Aug 18, 2008

Digital Storytelling, Multimodal Writing, Multiliteracies...

Digital storytelling, multimodal writing, and multiliteracies are overlapping concepts that weren't around during my first round as a university student. As more people of all ages create and share digital content on the web in new and imaginative ways, teachers and university scholars have taken notice. Is there a consensus that the printed word, as we've known it, is in the middle of a digital transformation?

Let's start out with digital storytelling.

By now, everyone knows about YouTube and vlogs as new means of communication. There is more to digital storytelling than uploading a few hastily put-together video clips from the family camcorder, or slapping together a PowerPoint presentation with a few bells and whistles. There are now some standards. Digital storytelling is an art.

The following definition is from an article from EduCause, 7 things you should know about Digital Storytelling.:

  • "Digital storytelling is the practice of combining narrative with digital content, including images, sound, and video, to create a short movie, typically with a strong emotional component. Sophisticated digital stories can be interactive movies that include highly produced audio and visual effects, but a set of slides with corresponding narration or music constitutes a basic digital story. Digital stories can be instructional, persuasive, historical, or reflective. The resources available to incorporate into a digital story are virtually limitless, giving the storyteller enormous creative latitude. Some learning theorists believe that as a pedagogical technique, storytelling can be effectively applied to nearly any subject. Constructing a narrative and communicating it effectively require the storyteller to think carefully about the topic and consider the audience’s perspective."

Petter Kittle, from the Northern California Writing Project, Summer Institute 2008, touches on the topic of multimodal writing in Multimodal Texts: Composing Digital Documents. Related to this is the concept of digital writing.

Multiliteracies is an approach to literacy which focuses on variations in language use according to different social and cultural situations, and the intrinsic multimodality of communications, particularly in the context of today's new media."

  • " is no longer enough for literacy teaching to focus solely on the rules of standard forms of the national language. Rather, the business of communication and representation of meaning today increasingly requires that learners are able figure out differences in patterns of meaning from one context to another. These differences are the consequence of any number of factors, including culture, gender, life experience, subject matter, social or subject domain and the like. Every meaning exchange is cross-cultural to a certain degree." -from Kalantzis and Cope's Multiliteracies website
Here is a short list of resources:
The Center for Digital Storytelling
Multimedia Storytelling
What are multimodality, multisemiotics, and multiliteracies?
(Ben Williamson, Futurelab)
Reading Images: Multimodality, Representation, and New Media
(Gunther Kress)
New Learning: Elements of a Science of Education
(Mary Kalantzis & Bill Cope)
The Multiliteracy Project
Multimodal Writing
(new website, under development)
Multimedia Blogging
(a post from 2004, worth reading for historical context)
Thinking about multimodal assessment
(Digital Writing, Digital Teaching)
Standards related to digital writing
(from Teaching Writing Using Blogs, Wikis...)

I conclude this text-based post with a promise to incorporate more multimedia experiences in my upcoming posts....stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

Great content!

Lynn Marentette said...


Martin Waller said...

Great blog post! Thanks for the link back to the Multiliteracies Learning Initiative!

Anonymous said...

Great thought!