Digital Story Critique 4: Bear

This week, I chose to critique Bear, a digital story about… you guessed it… bears!

Before the story even begins, the creators warn you that the presentation will be 20 minutes long.

At the very beginning, the creators hook you with the phrase “There aren’t a lot of ways for a grizzly bear to die. At least, that’s the way it was in the wild.” And then launches into video footage of a bear, wandering around, minding her own business. Some park rangers take her down with a tranquilizer dart and then tag her and put a collar around her neck. The creators have decided at this point to use audio as the voice of the bear. The video stops but the audio continues and the screen goes to an interactive map. You can navigate through the map with your mouse. You are also given the option to activate your camera and microphone. There does appear to be some issue with the technology.

To critique this digital story, I chose the following criteria from Jason Ohler’s Digital Storytelling Assessments page: Media Application, Originality, and Presentation & Performance.

Digital Story Evaluation Criteria
 Media Application Was the use of media appropriate, supportive of the story, balanced and well considered? 8
Problem solving & innovation Is the story original and told with a sense of personal voice? Did the creator overcome problems and obstacles to pursue their story? 10
Execution Creator used images to creatively tell the story behind the words. Creator uses his or her natural speaking voice, as well as music (optional) and effects (optional) to support (without taking away from) the meaning of his or her story. 10
Total 28

I thought this was an excellent digital story. The story was interesting and telling it from the bear’s point of view was creative. However, there were a few issues that I had with the overall presentation that made the presentation a little clunkier than I would have liked. Primarily, when you get to the map portion of the presentation, there appeared to be some technical glitches. They may have been due to incompatibility with my browser or with missing files.

One of the things I am finding with most of the digital stories that I have critiqued to date is that, despite their interactivity, they seem to be static. And by that I mean the creator made the story, but then did not go back to do maintenance or update it. This is a good and a bad thing. I guess a story is what it is… a story told at a point in time about a point in time. However, one of the things I am learning in this class is that technology and digital platforms should seek to be more than their non digital counterparts. So, it would be nice to see the sites at least maintained, even if they aren’t being added to.

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