Friday, March 18, 2011

What is Digital Storytelling?

Digital storytelling is described simply as a digital explanation of what needs to be well explained.  I used a program called Prezi to create a Digital Storytelling “Prezi”, as I was told by my professor, the company doesn’t like the reference of a presentation when referring to the creation that is made with Prezi.  I first read about digital media from Teachers Discovering Computers Integrating Technology and Digital Media in the Classroom.  It gave me insight to the new additions to presenting and administering lessons in the classroom.
            The term digital media has great importance in education as we have more visual learners emerging each year.  This media includes Text, Graphics, Animation, Audio and video elements.  The application of this software can be used to greatly improve learning of students, as it simply makes learning more fun and interesting.  The most widely used application is software applications that are used across a variety of computer platforms.  These would include personal computers such as a Mac or IBM compatible computers.  The applications of multimedia is used for computer based instruction and interactive software in the classroom.  Other applications can be in the form of electronic books, how to guides, digital media such as E-Zines, Entertainment and Edutainment formats.  Even more advanced applications are Virtual reality or VR which can be used for gaming or real life simulations.  The real world applications of multimedia are information Kiosks, web based training, and distance learning.  Interactive software mentioned earlier allows for great leaps in education.  It allows for individualized instruction simultaneously throughout a diverse classroom.  It encourages creativity, critical thinking, and creation of digital media presentations, and support for core academic subjects.  As a whole the use of multimedia in the classroom greatly enhances learning and improves achievement for students in the classroom.
            I first went through and looked at several projects that gave me an idea of how a presentation should look.  I also outlined and sketched my basic ideas and key points to make in the presentation.  I used the book and an online YouTube presentation to gain the knowledge of the specifics to what Digital Storytelling should look like, what components it needs to include, and how it is used by teachers.  I then used Prezi to create a layout of key words and phrases to include in my display.  The most important part was how to use Digital Storytelling to enhance the classroom.  I think that the excitement by students to see another media, rather than just seeing the teacher lecturing was a big advantage.  Also the fact that you can pace at any speed or overcome interruptions was key to why I would use this as a tool in the classroom.  Including the versatility of being able to show things at any time, with the added fact that some things can’t be brought into a classroom but could be shown in the classroom really showed me the advantages to using Digital Storytelling as an enhancement for teaching lessons.  I would definitely use this the most in science.  As budgets are tight, and hands-on experiments are part of the new Science benchmarks, using a video to show an experiment, and have it go right the first time, not like normal when things always go wrong, would definitely improve class involvement.  Most of the time there isn’t enough supplies to go around.  But to be able to show a science experiment done correctly instead of just reading about it or displaying it for students to watch would make all the difference in understand and retaining the information.  Also it would be great to use as review before tests or when students seem to forget what was taught at the beginning of the school year. 
            I think I did quite well, the only problems I had were organizing and discovering how to use the tools for Prezi correctly.  After view the tutorial and some trial and error I came up with a good Prezi, remember their not called presentations.  I enhanced my presentation with clipart, and was thankful to have learned earlier this semester how to use Google to find a vast variety of images.  I decided to use all cartoon images, because well I teach elementary school and I think cartoons are friendlier.  I think that this could be used and enhanced by using photos if I needed real life examples for students to view or if they needed to see certain examples.  The only part I had trouble with was the embedding part, but figured it out with the help menu.  The hardest part was getting the order and view of each slide just the way I wanted it.  I had wanted to add some audio but couldn’t find a song that went and therefore didn’t explore the possibility of using audio on Prezi.  I did however look and didn’t see that option.  I’m thinking some other software programs may have that option more visible, but as I explored the creation portion I didn’t find it easy to locate.  Well click below to see my first Prezi on Digital Storytelling.

Shelly, Gunter, Gunter (2010) Teachers Discovering Computers Integrating Technology and Digital Media in the Classroom Sixth edition. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.


  1. I really enjoyed viewing your prezi! I love that you were able to incorporate clip art images! I struggled with discovering how to insert images into my Prezi! I too , had trouble organizing my ideas when using Prezi for the first time. I feel that if and when I create another presentation using Prez, that I will be able to navigate more freely. By using cartoon images for elementary aged students was a great idea. I would like to learn how to insert a video clip or music to my next Prezi. I will use google to help me learn how to do that, since it helped you insert pictures.
    Do you believe that by using Prezi in your classroom will help engage your students? I am wondering how I will incorporate this program into my classroom.

  2. You said: "Also the fact that you can pace at any speed or overcome interruptions was key to why I would use this as a tool in the classroom."

    I have to say, I'm a little confused. I can definitely see the benefits of pacing it at any speed, but how can you use Prezi to "overcome interruptions"? Could you please explain?

    You also said, "The only part I had trouble with was the embedding part, but figured it out with the help menu."

    The embedding stymied me as well. My blog is on Wordpress and apparently they don't play well with others. I had to go through several tutorials and help menus before I found a post that explained exactly what I had to do. I'm glad that Blogger was a much smoother experience.

    Thanks for your post!