Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Digital Storytellling

At the recent Religious Education Association Annual Meeting, Dr Mary Hess, President Elect, recommended a book entitled Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: New Media Pathways to Literacy, Learning, and Creativity by Jason Ohler. I was intrigued by what Mary said about it in her presentation and decided to check it out. I agree with her. It's worth reading, especially for those of us who see value in storytelling in youth ministry. It reminded me of the blogs three of us wrote on Narrative Theology at

So what's the appeal? This is a thorough introduction to digital storytelling that looks at what storytelling is and how to go about it in general and as an educative enterprise, gives an overview of engaging digitally in a manner so that even the most inexperienced can grasp it and participate, makes the role of the educator clear, and makes the case for the value of this activity. There are two sentences that stands out for me (there are several in fact):
We need to engage all of ourselves--left brain and right brain, researcher and narrator, critical thinker and storyteller/listener. Doing so offers the power to engage and educate in ways that resonate with the media culture our students understand while providing them with the tools necessary to navigate within it wisely (Ohler 2008, 10.
Here Ohler is saying that rather than being a passive activity digital storytelling is active, using recounting, investigative, listening and critical skills in a way that is familiar and meaningful to students and which leaves them equipped to maneuver judiciously through the multiplicity of information and/or stories to which they are constantly exposed. This is definitely an area in which we can help our students, and most likely learn at the same time.

Have you ever considered digital storytelling as part of your student ministry? Would you?
Loving God, Loving Neighbor

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