires intention and meaning making. Understanding the essence of story and its ability to make meaning happen for all is at the heart of Digital StoryTelling. The media is not what is important...the story is!! “If you can harness imagination and the principles of a well-told story, then you get people rising to their feet amid thunderous applause instead of yawning and ignoring you.” (Harvard Business Review, Storytelling That Moves People, Fryer, 2003)

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Julie Jaeger, Minot, ND

Julie Jaeger, PD Coach/Consultant and veteran Elem and MS educator, technology integrator, and gifted instructor, enjoys bringing "a-ha" moments and higher order thinking via Technology Integration, Differentiated Instruction, Digital StoryTelling, and Curriculum Enrichment using Higher Order Thinking, Problem Solving and Questioning Strategies. Authored "I-imagine Dares Students to be Their Best Selves" (ISTE Learning and Leading, June/July 2013) and received the 2016 Digital StoryTelling Creativity Leadership Award.  Serves as Outgoing Chair for ISTE's Digital StoryTelling Network [DSN] , Board of ND Association for Gifted Children. Holds an MS in Education with Technology Integration and a Credential in GT.

Gwynn Moore, Aurora Frontier P-8
ISTE Certified Educator

Gwynn Moore, Chair of the Digital StoryTelling Network and 2020 Digital Storytelling Creativity Storytelling Award Winner, is the Instructional Media/Technology Teacher at Aurora Frontier P-8 in Aurora Colorado and an educator for 28 years. In 2019 she became an ISTE Certified educator which supported her desire to integrate technology across the curriculum. She shares her passion for technology through classroom instruction in diverse classrooms which include Second Language and refugee students. She ignites this passion for technology integration in others as she continues to provide professional development earning her recognition and training certifications.

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