Within A Reflection: Trials in Using Digital Storytelling Effectively with the Gifted, Educase Learning Initiative defines digital storytelling as the practice of combining narrative with digital content, including images, sound and video, to create a short movie, typically with a strong emotional component (2010).


Media artists, designers, and practitioners came together in the early 1990’s in California and began to collaborate on a means by which individuals could combine technology and the art of storytelling. Two of the major contributors to the art of digital storytelling were Joe Lambert, a theater producer and dramatic consultant, and Dana Atchley, a media producer and artist. The Center for Digital Storytelling grew from their efforts and the idea that “everyone has a story to tell” (Bull and Kajder, 2004).

Seven Elements of Effective Digital Storytelling:

1. Point of View: First person, reveals the writer, the writer is able to experience the power of his/her own personal expression

2. A Dramatic Question: Helps hold the attention of the audience, gives a sense of direction/organization

3. Emotional Content: Allows audience to make a human connection, validates a writer’s efforts

4. Economy: Forces the writer to limit the script to allow for better focus and a clear message

5. Pacing: The rate at which the narrator/writer tells the story, maintaining and varying an appropriate fluency, inflection, and speed

6. The Gift of Your Voice: Gives real meaning and purpose to the story, writer feels ownership, audience feels emotion

7. An Accompanying Soundtrack: An important element that enhances and accompanies the story, authors should consider/address possible copyright issues

Programs, Software, and Sharing for Digital Storytelling:

  • Mac or Windows
  • Microsoft Office
  • Apple iWork
  • iPhoto
  • iMovie
  • PowerPoint
  • Keynote
  • Free Downloads
  • Can be burned to CDs, DVDs, or shared via websites

How to Create a Digital Story:

1. Write a script
2. Make a plan with a storyboard
3. Revise and edit the script and storyboard
4. Sequence/Place the images in the video editor
5. Add a narrative track (voice recording)
6. Add any special effects
7. Add music/soundtrack

How is Digital Storytelling Relevant to Educators?

Digital storytelling is an ideal way to give any student writer an authentic learning experience. Students of all ages and abilities can combine the use of technology, writing, and any concept, skill, or topic across the curriculum in order to produce a digital story. Digital storytelling also “gives power to the idea of example” that allows individuals to empower themselves as they influence and make a difference in the lives of others (Rao and Skouge, 2009). In any classroom, digital storytelling projects can even provide support in connection with project-based or inquiry-based activities.

More Information on Digital Storytelling Online:

Works Cited:

Bull, Glenn and Kajder, Sara. (2005). Digital Storytelling in the Language Arts Classroom. Learning and Leading with Technology, 32, 46-49. Retrieved from the ERIC Database (EJ697294).

Kieler, Lynda. (2010). A Reflection: Trials in Using Digital Storytelling Effectively with the Gifted. Gifted Child Today, 33, 48-52. Retrieved from ERIC Database (EJ893806).

Rao, Kavita and Skouge, James R. (2009). Digital Storytelling in Teacher Education: Creating Transformations through Narrative. Educational Perspectives, 42, 54-60. Retrieved from the ERIC Database (EJ858390).