Digital Storytelling and Education

Some time back I came across the suggestion (by Richard Feynman, I think?) that if a scientist could not explain what they did to a nonscientist in 15 minutes or less, they were a quack. This may be a little too harsh – in my experience, the difficulty many scientists have in communicating what they do has less to do with quackery and more to do with the fact that, unlike Feynman, they are poor or downright bad storytellers. Which brings me to the subject of today’s post: digital storytelling.
Digital storytelling can best be viewed as an expansion of traditional storytelling arts and techniques. My own introduction to the subject came some years back via Joe Lambert, Nina Mullen, and the late Dana Atchley. Their creation, the Center for Digital Storytelling, can be reached at I strongly recommend checking this site out – it contains excellent examples of the craft, as well as resources for those people interested in implementing digital storytelling programs. More recently, Scott Rosenberg has started a site called Storyvine (at with a good collection of links, materials, and news on digital storytelling.
I would argue that digital storytelling has an important role to play in education at all levels. For one thing, it provides students and teachers with a rich and interesting range of concepts and tools to express their ideas in ways they might not have thought possible before. For another, it has the potential to revive the interest of jaded students – perhaps worn out by one too many of those lethal “What I Did During My Summer Vacation” assignments – in telling stories, and telling them well.
Many people have fascinating stories to tell about their work that deserve a better audience, both within and without the bounds of their own disciplines – this is one way to teach them how to tell these stories.

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