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TCC 2009: Digital Storytelling in a Web 2.0 World

my live notes from TCC 2009

Digital Storytelling in a Web 2.0 World

by Chareen Snelson and Annie Sheffield, Boise State University, Dept. of Educational Technology

Image by Anyaka

Image by Anyaka

Chareen wondered if they miss the human aspect/element of online learning so this is how the study came about


  • background info on digital storytelling
    • persepectives on digital storytelling
    • classic digital storytelling
    • types
    • web 2.0 video sharing meets digital storytelling
  • the pilot study
    • research design and questions
    • sampling
    • data collection and analysis
    • answer to our questions (findings)
    • conclusions
    • references

What is digital storytelling?

  • sounds like it should be obvious
  • when we start to define it, though, that it becomes murky
    • plot, media? all over the map in terms of definition
      • like trying to define “interaction”

Various perspectives

  • personal narrative (davis, 2004; lambert, 2007)
  • tools for language arts (ohler, 2008)
  • personal portfolios (barrett, 2004)
  • deep learning assessment (barrett, 2004)

What about Web 2.0?

  • role of video sharing (video 2.0)
    • will we see an evolution of digital storytelling
    • will it become our story rather than just “my story”?
    • when we tell a story the person we are telling it to may respond with their own story

The problem

  • observation
    • the lack of agreemnet on characteristics for digital stories is challenging to researchers
  • overall goal
    • gain some awareness of how digital storytelling manifests within the context of an interactive video-sharing site
      • the way we’ve been doing it, is the way we do it in the new media until a new model comes out

Classic digital story

  • first person narration with images
  • telling a story with media

Personal narrative

  • add the meaningful story behind the image
  • very personal
  • very powerful that the person who tells the story tells it in their own words


  • sets the mood, adds to the overall effect of the story

Center for Digital Story Telling
(one type of digital storytelling model)
Example of a Digital Story using this model: MomNotMom

Digital Storytelling Cookbook

Types of digital stories

  • 9 types
  • foundation for types in their study
  • from Digital storytelling cookbook (Lambert, 2007)
    • character story – meaningful relationship we love or have been inspired by
    • memorial story – those we love and remember, still mourn for, touched our lives
    • adventure story – first trip away from home, special school trip, adventure of a lifetime
    • accomplishment story – first to go to college, working together to achieve success, attainment of a lifetime goal
    • story about a place in my life – school, a special and meaningful family outing, personal place
    • story about what I do – job I have loved for years, what it means to build something with my own hands
    • recovery story – beating the odds, witnessing a miracle, experiencing kindness
    • love story – falling in love, special romance, special companionship
    • discovery story – process of uncovering information, message in a bottle, discovering that life comes in all forms, first attempts at what becomes a lifelong passion

Sharing digital stories

  • share them online
  • interact around those stories

Web 2.0 video sharing meets digital storytelling

  • what is happening right now with digital stories on YouTube

YouTube – the biggest of all

  • epicenter of video sharing
  • since 2005

Digital Stories on YouTube

  • youtube.com/watch?v=RQcp1yXrPd0
    • did not follow a particular model or guidelines
  • interactive features
    • comments
    • ratings
    • video responses
    • sharing/subscribing
  • typically 10 minutes long

The Pilot Study

  • Question 1 – how closely do digital stories on YouTube align with the classic model?
  • Question 2 – how are the interactive tools being used?

Methodology: Content Analysis

  • using a coding system to determine presence of characteristics in text, images, sound or numerical data (krippendorf, 2004)
    • looked at youtube videos as a form of text

Identifying Categories

  • story
    • attributes – story type (9 story types), perspective (1st person, group), topic
    • media – media elements (images, text, music, etc), duration (how long?)
    • interactivity – comments, star ratings, video responses, number of views (convenient for statistical purposes)

Obtain a Sample

  • sampling problem
    • if you try to take a random sample off of the internet, it’s nearly impossible
      • nearly 3million hits on google
      • ranked order by relevance
    • relevance – take top numbered hits off of search engine; most likely to be viewed
      • exact phrase must show up in search “digital story”
  • took top 100 from exact search “digital story” on YouTube
    • under education category, english is language, all durations

Collect and Analyze Data

  • used Google spreadsheet
    • identified 11 combinations of media
    • left a 12th for other
    • 13th came up during coding (video with text only)
  • coded types of stories
    • not covered in cookbook but were tagged as digital stories in YouTube
      • info story
      • historical story
      • fictional story
  • coded types of media
  • perspective
    • ran across other types of persective during coding


  • did digital stories on YouTube align with the classic model?
    • about 55% fell within classic model
    • 45% fell into other types, i.e. info, historical, fictional
  • close alignment to classical model
    • 17 out of 100 stories matched
      • used an image sequence and 1st person and matched one of the 9 story types
    • 83 were not a perfect match
  • How are the interactive tools being used?
    • comments and ratings were used but not excessively
    • no video responses


  • classic attributes of digital storytelling are present but not universal on YouTube
  • many examples of digital stories that incorporate variations in both story type and media
  • YouTube makes it possible to create a community around digital stories. However, these interactive tools were not frequently used.
    • about 45 of the stories were for a class project
      • all over the map in the way they were presented
  • follow up questions
    • what is being taught in the classroom? what is the model being followed? what is the impact on creativity?
    • what is the impact on curriculum?
    • what is the impact on the human element?
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