- Make sure the quality of the story doesn’t get lost in the production. Story Maps are a good start, but using a Visual Portrait of the Story is even better. See also Ken Adams’ Story Spine.
- Music will override images when setting the mood for the story. It is the adjectives and adverbs of the digital story. Choose it carefully.
- The sound quality is greatly improved if a wireless collar microphone is used when capturing video from a distance.
- Creative Commons has added more tabs to it’s search page, including Google Images, which high school students seem to favor.
- Stories should be 2-5 minutes in length.
We currently have several high school teachers working on digital storytelling projects with their students. For their projects, the students are using Creative Commons licensed media, that is media that is not copyright protected, but that is licensed with permission for use. I’ve been bookmarking the Fusion: Finding Copyright Free Media on the students’ stations, as well as modeling locating, downloading, and crediting sources. The students are creating their own media as well using digital cameras, headsets, and Flip video cameras. We’ve required a contract signed by both students and parents when checking out any equipment to take home.
We are using Photostory for projects involving just images. This tool is free, easy to use, and automatically adds animation to turn the collection of images, text, narration, and music into a video. The built-in music selection is a big time saver. Most students seems to be able to find an option that work well with their presentations. The recording of narration is easy using the new headsets that we checked out from the library, but can be a bit intimidating for students the first time. For projects involving video, we are using Windows Movie Maker, another free tool. You can see the Fusion: Digital Storytelling webpage for handouts, examples, links to software downloads, templates, etc.
The students have created project folders to store all their media, the project file, a document crediting sources, and the production file. When it’s showtime, the teacher can access a student’s documents folder, open the project folder, and then open the production file to play the story in Windows Media Player. This single file can then be uploaded to a video sharing site, such as Vimeo, and then linked to embedded on a class website.
The story below was created by one of Mrs. Hession’s Child Development students. This class did a great job on their first storytelling project. I appreciate Mrs. Hession’s willingness to take a risk, try something new.