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Planning Your Digital Story

Digital storytelling has been in popular existence since the 1960s. Video became popular for telling stories that could be shaped very easily with the video equipment of the time. It was easier, perhaps, to have short films since in those early times, film required a bit of handy-work taping the sections together to make the story complete.

I recall using this type of film in those days and many of the instructors talked about putting together a short film/short story to get started. As a result, short film stories became a specific genre that took about 5-6 minutes of watching time. Awards were given for these short films. In later times, we even had film contests for schools and these films were of this short 5-6 minute length. With my own students, I put together a short film and submitted it to a national competition. We won that in 1981. Many people, not into film, were very impressed that someone would be working in this genre and teaching elementary students to do this. In those days, film was more distant from public creation than it is today.

I kept making short films with students and as the decades passed, film turned into digital form. I had learned a great deal, however, by using slide-by-slide film. It helped to understand how the eye sees/reads moving images. After that a shift from film to digital took place.

I began making digital stories back in the 1980s. It later became a specific genre called digital storytelling. Since that time, short stories have become more and more ubiquitous. The popularity of digital stories has grown.

Digital storytelling is a great space for learning storytelling and the shortness provides a great length for critiquing, sharing, and developing one's skills in this genre.