Digital Story Telling (Definition)

Digital story telling is an artistic and communication medium that emerged in the 1990′s incorporating digital images displayed in series usually accompanied by narration, music, sound effects, and/or text. The typical length for digital stories is between three to five minutes, although longer and shorter digital stories are sometimes made. The first person perspective is usually employed and personal narratives dominate the genre. The form is often used in an educational context at the secondary level and beyond to teach principles of good storytelling, communication skills, and to explore issues of personal identity.

The increasing power, affordability, and ubiquity of personal computers as well as free, easy-to-use software allow amateur storytellers and documentarians to harness the power of visual images and sound to form a cohesive, dramatic statement. Since the form is overwhelmingly used by non-professionals for non-commercial purposes, digital stories carry an assumption of “authenticity” not usually afforded to commercial forms that incorporate visual images and sound like television and film.

Digital stories are typically distributed via the internet through web sites hosted by educational institutions and public media outlets as well as YouTube. Audiences typically view digital stories in private, which differs from other visual and dramatic forms like opera, theater, and film where audiences gather in communities.

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