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Istituto Nazionale di Documentazione, Innovazione e Ricerca Educativa MIUR


02 Maggio 2007

Un esempio di convergenza digitale

Alcune considerazioni di Helen Barrett su Portfolio e Digital Story Telling

di Francesco Vettori

I would like to ask you what can be termed Digital Story Telling and your opinion on its effectiveness as a pedagogical tool.

The ancient art of storytelling can be a powerful tool for deep learning and reflection. Add today's multimedia technology and you have a highly motivating project-based learning activity as well as a powerful artifact in an electronic portfolio. A digital story is a short digital video clip, usually told in first person narrative, told in the learner's own voice, illustrated primarily with still images, and often with an added music track to set the emotional tone. There are a variety of strategies that can be used with diverse learners, from kindergarten through graduate school and into retirement. In todays technological environment, a story told with images and narration is often called a digital story; a story told with audio only is often called a Podcast, because these audio files can be downloaded from the Internet and copied to an MP3 player (most likely an iPod) thus the term Podcast.

How is Digital Story Telling used in the US  and do you believe that its current application can be transferred to other Countries?

There are a variety of schools in the U.S. that are implementing digital storytelling (web links). You will find a few of them listed on my website. (look in the first column called Digital Storytelling in Education.

The U.K. has also been a leader in digital storytelling through the Capture Wales project and the Telling Lives project. You might pay special attention to Barrie Stephensons website in the UK. You will find links to those sites on the same page listed above, only in the right column) There are also examples in Australia and New Zealand.

What role do the so called new technologies play in digital story telling?

You mean Web 2.0 technologies? There are a variety of online tools that can be used. There are an emerging group of tools that are server-based, where the software exists online, not requiring the software be installed on a personal computer. Below is a sample of some of the Web 2.0 tools that show promise for supporting digital storytelling.

  • Collaborative writing tools for script development and collaborative writing: GoogleDocs or any wiki
  • Audio editing tools (primarily used to capture and publish podcasts online):,
  • Image sharing tools (primarily used to share images online):,
  • Video editing tools (primarily used to create and publish short video clips online):,,
  • Media publishing services (primarily used to share video online):,,,

While these Web-based tools are not as sophisticated as the desktop versions, they are more accessible to a larger number of digital story authors. There are more tools for publishing the stories online, regardless of the tools used for development. Of course, the speed of the Internet connection will influence the quality of the experience. More tools are under development, so this should be an exciting area for development in the next few years.

What role do digital stories play in electronic portfolio?

I have a whole paper written on this topic:
I have also created a video, which I am sharing with a conference in Finland on May 10.



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