Reflection on Seven Steps of Digital Storytelling


The main insights for the article are as follows:

step 1: Owning your insights

It is interesting to gather from  reading step 1  that while the memory of the event  does not change, the storyteller’s perspective and the personal meaning evolve over time based on the storyteller’s own experiences and the experiences of other participants of the story circles. We can learn from this part of the article that the main focus is not the story itself, but rather the storyteller. Lambert wrote this  to that effect:

“I might tell the  Johnny Ramirez story fifteen way over my lifetime, but the small changes, the way the story shifts in emphasis and tone, express something different about me as the author.”

“we want to help the storyteller move through a process of self-discovery about the why of their story” 

“What it’s really about is the storyteller.”

Step 2: Owning your emotions

The main idea is to understand what our emotions are relating to our story and conveying those emotions in a genuine way. We need to be able to balance the emotions in the story in order to reflect honesty and credibility.

” When we, as an audience, hear a story that has an exaggerated tug to emotion, we read it as dishonesty. Conversely, if it seems devoid of emotion, without a hint of struggle or conflict, then we don’t believe it either.”

Step 3: Finding the moment

Knowing what the aha moment of the story exactly is, remains essential in shaping the story.

“by building a scene around the moment of change, the storyteller is ‘showing,’ rather than ‘telling.'”

I found very interesting the idea that in shaping the story around the moment of change the audience  is lead to “a river of understanding” in which they are encouraged to jump – emotionally participating   in the story.

Step 4: Seeing your story

The main idea Lambert developed in this section is the different ways we can use visual images, to tell the story. There are direct and indirect types of images that are used to illustrate stories.

Buzzwords are present is this section such as explicit vs. implicit,  visual metaphors, and juxtaposition.

Another idea is that “… images have the power to reveal something to the audience that words can’t say.”

Step 5: Hearing your story

Some of  the ideas from this section are:

  • The more natural the voiceover narrative sounds, the better it is for pulling the audience into the story.
  • Ambient sound is another way to “help create a sense of place for the audience”
  • Music can “…alter our perception of visual information” and “…can enhance the style and meaning of the story’s text and visual narratives…”

Step 6: Assembling your story

The main ideas if this section are:

  • Making sure that we have the right amount of details and background information.
  • Balance the details so as to allow the audience to be able to understand the story but be still be able to engage and draw their own conclusion.  I like the comparison  of building the story’s  tension, with  playing with a cat.
  • Closure and pacing are important to storytelling. Pacing can be a powerful tool for creating  rhythm in the story.

Step 7:  Sharing your story

The main idea here is to know our audience and how much information they need . This can help us decide what part of the story we should emphasize during the presentation.

Besides teaching us the 7 steps of storytelling, the article also increased my understanding of the use of the story circles. Story circles provides inspiration and are an opportunity for participants to be able to amend their thoughts and acquire insights that can affect the way they tell their stories.






Digital Story critique: Akon solar power in Africa

Akon is known by most people  in the US  as a singer, rapper, songwriter, businessman, record producer and actor. But for some people in the African rural areas, he is a kind of  prophet coming back to his people with the gift of light.  Akon Lighting Africa is a project he co-founded with his country men Thione Niang and Samba Bathily in 2014.  The project has so far  provided electricity in eleven African countries. Their goal is to bring electricity to six million people in Africa.

This Digital story is meaningful to me because I am in a very good position to gauge the joy the people affected by Akon’s project must be experiencing. I did not have electricity when growing up. I studied and completed my homework under candlelight and  paraffin oil lanterns.

I chose to critique the digital story  Akon solar power in Africa under these three Jason Ohler’s  assignment traits:

Sense of audience How well did the story respect the needs of the audience?

A good job was done in   the sense of audience category because even though people from  different backgrounds, languages, and locations are included in the story, any audience with an intermediate level of English proficiency can make sense of the story.

Story Story core clear, articulated, compelling?

The message conveyed in the story was presented in a very clear and compelling way. The narrator is very articulated allowing people with different English language proficiencies to be able to follow the story and understand it. Also the speed of the video is appropriate because enough time is provided in order to read the translation of other languages used in the story.

Story flow Was it a quality story that made listeners lean forward and wonder what was going to happen next? Did it flow, without bird walks or bumps? If audience members had to work to understand it, was it worth their effort?

The video quality is excellent. No need to wonder what is going on because the picture is very clear, and the narration easy to listen to. Caption is provided in a very accurate way. There is not noise  than can negatively affect the flow of the video. You can hear Akon himself sing in the background, but the music is not loud enough to overpower the narration and the interviews.

Reflection on The Art of Digital Storytelling

The article The Art of Digital Storytelling opens with a very meaningful quote by James Keller:

“Tell your tales; make them true. If they endure, so will you.”

The insights a digital storytelling student can derive from reading the article are numerous. Right from the onset we are reminded that:

“stories are as old as people and are more important than ever for our spirits, minds, and human progress.”

Another valuable digital storytelling lesson I learned from the article is that it gives us the order in which we should go about creating our digital stories. It reads: to that effect that

the story’s narrative is first made into a voiceover and then all images, sound, music, transitions, and special effects are organized around unfolding this story.”

This is going to be very helpful to me when I am ready to put together my digital story for this class.

For quality Digital Stories, the article provides us with two essential clues to good storytelling: Living in the Story and Unfolding Lessons Learned. That is to say that there should be a personal emotional connection between us and the stories we tell.

“The power of storytelling is not in telling about an event or someone else’s life, but rather in shifting the lens to using the setting, details, and events for telling your story with the experience.”

We do not need to be the subject of our stories, but the way we present the stories should reflect how we feel about them or how we are affected by them.

For the clue about how to unfold the lessons learned, the article reads:

Good storytelling needs a “spine” to hold the audience’s attention and deliver a timely, memorable ending.”

While this reading expands my knowledge of dgital storytelling by providing me with clues on how to put together a story,  what to do first and what should follow, I did not see any new jargon or buzzwords that I had to look up.

Digital Story critique: Slavery in modern-day Mauritania

The Educause website defines Digital Storytelling as being “…the practice of combining narrative with digital content, including images, sound, and video, to create a short movie, typically with a strong emotional component.”  This 2:11 minutes video carries a very strong message to the world who should be aware of the fact that Slavery is still a reality for millions of people in the West African country of Mauritania. Besides talking about people’s successes and failures, people’s hobbies, people’s life experiences, and many others things, Digital Storytelling can also be a strong medium through which to denounce inequities and injustice in the world. It is just hard for me to believe that in 2016 we still have people fighting to end slavery. So after watching Slavery in modern-day Mauritania I started  wondering what the World Community (the United Nations) is doing to efficiently help the NGO SOS Slavery reach their goal of eradicating this evil system once for all.

Here are the three Jason Ohler’s traits I have decided to use to critique this story:


Project planning Is there evidence of solid planning, in the form of story maps, scripts, storyboards, etc.?

The way a story can reach the emotions  of people can testify to how well it was planned and conveyed. Although it only lasts 2:11 minutes Slavery in modern-day Mauritania can affect the feelings of viewers deeper than many longer videos can. So I think AFP did an excellent job planning the project. They did a good job talking about the location of Mauritania in the world before addressing the issue the story is really about.

Research Was the student’s project well researched and documented?

There is strong evidence that the research was well done in order to produce such a touching story. The reporter actually went on the site and talked directly to people affected by the issue the story is about. The information shared in the story is accurate.

Flow, organization and pacing Was the story well organized? Did it flow well, moving from part to part without bumps or disorientation, as described in Part III?

The story is told by an English speaker reporting on people who only speak French or Arabic. However everything that was said in French was faithfully rendered in English in a way that did not negatively affect the flow of the story.

Digital Story critique – The white Lion

The “White Lion”: A European wrestler in Senegal


Today I have chosen to critique a Digital Story about the number two sport, and the best paid one in Senegal: Wrestling. However the story is not about a Senegalese wrestler, but rather, an European man who discovers this form of sport and decides to come to Senegal, obtain a license to wrestle, and join a local team. I am talking about wrestling because it is an important part of our culture. In fact Wrestling in Senegal is as popular as football is in the US. When the season opens, matches are held every Sunday and people either go to the stadium to attend them, or are in front of their TVs waiting for their wrestler to win the fight.It is a combination of Greco-roman wrestling and boxing. Yes. There are knockouts  quite often. Even though the sport is difficult to export to the Western world because some people find it a little barbaric to exchange punches in bare hands (no gloves), the Senegalese diaspora watch the fight live thanks to the magic of television and the internet. Until now Juan is the only white person practicing Senegalese wrestling . That makes him very popular in the country where he has a a lot of fans.

Using Jason Ohler’s traits to analyze the story, I am giving the maker a 100% grade because of the work done in the following three categories:

Research Was the student’s project well researched and documented?

It is very evident that the Agence France-Presse (AFP) reporter did a great job researching the story. The information shared is  very accurate and presented in a way that makes the story short but informative.

Content understanding How well did the student meet the academic goals of the assignment and convey an understanding of the material addressed?

Because the story is well researched, the storyteller was able to display a clear understanding of the content.  Therefore the content is well conveyed and in a fun way to watch.

Flow, organization and pacing Was the story well organized? Did it flow well, moving from part to part without bumps or disorientation, as described in Part III?

I also give this trait a 100% because of the excellent pace used by the reporter. Also very accurate caption was included when local people spoke in their language. That allows for English speakers to understand the whole story. The traditional drums could be heard in the background making the story more original.