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My Journey in Digital Storytelling

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David Sampson

on 20 October 2016

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Transcript of My Journey in Digital Storytelling

My Journey in Digital Storytelling

Some of the places I've been
by David Sampson

Where I started
This is where my journey began, as a new student in Learning with Digital Stories. I knew a little bit about digital storytelling from earlier classes, but now it was time to explore further. One of the first things I came to appreciate is the variety that encompasses digital storytelling. Whether it was blog posts, videos, image collections, or a variety of other story telling mediums, it has been exciting to explore them all.

And one of the other things that became apparent early on was that the heart of good storytelling is the story itself. All of the technology in the world can't make a bad story good. But the simplest technology can be more than enough to share a good story that engages, has emotional quality, and makes us want to know more.

Join me as I share some of my classmates insights and creative contributions to digital storytelling.
How to live to be 100
A story brought to us by Louiza Kondilis (see below for the link) about a man who was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given nine to eleven months to live. Instead of giving up he decided to live what was left of his life to its fullest and moved to the island of Icarus (part of the Blue Zone where people are known to live over 100+ years). After he moved to the island where his friend lived, he enjoyed good food and drank wine every day for the next 30 years. Not only was this an inspiring story about the man (Stamatis) refusing to give up and die, but it's also a nicely produced video that used old photos as a way to show flashbacks into his past. I found this technique of using photos in the video to show a timeline to be very interesting and I hope to use it in my future storytelling.
Digital Storytelling for Students with Learning Disabilities
Matthew Kubiak shared an article with us about how students with learning disabilities can often find their storytelling voice with digital stories even though they may not be good at writing stories. This article really struck a chord with me because it made me reflect on how not all good stories are written, and that as instructors we should not automatically assume that a learning disability means the person doesn't have a good story to tell. And as Matt pointed out, people with learning disabilities can be any age, and from any background. How many good stories have never been told because someone didn't meet the criteria of a particular classroom setting.
Zombies! Run!
Many thanks to Stephanie Flynn for bringing zombies into the world (or at least our class). I've really enjoyed her focus on zombies, and especially liked the app she shared called Zombies! Run! It's designed for both runners and regular walkers (like me) to get out and explore our environments. It's based on the idea that as you're out and about, there is a story about the zombies that are all around you, and you need to avoid them, or collect items, etc. to move the story along. This app is a great example of an emmersive experience that tells a great story. Pokemon move over, it's getting dark and the zombies are on the move! With over 200 stories on the app it is a great lesson on how to use digital storytelling to experience other worlds.
After the Storm
Lisa Fish brings us one of the most fascinating stories that I have viewed in this class. It is the story of a reporter who lived through the powerful tornado that struck Tuscaloosa, Alabama on April 27, 2011. Not only is the story an emotionally wrenching drama about how he huddled in the closet with his wife, only to emerge from the closet to find a large swath of the city he had known missing. But it's also an amazing use of technology and story production that uses videos, sounds, and interactive web actions as part of the storytelling. I often found myself just as absorbed in how they were telling the story as I was with the story itself. There is an emphasis on sounds throughout the story that makes it both haunting and emotional
Robert Piper shared with us a story about a man coming to grips with his family and how he interacted with the different people in his family. And how some times it's the simplest things that make a family who they are. The narrator talks about how he would sit around the table when he was young and often talk about food. Whether it was the price of potatoes or the bread that they had in front of them. And by the end of the story he comes to realize that when his grandfather Josef is dying that it's not really important what they talked about, it was that they spent time together and shared the moments that made them who they are. And he was now doing the same thing with his own daughters. What I liked most about this digital story was the way the producer used a combination of video clips and photos to giveus a sense of being with the family, even though most of the images are from the 40s and 50s. I also liked the music which gave the viewers an upbeat sense of time passing by.
Immigration from Senegal to Spain
And finally, from Meissa Samba, a story about the migration of people from Senegal to Spain. As with all migrations, it's about looking for a better life where there are more opportunities. And I felt especially grateful to Meissa for sharing this story because the impact of the migration is something that he has experienced personally with his family and friends. On the other side of the world we hear about the desperate struggle to find that better life, but it's always in the abstract. But for us, as Meissa's classmates, we need to take a closer look so that we never forget that it's closer than we realize, and we're all inhabitants of the same planet.

And I thought the video and story were effective at giving the viewer a sense of what it's like to venture out on one of the rickety boats.. There was an emphasis on the one boat that didn't make it very far because water was leaking in so badly. All of the shots of the boat and how poorly constructed it was gave me a real sense of the desperation that these people must feel to take that much of a risk.
Not the end, only a mid-point
And so we've reached the end of this gallery walk, but not the class. I'm looking forward to more stories and insights shared by my classmates. I have been intrigued by the use of photos as a way to include a timeline in a video story. A number of the stories I shared in this journey use this technique, and it can be a very powerful tool.

I also look forward to using the daily creates and other DS106 assignments to inspire me to new, creative ideas. I've enjoyed figuring out how to do these assignments. I plan to use the knowledge I've gained from my readings to help me explore and understand my topic (the beautiful game) and continue to look for interesting, funny, and insightful stories.
This story gave me a sense of flipping through an old photo album, but with some of the images moving. I hope to use this technique in my own storytelling
Narrated in native voices, this video gives us a good feel for what it must be like to board the boats for Spain. And with great sorrow, we see at the end those who gave up their lives trying to find that better life.
The story blends so nicely with the images of Stamatis life. And a very effective use of old video interspersed with the pictures brings the story to life
Making opportunities for everyone to tell their story is a fundamental challenge for all of us.
Finding the story in our surroundings helps us be more aware of where we are. And who is around us....
Animation can be a powerful tool in storytelling. In this story, watching the animated trees and houses disappear can give us a sense of how powerful the storm was.
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