By Donna Atherton
Digital storytelling is a phrase commonly used to describe the movement that uses digital computer tools to help ordinary people tell their own real-life stories, and combines the ancient art of oral storytelling and the modern multimedia tools to deliver tales using images, sound, music, and voice. Digital storytelling gives the narrator the opportunity to tell their story in their own voice, and allow them to share their experience and perception in an extraordinary way. A digital story is approximately a short 3 to 5 minute audio narrative.
In 2000 I was selected to participate in a Fellows program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and with the team of other Fellows we learned the process of making a digital story and later made a story of community development. I later had several opportunities to make personal digital stories telling my experiences dealing with different life challenges. Professionally, as a clinical Social Worker and coach digital stories have been used with at-risk adolescent females on mother and daughter relationships, being placed in foster care and the affects of their parent's drug addiction.
The latest digital story I had the opportunity to complete was about my husband getting diagnosed with kidney failure, and how his illness change our lives. The story reflected on the weekly doctor's appointments, many hospitalizations, and how his illness affected our social life and activities. Although, the story was based on more of my perception of his feelings and some of the things he said. The process allowed me to reflect and understand my feelings as his caregiver, and proved to be emotionally healing. I could watch my story over and over and gained more insight to my feelings and to better prepare and understand my new role as his caregiver.
Digital storytelling allows the narrator to share their story with other people, where they can get a glimpse into the narrators' worldview. Digital Storytelling is a great tool to use to help people tell their stories in their own voice. The experience is a freeing experience and helps the narrator gain a new or different perspective to their situation, and allows the narrator to re-write or re-author their story to work towards change or a different outcome.
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