HOT TOPIC: Digital Storytelling
Volume 3, Issue 20 - February 4, 2007

"From Dorothy Heathcote to Bruno Bettelheim to Jim Trelease to Mark Standley, it’s always been about the story. Storytelling allows us to internalize and reveal our understandings of how the world operates and how we operate within the world. Beyond its literal component, it is the emotional, intuitive relating of facts and moments to which we can all relate. Story is the connective tissue of human experience.

Did I say Heathcote and Bettelheim? Let’s go back even farther: Aeschylus, Plautus, Chaucer, Shakespeare. Joseph Campbell refers all the way back to cave paintings and then plays forward across centuries and cultures to weave a rich tapestry of human understanding and experience that transcends our current existence to that of the timeless and the divine. Storytelling is powerful. Storytelling provides meaning. Storytelling speaks to each of us regardless of our unique intelligence profiles.

A quarter of a century ago Donald Graves revolutionized writing pedagogy with his writer’s workshop model. His premise was that developing a young author’s voice was best done through authentic experience modeled after the work done by professional writers. But how does this apply in the twenty-first century? Are word processors, printers, wall-paper sample books, needle and thread still the most authentic way to publish in today’s classroom? No. Technology is transforming education and now offers us an entirely new set of tools

Today the oral and written traditions are the foundation for a twenty-first century form of literacy: digital storytelling. Using the technology available to us in our schools, homes and libraries, we can be storytellers to the world. Video available across the web, through podcasts and in digital portfolios takes the personal delivery of story to an exponentially larger audience. Human experience has never been local, and now technology projects our stories individually and collectively across cyberspace. Our audience is the world, and as our stories are revealed we help to build a global understanding of the common experiences we all share.

This week’s issue offers an invaluable collection of resources on the theory, tools and practices necessary to become digital storytellers ourselves and in turn to create a generation of digital storytellers for the future."

©2005 Walter McKenzie

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