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.
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