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Digital Storytelling


Art, Computers & Internet, Language Arts, Social Studies  


9, 10, 11, 12  

Title – Digital Storytelling
By – Jennifer Henson
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Secondary Subjects – Computers / Internet, Social Studies, Art
Grade Level – 9-12

NCTE/IRA English Lanuage Arts Standards Addressed:

4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.

5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.

12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

General Goal(s):

To encourage students to use electronic media to tell a personal story in a creative way.

Time Required:

  • One class period to define digital storytelling and show examples
  • One week out of class for students to gather materials
  • One week in and/or out of class for students to prepare final reports

Specific Outcomes:

  • Students will be able to describe the three major concepts of a digital story discussed in class.
  • Students will create a story that is structured with a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Students will use a range of media, such as sound, animations, photos, and text to tell a story.
  • Students will ensure that their media work together to convey the plot and emotion of the story.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to express a personal experience using media technology.

Required Materials:

  • Mac or PC with appropriate digital storytelling program, such as Photo Story 3 for Windows or iPhoto for Mac
  • Personal collection of digital photographs or digital camera
  • Access to public domain or personally created music

Anticipatory Set/Lead-In:

  • Introduce the concept of digital storytelling and show students several examples of digital stories.
  • Create and share your own story


  1. Ensure that you understand the specific definition of a digital story and that you have reviewed several samples.
  2. Outline a concept for a digital story. You may wish to review your image bank to see if you can build something from existing images. Alternately, you may wish to create a concept, and then take photographs to build your story.
  3. Determine whether you will include animations, voice over, or background music.
  4. Ensure that anything you use in your story, whether it be a photo, animation, music, or audio, is not copyright protected.
  5. Put your digital story together and ensure that it is cohesive.
  6. Save your story in a format that we can share with the class and across Mac/PC platforms.

Plan for Independent Practice:

  • This activity is designed for students to work independently.
  • The students’ mission is to tell a story that is based on a personal experience.
  • Students are expected to work independently, both in creating a topic and in conveying the circumstances and emotion of the experience.

Closure: Reflection

Describe in a short essay the process you used to create this story, using the following questions as a guide:

  • Did you stick with your original plan when creating your story, or did it change and evolve?
  • Describe the art of digital storytelling.
  • Describe any personal epiphanies or experiences you had while creating your digital story.
  • Describe how abstract symbols might be used to tell a story, rather than concrete representations.


Students will be awarded a maximum of 20 points for fully addressing each of the specific outcomes provided above.


  • This activity is ideally suited for visual learners.
  • For students who are not accustomed to expressing themselves visually, you may wish to have them create an outline and submit it to you in advance.
  • Review the outline to ensure that they understand the important role of using visuals instead of text in this assignment.

Extension/Cross-Disciplinary Connection:

Social Studies – Create a digital story that describes a popular event in history using personal portraits or images taken from your life.

E-Mail Jennifer Henson !

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