Digital Storytelling Portfolio

If you have been following my blog, you know that my semester has primarily been devoted to my capstone for my MPA program. Well, I am happy to report that I defended my capstone Tuesday night and passed. I am so happy to have that behind me! And soon I will have my diploma in hand.

This class has been a lot of fun, but I am afraid I didn’t get to spend as much time on it as I would have liked. But all in all, I think I still learned plenty of things that I can take away from this class and apply to both my personal and my professional life going forward.

As part of our portfolio, we were asked to answer the question “How and why is it important to tell stories?” There are so many ways that stories are good for society. One important way is that it can get people to stand up and take notice of something that is wrong. This is illustrated in the article I chose for Week 6: Response & ReflectionThe Power of Community Storytelling.

Stories also help us to connect to each other. Andrew’s MAKE IT PERSONAL! post is a good illustration of this. As is shown in the digital story critque Stories of Travel. I was moved enough by this story to comment: “What an interesting story. Thank you for finding it and sharing it! Sometimes, it is so easy to get bogged down in our own culture and our own issues that we forget there are so many other cultures and struggles out there that are different from our own. There was a common theme in the letters… the students want President Obama to visit their country, and the students want to come to the USA. to either learn more about our country or to share ideas. I think this was a nice way to present what the class experienced while they were there, but it would have been interesting to see it presented in a more interactive format. After some of the digital stories that I have been critiquing, I have seen some interesting, interactive presentation styles that would fit this story so well. Maybe present bios about the various students with photos and then as you select each student, you can read their letter while hearing them speak (either about themselves or reading their letter out loud).”

Thank you to everyone who was on this ride with me! One last ride for you will be some highlights from the various assignments I completed and the lessons I took away from them. My focal theme was exploring my world through a digital lens.

And sometimes it might be to document an event or to entertain. In case you missed it, here is my digital story: 2 Girls, a Car, and a Mission. It would have been fun to do something fancier, but I wanted to stick with my focal theme of exploring my world through a digital lens. So I stuck to a few pictures from each event with minimal captioning. One of the things I learned from my readings was that oftentimes, photos without captioning can lose context or meaning. I think without the words, my story would have ended up being just a series of photographs that would leave the viewer wondering what’s going on. I think taking this class certainly helped me to tell this story in a more engaging way than I would have before.

Our two weekly creative outlets included the DS 106 Daily Create and the DS 106 Assignment Bank. Below, I am highlighting the ones that are most related to my focal theme:

  • #tdc1768 Create a story that explains how all of these items came to be together – While this wasn’t one of my photos, it allowed me to use a photo that was posted and my own creative captioning to explain how the items in the photo are related. This reminded me a lot of a lesson that a history teacher once told me about. He uses a page from a comic book that he photocopies for the students, with the words blanked out. He then has the students fill in the word and caption bubbles in order to explain what is going on in the comic strip. I think this is a wonderful way to get people thinking about context.
  • #tcd1759 The world needs more super heroes – This one was fun. While, again, it wasn’t a photo of my own, I ended up with an image of a super hero that I created using
  • #tdc1740 Rain or shine, my city is beautiful. And how magical is this rainbow? – This one definitely tied into my theme of exploring my world through a digital. This is a photo that I took of a rainbow while out exploring with a friend.
  • #tdc1697 It’s Just Like Riding a Bike– This is another one that directly relates to my focal theme. I took a photo of one of the Denver B-cycle bikes in my neighborhood. Then I manipulated it with an app on my phone. I uploaded the original as well as the 2 of my favorite modifications. This one was fun because the original photo was interesting by itself, but then when I did the mods, it made the photo even more interesting.
  • #tdc1725 Circles in Circles – I just got the newest iOS update for my phone and created this image using one of the new features in my texting app. While it isn’t technically a photograph, it is an image I created using the tools at my disposal. That’s anopther take-a-way from this class… you don’t need fancy tools to tell your story. The secret is in figuring out how to use the tools that you do have!
  • Visual Assignment Bank: That’s Not What I Expected – For this assignment, we were tasked to take a close up photograph of an object, showing how different perspectives can make objects unrecognizable, or at least look like something else. I selected a tree that had a very interesting color pattern.
  • Visual Assignment 1892: Can You See what I See – In this assignment, we were tasked with superimposing an image inside an eye, to make it look like that image was reflected off the eye.

My digital story critiques that are related to my focal theme:

  • My Life & Photography – Digital Story is a digital story about how the author came to love and explore photography in her life. It was a video of still images and gave an interesting look into the author’s life.
  • ‘Lest We Forget’: Carol Guzy is a photo essay of the pets that were left behind during Hurricane Katrina. It is a moving look at the animals, their owners, and their rescuers, and it fit nicely in with my theme of photography.
  • Welcome to Pinepoint – This is a digital story about the town of Pinepoint. The town existed solely to support the industry of the area. When the industry died, so did the town. The digital story offers up photos, and text, and voice recordings to tell the story of this town. I really liked the way the story unfolded and all of the cool nooks and crannies to explore.
  • Alison – This was a strict photo based story. The author displayed photos of his daughter with minimal text to give an indication of date and location. I took inspiration from this particular story because it showed me how photos can be used to elegantly tell a story, without the use of fancy technology.
  • exploration_cat – I picked this one because it was definitely photo driven, but also because it was a social media site devoted specifically to the life and adventures of this cat. If you look at the Instagram page, all you see are photos without captions. When you click on individual photos, you may or may not get captions (depending on whether or not the photographer wanted to add one). I wanted to see how well a bunch of photos without words could tell a story.

Responses & reflections on the readings and selections of scholarship:

  • For Week 2: Response & Reflection I selected Pictures of You: Photography in Digital Storytelling. I chose this article because it talked about photography as a medium for telling a story.
  • Week 4: Response & Reflection was How to Tell a Digital Story. My reasoning for reflecting on this is because of its tie to digital photography. The author uses an example of how to make coffee, and shows how photography combined with audio can make a seamless digital story. In this article, the author provides a nice outline of how to present  digital story in 10 steps.
  • The article I chose to talk about in my Week 6: Response & Reflection is The Power of Community Storytelling. This is a wonderful article that talks about exactly what the title says.. the power of community storytelling. The basic premise behind this article is that sometimes, it is the cumulative stories of many people in a community that tell the true tale. The author highlights the death and violence in Kenya after the 2007 presidential election. The president tried to keep each incident that happened separate so that the world wouldn’t piece together the horrific events that were occurring. However, when individuals began telling their stories, the world started taking notice of what was going on. This article spoke to me because the storytellers were able to submit their stories in any medium they had at their disposal, including photographs.
  • Week 11: Response & Reflection was Everyday Storytelling Through Photography. This article is another “how to” type article for using photography to tell your story. This one is applicable no matter medium you choose for your story. I really like the articles that give you a template for creating your digital story. It takes some of the fear out of the creative process.
  • Week 13: Response & Reflection was about Stories Through Sequence by Xanthe Berkeley Of Shutter Sisters. I chose this article because it focuses on photographs to tell a story. The author talks about how one photograph can tell a story, but decided that he wanted to explore the stories that can be told by photographs taken (and shared) in sequence or in a a series.

And here are some highlights from my conversations with fellow students:

  • Scholarship Response: Week 11– “Thank you for reviewing this article! I think any tips and hints for creating a good digital story are always helpful when it comes time to create our own. I especially like the idea of Adaptive Digital Storytelling. This idea makes me think of authors who write stories from different points of view. One that particularly comes to mind is Ender’s Game. This book was written from Ender’s point of view. In addition to other books from Ender’s point of view, the author also chose to tell the same story from Bean’s point of view (for those of you that haven’t read Ender’s Game, Bean is another character int he story).”
  • David’s Emotions and Interactive Digital Storytelling– “Great article choice. I love articles that look at the psychology behind things. Thank you for posting this. I found it interesting, though not surprising, that men and women had different reactions to this gaming sequence. I also like the idea of a digital story that progresses based on the reaction of the viewer. This is particularly important on works of fiction. However, when someone is telling their own story, it might be a little trickier. But it might give us a better handle on who our audience might be. It is kind of in line with how certain genres of fiction appeal to different audiences. For instance, based on the emotional aspect of this article, it would make sense that books that include human interactions and romance might be more appealing to a majority women, while books that deal in facts and hard science are typically more appealing to men.This also brings me back to a philosophy class that I took many years ago where we talked about the different types of fallacies in argument. One of the fallacies was an appeal on emotion. Basically, and argument that appealed to people’s emotions was not a really a valid argument because emotions are rarely ever tied to facts.”
  • Robert’s My Response to “The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind”– “Thank you thank you thank you for posting this! While I have not studied Buddhism or eastern philosophy much, I can definitely relate to the idea of a clear mind. I often find that my emotional reactions and intellectual reactions are so different. I try to respond to things based more on my intellect than on my emotions, because I recognize that emotions can be irrational. Your article definitely makes me want to delve more into Buddhism and eastern philosophy.”
  • Robert’s Digital Story Response No 9: “Eastern Philosophy: Wu Wei”– “I loved this video. It is so much in line with the way that I strive (yet often fail) to live my life. I think it beautifully illustrated the concept of Wu Wei. And I really like that you tied your digital story and your response & reflection together. It makes it really interesting to view both and contemplate on them.”
  • David’s post on Virtual reality and the future of storytelling– “What a great article! I love the idea of using a safe environment for students (and others) to experience the world. There are so many applications for this. With the right tools, we can place students in the middle of history, allowing them to get a better sense of how things used to be, we can place them in the middle of wars, we can let them experience other cultures and countries… the possibilities seem endless. I can also see a military application where military personnel can run various scenarios in as close to a real world setting as possible before they actually put them into action. There are probably also many therapeutic application to this technology. Families that can’t afford to travel physically, can travel virtually and get the benefits of being exposed to other cultures that used to be out of their reach. IT’s technology and possibilities like this that make me wish I were being born now.
  • Robert’s My Response to “At Last: Youth Culture and Digital Media”– “I have two points for your critique:1. I really like that you tried to find an article that related to the style of digital storytelling that you chose to create for this week. 2. I find the acronym DUSTY to be quite unfortunate for the topic of this article — lol. Dusty brings to mind someone finding an old book in an attic that is covered in dust. Though, I guess, you could look at it as taking an old concept (storytelling) and dusting it off and presenting it in a new way (digital storytelling). So, that being said, maybe DUSTY isn’t so bad after all. Great article. Digital storytelling is a great way to instill all of the concepts mentioned in the article in a way that is both fun and engaging for students.”
  • Undead Unlimited’s “I REMEMBER!”– “I love the theme of your blog I am a fan of all things Zombie/Undead! This is such an interesting concept, the hybridization between watching an doing. As I was reading your blog I thought that I would love to start looking for more gaming sites that showcase the idea of involved storytelling… where the game doesn’t necessarily tells the story, but the story unfolds as you work your way through the game. As I think back through my childhood and adulthood, the games I have always enjoyed the most were the ones where there was a story that unfolded. And the deeper I got into the game, the bigger and more real the story seemed to become. Basically, yes, I was always a fan of RPGs (think Zelda and Final Fantasy).When I was in my first grad program, back in the late 90s, I went out and bought the newest Playstation, and the most recent release of Final Fantasy. It was a snow day, so I didn’t have to go to work (I was doing my practicum in a school, and the school shut down because of the snow… of course, I was still able to make it to the mall to buy said console and said game — lol). I got home, hooked up the game, and 10 hours later realized that I had been sucked in to this fantasy world (one of the reasons I do not own a gaming system now — lol). While I don’t necessarily condone spending that much time gaming, it is a testament to the power of the story. I will continue to read your blog to see what interesting stories and articles you unearth (pun intended )!”
  • KELLYSANTAMARIA’s Storytelling Scholarship Article– “I also like the idea of being given a domain as a child, one that you can maintain throughout your life. With so much of our life existing in a digital realm, it seems convenient to have everything centralized. There is so much in our life that gets compartmentalized or segmented, tied to a time and space, having something that stays with us can help to keep this separation from happening. This online environment is definitely changing the way we do business, the way we think about ourselves and our space. It’s almost like this dimension that transcends time and space. I think if we start doing something like this, the pay aspect will be figured out. Maybe it will be like a social security number… at birth you are issued a domain that becomes yours and our taxes will go to pay for maintaining it (though, that opens up the topic of privacy and government intrusion in our lives… something for another day).”
  • Robert’s Digital Story Response No. 1: “Ethnolinguistic Profile”– “Hi Robert. Thank you for sharing this digital story with us! I actually have a few comments for your critique. First, it would have been helpful to include a link to the video (or did I miss the link?). I think I found it, but having a link would make sure that I am viewing the same file that you are critiquing. Second, you use some acronyms/terminology that I am not familiar with, so I would have liked to see them spelled out or at least have links to resources that would help me get an understanding of the terms.I also found the story to be compelling. I really enjoyed watching it “
  • Cilantro12’s Do More, Be More with a Domain“I enjoyed reading your assessment. I especially like ho wit opened your eyes to some thing. I think you bring up a very relevant point about the fear that something we post is going to reflect badly on us. I think this can bring up an interesting discussion about perceptions and perspectives. And I have two trains of thought on this. First, maybe we should be telling kids and people what they should and shouldn’t be posting (yes, I can hear the collective gasp now). Maybe what we should be teaching them is understanding how actions can be perceived and how those perceptions can affect future opportunities. And I say this because for every post you tell a child they shouldn’t make, there will be 10 more that you don’t even think of. But if we educate our children more about how the world works and how our digital footprint can follow us around, even years and decades later, hopefully they will be more cognizant of the brand they hope to show the world. Second, I think as a society, we are quite hung up on appearances, and what we should and shouldn’t be doing. There are definitely things that we shouldn’t do, but overall, i think we need to work on our judginess. What one person sees as flaky, another might see as free spirited; what one person sees as reckless, another might see as adventurous. My point, really, is that yes, we should be careful about what we put out there in the social realm, but i think we are at a wonderful point in our history to start reexamining our perceptions and out beliefs. And I truly love this idea of having a digital space that is yours and that follows you throughout your life where you can build and share your experiences.”
  • Heather’s Critique of Ken Robinson’s Changing Educational Paradigms– “Thanks for sharing this. As I was reading your post, I had a very odd “ah ha” moment! I have always said that our educational system needs to be overhauled, but I didn’t realize how limited my thinking was in that overhaul until I read this statement “Kids are educated in large batches, they are the same age, and they are typically forced to sit and acquire knowledge.” All of a sudden, this light bulb went on in my head that was like…. “yeah, why do we do this?” I realize, that developmentally, I guess grouping by age is an easy way to organize students. However, it seems that we are missing out on how we can bring more creative learning by bringing together diverse groups of students, including age diversity.
  • Digital Story Critique #3-Stories of Travel– “What an interesting story. Thank you for finding it and sharing it! Sometimes, it is so easy to get bogged down in our own culture and our own issues that we forget there are so many other cultures and struggles out there that are different from our own. There was a common theme in the letters… the students want President Obama to visit their country, and the students want to come to the USA. to either learn more about our country or to share ideas. I think this was a nice way to present what the class experienced while they were there, but it would have been interesting to see it presented in a more interactive format. After some of the digital stories that I have been critiquing, I have seen some interesting, interactive presentation styles that would fit this story so well. Maybe present bios about the various students with photos and then as you select each student, you can read their letter while hearing them speak (either about themselves or reading their letter out loud).”
  • Heather’s Scholarship Review: Film School– “Thanks for sharing this article. I love the idea you brought up that digital storytelling really is not a new phenomena. In fact, storytelling has been around for as long as man has been able to communicate. Long before writing, people shared oral stories as a way to impart knowledge, remember history, shape morals and behavior, and more. It’s wonderful that we have these new platforms we can use to tell our stories and reach much larger audiences. I hope you find creative ways to incorporate storytelling in your classroom!”
  • Andrew’s MAKE IT PERSONAL! post – “Thank you for posting this article. I like the reminder that it is the story that is important. I mostly agree with this. Without a good story, it doesn’t matter what technology you use to present it, it will still be a bland or boring story. However, technology can enhance or complement an already intriguing story. Along that same line, the wrong technology can totally detract from a story. It is up to the story teller to not only engage us but to also choose the best medium for presenting that story. In that sense, the technology actually becomes a part of the story.”


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