INF533 • Assessment Item 4 • Part C

This subject has opened my eyes to the affordances of digital storytelling as opposed to the affordances of storytelling in a non digital environment. Storytelling in a digital environment makes it much easier to share the story than it would otherwise be. Interactive digital storybooks such as SHERLOCK: Interactive Adventure and The History of Jazz: An Interactive Timeline provide a much more immersive experience for the user. Instead of reading a factual piece on World War I in a traditional printed book you can read a multimodal digital story about World War I and feel like you’re actually there witnessing what you’re reading. In other words, digital storytelling has the potential to be much more engaging and immersive than storytelling of the past.

Serafini and Youngs (2013) state that reading was predominantly an individual experience in the past whereas digital storytelling is much more social in that new and emerging digital platforms allow the reader to share responses to texts on a global platform. As an example, I recently published a digital story using the Shorthand Social platform. Anyone viewing my digital story can immediately get in contact with me via my author page.

Digital storytelling also offers versatility in the sense that many ebooks include text-to-speech options, dictionaries and note-taking. This is something most traditional print books do not provide.

Moreover, digital storytelling platforms like Shorthand Social and Microsoft Sway make it easy for anyone to self-publish. Whereas in the past it was quite difficult for a budding author to find a publisher, nowadays a budding author can publish to a much wider audience. Moreover, these tools are so easy to use that an author can have their digital content on the Internet within minutes.

Of course, now that anyone and everyone can be a prosumer, anyone who is creating a digital story needs to be aware of intellectual property issues that can and do arise. For example, its important to avoid infringing copyright on images, music, video and text. If you are using an image in your digital story and the image was not created by you then you most probably do not own the copyright on that image. Therefore, you should make every effort to find out who has the copyright on the image and then contact them to get their permission to use the image. If you don’t then you’re putting yourself at risk of being taken to court for breach of copyright.

One of the other issues associated with digital storytelling and one that I have touched on previously is that of streaming media. A YouTube video that was viewable yesterday may not be viewable today. If you have created a digital story which includes an embedded YouTube video then you run the risk of your embedded video not being viewable in the future. If you have embedded YouTube videos that you created and uploaded to YouTube then you are unlikely to have this problem. However, if you have embedded someone else’s YouTube videos in your digital story then it is entirely possible that at some point in the future your embedded YouTube video will be removed from YouTube. As a result, anyone trying to view the YouTube video in your digital story will not be able to do so. This is just one of the problems associated with digital storytelling.

Also, currency is important with digital storytelling. A historical digital story may need to be updated from time to time. For example, the story may be a feature on a historical figure who is still alive. Once that person has passed away the digital story should be updated. However, if the digital story has been developed as an app then its possible that the developer may, for commercial reasons, no longer be interested in maintaining the app.

As an educator, I know that digital storytelling is a powerful teaching and learning tool. In particular, a learner’s digital literacy can be greatly boosted by their use of digital storytelling tools. These tools (many of which are free) make it easy for learners to create their own digital stories by combining text, images, video, music, etc. Learners can do this by themselves or collaboratively with others. After having created their personal multimedia stories the learners can then share them with others.

References

Alexander, B. (2011). The New Digital Storytelling: Creating Narratives with New Media. ABC-CLIO.

Leu, D.J. et al (2011). The new literacies of online reading comprehension: Expanding the literacy and learning curriculum. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 55(1), 5-14. doi: 10.1598/JAAL.55.1.1

Serafini, F. (2013). Reading Workshop 2.0. Reading Teacher, 66(5), 401-404. http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=pbh&AN=92711892&site=ehost-live

Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment (Ch. 13). In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers. Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA). https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/walsh-m3.pdf

Yokota, J. & Teale, W. H. (2014). Picture books and the digital world: educators making informed choices. The Reading Teacher, 34(6). Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/3886534/Picture_Books_and_the_Digital_World_Educators_ Making_Informed_Choices

The Backstory To My Backstory On The Late Antonio Giordano (1907-1984)

The above digital storytelling project is about the life of the late Antonio Giordano, an Italian journalist, author and community leader who arrived in Australia in 1924 as a stowaway before going on to make a significant contribution to the migrant experience.

I am convinced that my digital storytelling project could be used in a number of different contexts. As an example, my current employer—an educational institution here in Victoria—consists of two colleges, namely the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce (ASSC) and the College of Science, Health and Engineering (SHE). I believe both Colleges could use my project as a prototype of a visually engaging, interactive, digital story developed using an emerging new learning platform, namely Shorthand Social. I see platforms like Shorthand Social, Shorthand Pro and Microsoft Sway as exciting new digital storytelling platforms which will help to bring history to life and make it so much more immersive than it has been in the past.

In fact, I have already had a preliminary conversation with an academic from the School’s Department of Languages and Linguistics and hope to have similar conversations with other academics across both colleges in the near future. The Shorthand Social platform lends itself to several different disciplines including history, languages, journalism and design. In terms of my specific project I believe my audience to be historians, students of history, history teachers, students of Italian, teachers of Italian, journalists, students of design, students of journalism, biographers, academics and writers as well as anyone interested in anthropology.

Moreover, there are several local organisations that may be interested in my digital story including the Italian Australian Institute at La Trobe University, the Museo Italiano, the Italian Historical Society, the Immigration Museum and the Melbourne Museum. As well as that, similar institutions in other states may also be interested since I know for a fact that Giordano spent time in every Australian state except for Tasmania plus the Northern Territory. I can see the Italian community both here and interstate viewing my digital story then wanting to create their own digital stories. There may even be some overseas interest in the sense that in 1969 Giordano received an award “in recognition of his work on behalf of Sicilian immigrants in Australia” from Il Centro Orientamento Emigrati Siciliani (COES) in Italy. Even after all this time its possible that this particular organisation may still be interested in Giordano. Last but not least, I believe Giordano’s Estate here in Australia as well as his descendants in Italy may be interested in the contents of my digital story.

This project was conceived as an opportunity to create an engaging multimedia feature article on specific events in the life of Giordano. I should point out that I’ve always been interested in social history and I saw this digital storytelling project as a perfect opportunity to create something which would hopefully inspire others to act. In other words, I wanted to take advantage of the affordances of the platform and create a piece of social history which would transcend the book.

In doing so I was keen to make my digital story as interactive and immersive as possible. I didn’t want my creation to look or feel like a traditional biography in the form of a book. I wanted to share an interesting story and at the same time create something entirely new. Something which would exist only in the digital realm and which would by definition be available to just about anyone, anywhere and at anytime. Assuming of course, that they have a reliable internet connection.

I hope that my digital story on Antonio Giordano will resonate with audiences both far and wide. My story is currently available to the digital public across the world 365 days a year and I am hopeful that it will be well received. Ultimately, I would like to see it being used perhaps as an example of a new and innovative way of presenting historical information. Perhaps my story will inspire a whole new generation of budding family historians to do something constructive with those shoe boxes full of old photos and letters. I hope so.