Telling a Good Story

As digital media become cheaper and easier to use, the concept of digital storytelling has gained lots of attention, both in and out of the classroom.

However, while many teachers understand that such projects can help students develop their skills in researching, writing, organization and presentation, that doesn’t necessarily mean they use them.

Using this concept can be a hard sell, especially to educators who find it difficult to see a clear connection between this kind of activity and preparing kids to pass their standardized tests.

Would it help if we told them that digital storytelling skills could get one of their students elected President of the United States? Or help them earn big bucks getting someone else elected.

That’s the message that I got from a very interesting discussion featured on last week’s On The Media.

But it’s not enough to simply tout your resume and bullet-point your plan for the future of the country. According to Paul Waldman of the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters for America, if you want to be President you have to have a story to tell. And Waldman believes the best Presidential stories come in three parts.

PAUL WALDMAN: Well, what the three-part narrative does is it tells voters first what’s wrong with the country or wrong with the government. The second part is what the fix is for that problem and what the country will look like after the problem is solved. And the third and most important part is why that candidate and only that candidate is the one who can get us there.

It would be nice if most people voted based on a clear understanding of the issues and the candidates positions, but that’s not the way the system works.

While making a direct link between a student’s family history video and being elected to office might be something of a stretch, the reality is that in politics and many other areas of modern life, it really is about selling the story.

So, now are we ready to teach kids how to craft that compelling three-part narrative? And maybe we can also help them learn to tell honest stories at the same time.

digital, storytelling, education