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One of the first digital storytelling projects is a  to use 4-7 images to tell a story. I allowed students to either use images without words or with some text, like a comic strip. The exercise is to be relatively simple, but to work on using images more than text to convey the story. How do you show emotion, the obstacle and the resolution, or tension in images? How can you create a connection to the characters? How do you do this without words? The goal is to get a complete story down to the basic or only the necessary details.

As I explained before, here is an example I had fun with.

Second Example

For my second example in this story format I use photos. Trying the same story of the hungry dog that I used before, I wanted to use my own dog – the inspiration for the story originally. So I got some shots of my own dog, Lola (a rescue from Ozark Homeward Bound) and put them together.

What Lola Wants . . .

Dog story

This is the simple version. I also wanted to see how it was with thought bubbles like I tried in the cartoon, so I did this to it:

Dog story2

So, I like the photo story overall, it is one that I live daily. For the viewer (you), it should pull up some emotion – even if for no other reason than dogs are cute.

But how is it as digital storytelling?

Well, it gets the idea or the full “story” across fine. I like it without the thought bubbles, they seem to be “overkill” and unnecessary, especially used in every frame. I know people use them a lot to make sure the reader/viewer gets the idea. Sometimes they are needed to drive home the point you want. But here they are not needed.

By the way, I found the thought bubbles in MSWord – Insert – Shapes – Callouts. They are a little tricky, but once you get how to edit them it is quite simple. The layout is simply inserting pictures into a MSWord document. I saved it as a PDF, but that could not be shown here, so I opened the PDF (it automatically opened in Preview on my Mac) and exported it as a JPEG. A lot of steps, I know, but not too difficult.

You should be aware of the fact that working with untrained animals is beyond frustrating, and it takes a lot of time. I had to keep a camera handy during odd times and hope that the behavior continued even with the distraction of me doing something different and pointing a camera at her.

The last two pictures were filters in an app on my iPad called Clips. It is for video, but you can export a still from it. I like the look of the “cartoon” filter and the “line” filter – it would be good for some stories to convey a different feel. I pretty much had to use them here to get the example done without taking a couple more days to catch my dog in the pose. She knows how to “sit up” but does not do it on command – only when she wants something, then we have to figure out what it is. “doggie treats” is often the answer.

Let me know what you think! (about the dog OR the digital story)

. . . (to be continued)