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Digital Storytelling

image of several faces

Digital storytelling is a short form of digital media production that allows everyday people to share aspects of their life story. The media used may include the digital equivalent of film techniques (full-motion video with sound), animation, stills or audio.

Everyone has many powerful stories to tell and people who believe they are mundane, uninteresting, or unmemorable possess beneath this mask a vivid, complex, and rich body of stories just waiting to be told”.- Center for Digital Storytelling

It is a relatively new term and medium to describe the new practice of digitally archiving. Through new digital technologies, we can now take images and record a range of digital narratives. Cheaper technologies and open access, has now allowed the act of digital storytelling and digital narratives open to all. Digital Storytelling is a new form of communication that can enhance community engaged projects, by teaching digital skills, create intergenerational projects, empower citizens, giving voice and access to media production to under-represented communities and individuals.

It began out of the work of Joe Lambert and Dana Atchley at the Center for Digital Storytelling at U.C. Berkeley in 1993. The community of practice that has evolved from this work is based on the premise that everyone has a story to tell. Digital technologies offer particularly powerful means of conveying these stories. 2

There are several areas that digital storytelling can work successfully:

  • Education – in schools and colleges, in promotion of literary and digital skills
  • Community Activism – stories about issues, such as unemployment, drugs, health, pollution, fundraising, etc. A tool for social change.
  • Digital Citizenship – placing the technology in the hands of the learner.

Why use Digital Storytelling?

This form of storytelling fosters fosters participation, dialogue, and voice— essential tools for social change organizations to articulate and communicate their work. In community digital storytelling the stories are useful both as a process and a product. As a process, it can build digital skills, in reflection and critical thinking: oral, written and visual storytelling, and a multimedia production. As a product, it is a pro-active tool that community groups and grassroots organizations can use for social change, to articulate and communicate their work, to a large audience, for a small budget. Participants who are engaged in the creation of a digital story, they use a variety of skills: researching, writing, organizing, presenting, creating story content, interviewing, problem-solving, assessing, as well as employing interpersonal and technology skills.


Digital storytelling is the modern expression of the ancient art of storytelling. Throughout history, storytelling has been used to share knowledge, wisdom, and values. Stories have taken many different forms. Stories have been adapted to each successive medium that has emerged, from the circle of the campfire to the silver screen, and now the computer screen. 3


To give a better idea of the possibilities of Digital Storytelling, here are some Irish projects that have taken place:

Living in Direct Provision

Counterpoint Arts in collaboration with NGO partners, Integrating Ireland and the Refugee Information Service, enabling 9 storytellers to engage in a collaborative process that integrated storytelling, group and individual reflection, creative writing, photography, and the use of multi-media technologies.

This is the story of a digital storytelling project that undertaken in Leckaun Primary School, with a class of 25 junior infant boys using ICT to enhance learning in Literacy in their first year in primary school.

“Dublin: A Great Place to Start” Parnell Square Cultural Quarter digital storytelling project celebrating some of the new beginnings that happen every day in Dublin 1 where plans are being developed for the City Library @ The Parnell Square Cultural Quarter.


Websites for Further Research: Tools, Practicals, and Stories


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_storytelling
  2. http://www.digitalstoryteller.org/docs/languagearts.htm
  3. http://electronicportfolios.com/digistory/
  4. Burgess, J. E. (2006). Hearing ordinary voices: Cultural studies, vernacular creativity and digital storytelling. Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, 20(2), 201-214. Retrieved August 16, 2011, from http://eprints.qut.edu.au/6243/1/6243.pdf



So, what do you think ?