Telling stories is what makes us human. Homo sapiens have been telling and sharing stories for a long, long time. We love to hear a good tale. Think about the last time you read (books, poems, articles, etc.), watched (e.g. TV, film, documentary, or video game), and heard (e.g. radio, podcast, family member, etc.) a REALLY good story. I’m sure you’re thinking about a story right now and it is making you smile. That’s the art and craft of telling a good narrative.
I have been interested in how we are telling our digital tales and our stories within higher ed for quite some time. Whether it’s creating explainer videos about scholarship with, Research Shorts, bantering with Jeff on BreakDrink, sharing thoughts and experiences on my blog, or interviewing a colleagues on the #InVinoFab podcast — I have learned so much from peer narratives and personal reflections offered online. Integrating digital storytelling into the work we do in higher ed — as staff, faculty or graduate students — requires the application of technology to narrative skill development.
What is digital storytelling? As Bryan Alexander (2017) says: “Simply put, it is telling stories with digital technologies. Digital stores are narratives built from the stuff of cyberculture.” That is, the places where we share photographs, podcasts, virtual reality environments, blogs, video clips, games, novels, writing, Facebook Groups, Twitter chat archives, and more! It may combine the oral tradition of storytelling with visual and sound OR more of new media spaces. Additionally, there are ways to interact, engage, and offer a diverse point of views and opinions on these digital tales. This craft has the ability to unpack narratives and communicate ideas on a topic while taking the the audiences perspective into consideration.
Higher ed professionals could do better at encouraging reflection and meaning making by sharing our own tales of experience. The higher education landscape needs more authentic learning experiences and thoughtful skill development with critical digital pedagogical practices (Alexander, Adams Becker, Cummins, & Hall Giesinger, 2017; Alexander, 2017). How does “digital storytelling” impact career success? How do we apply information literacy or digital fluency our daily work? How are we modelling digital storytelling to the learners we work with? The 2017 NMC Digital Literacy Impact Study (Adams Becker, Pasquini, & Zenter, 2017) revealed that digital storytelling concepts and capabilities were rarely employed in education, and there is a skill-gap in digital with regards to both scholarship dissemination and occupational success. We see more critical thinking and research online, rather than digital creation, making, and production. I think we can do better — it’s time to find our storytelling voice, higher ed! The time to share your story is NOW!
With the proliferation of web-based, mobile, and emerging technologies (e.g. streaming websites, digital/video/audio media, etc.) higher ed professionals have the potential to move from lurking and commenting to making and creating space to lead the conversation. There needs to be more digital making by professionals to model effective digital storytelling. By leveraging technologies and new media, more colleagues (I hope) will have have the ability to share personal stories, document individual experiences and find deeper meaning in our lived professional experiences as we archive these online. There is no one way to tell a story in this evolving landscape — this might be sharing stories through audio, video, text, and visual mediums. That being said, we have to be fearless enough to SPEAK UP and SHARE OUR STORY as this counts in the professional work we do at our colleges and universities. By working out loud and contributing to digital storytelling, we are able to process knowledge, employ innovative ideas, and disseminate our own initiatives within and beyond higher ed.
For the next Higher Ed Digital Identity (#HEdigID) SLOW (all-day) chat we will discuss what it means to tell our OWN narratives as professionals in higher ed. Join the conversation asynchronously via the hashtag: #HEdigID and/or contribute to this OPEN Google doc of questions: http://bit.ly/hedigid9
Learn more about the #HEdigID Chat and review the QUESTIONS in that will be posted on Twitter and in the Google doc for this ALL DAY discussion on FRIDAY, October 12, 2018:
- Is there a story from #highered that resonates with you the most? This could be an article, new piece, book, or personal tale. Please share!
- What stories do you think #highered and those outside our colleges/universities should HEAR? What digital stories should WE be telling about the academy?
- Who might be your audience for your digital stories about #highered? Tell us about WHO might LISTEN or be interested in your story?
- Are you a digital storyteller in #highered (new or experienced) or do you know one? If so, please share where YOU or OTHERS share their narratives online to read, watch, or listen.
- If you are just getting started in digital storytelling, what questions, concerns or considerations do you have about telling your own or other narratives in #highered? Tell us about it!
- What digital storytelling spaces and places give YOU inspiration about telling your own narrative? Share your STORYTELLING muses, motives, and resources here.
Join TODAY’s (October 12th) discussion on Digital Storytelling in Higher Ed:
Tweet your response with the hashtag: #HEdigID
Share your answer IN this Google Doc: http://bit.ly/hedigid9
Use these questions to draft your own reflection OR response (e.g. blog, video, audio, drawing or discussion)
Adams Becker, S., Pasquini, L. A., & Zentner, A. (2017). 2017 Digital literacy impact study: An NMC horizon project strategic brief. Volume 3.5, November 2017. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.
Alexander, B. (2017). The new digital Sstorytelling: Creating narratives with new media–Revised and Updated Edition. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.