The ILTA Digital Storytelling SIG has been created in order to facilitate communication, collaboration and resource exchange with Irish and international colleagues interested in digital storytelling in education. This page serves as a repository for digital storytelling resources. Please join our discussion forum to ask questions about or to exchange your ideas on and experiences with digital storytelling in education.

To access the discussion forum, choose Discuss from the ILTA Community menu. Click the link to Forum. Scroll down and click the link to the Digital Storytelling SIG. Alternatively, click this link here: Digital Storytelling SIG.

The ILTA DST SIG is being facilitated by Bonnie Long from the School of Education in NUI, Galway. If you would like to share your experiences with digital storytelling with the SIG, or have questions about the use of digital storytelling, please contact Bonnie on

Origins of Digital Storytelling
Digital storytelling originated in the early 1990’s from workshops developed for the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, given by Joe Lambert and Dana Atchley. Their work eventually led to the creation of the Centre for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley, California. The CDS has been holding digital storytelling workshops for the past fifteen years with diverse community groups and all levels of educators (Lambert, 2009).
What is Digital Storytelling?
Digital storytelling takes the ancient art of oral storytelling and engages a palette of technical tools to weave personal tales using images, graphics, music and sound mixed together with the author’s own story voice. (Porter, 2004)
Digital storytelling usually consists of a short, 3-5 minute video, produced by someone who is not a media professional, and is usually constructed as a thought piece on a personal experience (Matthews-DeNatale, 2008). Creation of the digital story includes incorporating multimedia components such as images, music, video and a narration which is usually the author’s own voice (Dogan & Robin, 2006). The story is the focus.
Although facilitated by the technology the form is not driven by it and the primary focus for digital stories is traditionally the script. The combination of the text or narrated story, voiced by the author and accompanied by carefully selected images (usually photographs) can create a powerful tool of communication. (Boase, 2008, p. 1)
Digital Storytelling and Education
Digital storytelling is a great way to sneak writing in under the radar. Students who resist the writing of an essay set about the planning and writing of a digital story with gusto. (Ohler, 2008) “Digital stories combine traditional and emerging literacies, engaging otherwise reluctant students in literacy development.” (Ohler, 2008, p. 11) Beside the content understanding and technical skills students employ in the creation of a digital story, such as image, video and audio editing, they also develop planning skills that are usable and transferable.
Digital stories require students to create storyboards, story maps, scripts, media lists and other planning products that have wide application. They require students to engage in what those in the creative content world call ‘the media production process,’ a process…that can be applied to any endeavour that involves creating, editing, and sharing original work…Most important, the media production process requires students to synthesise imagination, creativity, research and critical thinking in order to translate their ideas into some form of media based expression. (Ohler, 2008, p. 11)

An excellent paper on the use of digital storytelling in the primary grades can be found here:

For other articles on the use of digital storytelling in education, see:

Software Advantage
In an age of shrinking budgets, one of the advantages of digital storytelling is that the software needed to create a digital story can be accessed for free. Video editing software such as Windows Movie Maker for PCs, and iMovie for Macintosh, are free with the operating system. Audio editing software, such as Audacity and’s Myna, can be sourced free from the internet.

Creating a Digital Story
The creation of a digital story usually incorporates the following steps:
  • Brainstorm/come up with a story idea
  • Write a first draft, 500 words or less
  • Learn basics of story structure, narrative structure
  • Create a ‘Storymap’ to map out major parts of the story
  • Share your story idea with peers – story circle

    • Take feedback from peers and rewrite/edit story
  • Distil story down to a script
  • Create a storyboard for your movie that incorporates script, images and sound/music used
  • Source images, sound, music for your DST
  • Produce digital story using ‘movie editing’ software, iMovie or Windows Movie Maker
  •  Share digital story:

    • with peers
    • publish on the web

      (Ohler, 2008; Porter, 2004)

Digital Storytelling Resources:
Bonnie’s Digital Storytelling Delicious Site: While researching digital storytelling, I’ve been adding DST and related sites to this Delicious site. Some of these sites are listed categorically below.
The Big Ones:
Center for Digital Storytelling: When it comes to resources, this is the first place anyone should look when investigating digital storytelling.
Jason Ohler’s Digital Storytelling Website: Jason Ohler’s recent book, Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: New Media Pathways to Literacy, Learning and Creativity, (2008) is a one stop shop for information on implementing Digital Storytelling in an educational setting. His website includes many excellent resources and information on the process of digital storytelling.
DigiTales: Bernajean Porter’s Digital storytelling Website; another excellent source of information and resources for digital storytelling in education. Bernajean published a book on digital storytelling in 2004, DigiTales: The art of telling digital stories.
Helen Barrett’s Digital Storytelling Page: Helen Barrett has been advocating the use of digital storytelling in conjunction with e-portfolios at all levels of education for several years. Here you can find examples of digital stories and links to articles about the use of digital storytelling in education.
Community Based Digital Storytelling Projects
Capture Wales (some videos not available in Ireland)
Digital Storytelling Cymru Network
Digital Stories of Coming to Learn
Patient Voices (digital storytelling in healthcare education)
 Books on Digital Storytelling
Lambert, J. (2009). Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives, Creating Community (3rd ed.). Berkeley, CA: Digital Diner Press.
Ohler, J. (2008). Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: New media pathways to literacy, learning and creativity. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.
Porter, B. (2004). DigiTales: The art of telling digital stories. Sedalia, CO: BJP Consulting.

Digital Storytelling Conferences
“Create, Share, Listen,” the 4th International Digital Storytelling Conference, was held in Lillehammer, Norway, in February, 2011. Papers and presentations from the conference can be accessed from the Program section of the conference website.

Digital Storytelling Cymru Network’s DS6 International Digital storytelling Festival, will take place on 17 June 2011, at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Wales.


This SIG is being facilitated by Bonnie Long from the School of Education in NUI, Galway. Bonnie is an Education Technologist and Galway Doctoral Research Fellow studying the use of digital storytelling with pre-service teachers in NUI, Galway. Bonnie has been an educator for over 20 years. She started her career in education as a Math/Science/Technology Middle School Teacher in Lennox, California. She moved to Ireland with her Irish husband and family in 1998, and has been working as an Education Technologist in the School of Education for over 10 years. She completed the MSc in Technology and Learning at Trinity College, Dublin, in 2008, and started her PhD in Education Technology in 2009.

Bonnie’s paper and presentation from the Create, Share Listen, 4th International Digital Storytelling Conference in Lillehammer, can be accessed from the Session C3 section of the conference website.



Boase, C. (2008). Digital Storytelling for Reflection and Engagement: a study of the uses and potential of digital storytelling. Pathfinder Project. Retrieved on 9/12/09 from
Dogan, B., & Robin, B. (2006). Implementation of Digital Storytelling in the Classroom by Teachers Trained In a Digital Storytelling Workshop Retrieved 14/4/09, from
Lambert, J. (2009). Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives, Creating Community (3rd ed.). Berkeley, CA: Digital Diner Press.
Matthews-DeNatale, G. (2008). Digital Storytelling – Tips and Resources. Retrieved 16/4/09, from Educause:
Porter, B. (2004). DigiTales: The art of telling digital stories. Sedalia, CO: BJP Consulting.