Storytelling in the 21st Century


Photo from Microsoft Office Clipart

Storytelling has been around since the dawn of time.  People have always shared stories with each other.  Cave drawings, oral storytelling around campfires and during family time, writers creating stories with written word, now, people are moving into using digital mediums to share their stories. 


People are using the internet to share their stories in a variety of ways; writing blogs to share with family about their children, writing blogs to share ideas, tweeting, updating status’ on facebook, creating videos on youtube and websites, using various software products to create stories with photos and videos.  The use of Web 2.0 tools and other software to tell stories in a multimedia format has been growing and will continue to grow as software makes it easier to create.  Alexander and Levine, state, “web 2.0 storytelling is a useful composition platform whenever story- telling is appropriate”. (2008, p. 52)


The students in my middle school class enjoy incorporating photos and videos to enhance their stories.  The students chose events in Canada’s history that were important in a specific region they were studying.  They wrote scripts and found creative commons photos.  They used Garageband to record the scripts and then added the photos.  The project was very rewarding to them and gave them a different sort of outlet to share the information they were learning.  Currently they are working on iMovie’s about a favourite field study trip they have taken this year.  Some are approaching it as an interview, others as a travel advertisement – I can’t wait to see the results!  I plan to share them with my next year students as we are planning some of our field study trips. 


Reading a couple of articles this week about place based storytelling has given me something to think about over the summer.  Dyck, 2005, defines place-based storytelling as, “as adaptation of digital storytelling that combines digital mapping tools with the power of the narrative”.  In our school, where we are out of the building a minimum of 2 times per month with our students, we spend a fair amount of time in the community where the school is located.  She spoke about using the Community Walk Web Site to create a story using a map, photos and stories about certain locations.   I think it might be interesting to start a story about our community that others in the school could add on to as they are out and learning. 


Have your students begun to use digital storytelling to help tell their stories yet?



Dyck, B. (2005) Using place-based storytelling to teach geographical thinking. Retrieved from

Bryan, A., Levine, A. (2008) Storytelling: Emergence of a new genre. Retrieved from


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Storytelling in the 21st Century

  1. Carl says:

    The act of story-telling has definitely been impacted by the recent advances in technology! There are so many more tools out there to help tell a story than there once was. However, in order for these tools to be effective there has to be education and training for our teachers on how to use these software programs. Judge, Puckett and Cabuk (2004) believe that “teacher familiarity, confidence, and skill in choosing software and integrating technology into the curriculum are dependent on teacher training and time for self-directed exploration and learning. Due to the relative newness of computer technology, many teachers have not received adequate training to select appropriate technologies and lack support to use them” (Judge et al., 2004). Teachers must be given the training and the resulting knowledge of the programs available and how to use them effectively in order for students to receive all the positive effects of these digital story-telling mediums.

    Judge, S., Puckett, K., & Cabuk, B. (2004). Digital equity: New findings from the early childhood longitudinal study. Journal of research on technology in education, 36, 383-396.

  2. ttallerico says:


    Place-based story telling seems to be a natural fit with the kind of work you are doing with your students. Teachers usually have their children reflect on their learning after each field study to synthesize their new knowledge however with the number that your student are able to take, adding place-based story telling would be a interesting new option.

    Your idea of beginning a Community Walk Website that the whole school could contribute to is a great idea (and definitely one I would love to borrow if that is okay). It makes me wonder if your own students could create an Alberta Walk Website they that add to after each field trip so that they could see breadth of experiences they have had and a visual representation of what they have accomplished over the year – a “map full of memories and meaning” (Dyck, 2005).

    What I especially find exciting about the work you do with your students is that it is inherently inquiry based and it requires a multidisciplinary approach to successfully enable student’s to develop their critical understandings and document their learning. Guhlin (2008) quotes Dyck who “refers to science teacher, Joselyn Todd wonder[ing] about having students use place-based storytelling to relate the migration or extinction of a species.” I’m not sure if this would work with your content but it sounded like a neat idea.


    Dyck, B. (2005) Using place-based storytelling to teach geographical thinking. Retrieved from

    Guhlin, M (2008). Place-based storytelling. Retrieved from

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s