As spring came with new flowers blooming, and as we just brought home our new rescue puppy, I got my camera out, naturally. Friends wanted to see pics of Lola, and I always like to remember what spring flowers look like when I’m enjoying the snow of winter.
While reviewing the images I just captured, I started to scroll back even further. It seems as I downloaded images from my camera to my computer, I did not delete them off the camera. With a 16 gig. SD card, it didn’t seem necessary. As I continued to browse through my images, it took me back in time several years.
I recalled the conference in Italy (where I received the “Best Paper” award: LMS for Student Assessment). I relived helping my daughter move to LA and getting stuck at the airport when my flight home was cancelled. I smiled looking at my finished model car I got as a Christmas present (it has about a 2×4 inch wheel base and required needle-nose pliers and a magnifying glass to complete). I again enjoyed the sculpture in the Milan airport. And relived the view flying over Chicago. There were other people and events from the past few years. They were all there in front of me again.
It was a chapter of my life story preserved digitally.
I’ve read articles about digital storytelling , such as The Year in Interactive Storytelling. I’ve read about how it is used in education and elsewhere, such as storytelling in STEM education, storytelling in business messages, and even immersive storytelling in virtual worlds for charitable causes. I try to figure out how to incorporate such activities into my own classes, or how knowing about digital storytelling could help my students in my class or others. I even looked through an online course about story telling (The Future of Storytelling).
Now, from the simple activity of looking at my pictures, I understand another perspective of digital storytelling. Simply keeping a visual “history” in our digital cameras can do it. Now, that is simple enough that anyone can learn the process. Then we can discuss the many applications – for business, nonprofits, education, etc.
What did I learn? Besides the fact that I have half of my SD card still available, and that I should remember to back up my stuff (again), I learned the breadth and depth of digital storytelling is really quite simple. I learned, or was reminded, that the visual image, still or moving, captures much more than can often be told (you know, the “picture is worth 1,000 words” thing), and this is much of what digital storytelling really is about. Not just information; not just about the story from beginning to end; but about the feelings and emotions captured and conveyed. Those are the things that should drive our use of digital storytelling.
Again – it is not because we CAN (use technology, go digital), it is because we SHOULD. What works best? If it is digital storytelling, then use it. If it is not digital or technology enabled, then don’t use technology. But do consider that often, even with technology, it can be very simple.