Most people have already experienced digital storytelling in one form or another. Digital storytelling is a multimedia approach to storytelling which uses narrative, music, pictures and/or video which are put together in a sequence to relate an experience or idea. It combines traditional elements of the oral and literary tradition while integrating current digital technologies into the storytelling process. Journalism today depends heavily on the digital world. Most news is consumed through digital means. It is also a quickly growing trend in the field of education as a teaching tool and is well established in the professional world as an efficient means of conveying information.
Educators implementing digital storytelling as a teaching tool see it as a way to boost the level of engagement in the classroom. Students may be given the task of reporting on an important incident in their life or something similarly biographical in nature. There are countless approaches students may take so the involvement the process demands ultimately generates more personal and meaningful stories. Also, learning the tools and techniques of digital storytelling equips students with many modern skills which are more essential every day. These include basic journalism, internet research, computer skills, audiovisual tools, writing and presentation, just to name a few. The use of digital storytelling for teaching a variety of subjects not only has the potential to increase performance in a particular area but reinforce these twenty-first century skills across many different fields. Anyone desiring to enter the modern business world will need proficiency in at least some if not most of these skills.
The relationship digital storytelling fosters between creator and audience is also powerful. A certain level of participation can be required of the audience, and the choices or decisions of those who take part offers an individualized experience and sometimes can effect the outcome of the story. Some common examples are video games, internet marketing campaigns, and social media. The involvement of the audience leads to a more engaging and memorable experience as well as a sense of community amongst the participants. The effect of this within a society can be very far-reaching. To have a voice is a powerful thing, and digital storytelling can give voice to those who might otherwise meet with too many barriers to be heard. A person who is unskilled with the written word may instead use images and music to tell their story more effectively to a potentially wider audience than the most articulate writer. Some things cannot be said, after all.
Digital storytelling may ultimately be more effective journalistic tool than the traditional methods of storytelling. It can cross barriers of language and culture with the use of music and images. Through participation and choice it can blur the lines between the creator and audience. It can create a sense of community and belonging for those who have shared in a collective experience. It can empower individuals by giving them a voice that has the potential to be heard around the globe. There are stories all over the place; one just has to look for them. Whether the purpose is to inform or entertain, the tools and techniques of digital storytelling allow a story told by anyone from anywhere in the world and then be shared with people everywhere in the world.