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Information Technology Services University of Illinois Springfield

Multimedia Projects: Story Telling

Digital Storytelling Integrates Public Policy Education at UIS

Students at workshop
Workshop in progress
Student Collaboration

The University of Illinois at Springfield played host to the Public Policy High School Initiative’s Springfield Experience Conference 2005 in May to celebrate “Illinois schools and their students’ public policymaking, civic engagement, and problem solution skills as part of their education in their Illinois communities.”

As a part of this conference, students attended a Digital Storytelling Workshop, hosted by Information Technology Services. The objective of this workshop was to support each high school public policy classroom team in creating public service messages [PSA]. These PSA’s are related to the students’ public policy project for their school and community by means of digital storytelling.

In simple terms, digital storytelling is the art of telling stories with multimedia tools such as audio, video, animation, images, etc. The Digital Storytelling Association defines digital stories as the use of “digital media to create media-rich stories to tell, to share, and to preserve. Digital stories derive their power through weaving images, music, narrative and voice together, thereby giving deep dimension and vivid color to characters, situations, and insights.”

Digital storytelling has caught on in various spheres of education. For example, the MIT Media in Transition conference explored storytelling as a cultural practice. At the International Digital Storytelling Conference presented by BBC Wales, delegates discussed digital storytelling as an innovative way of working and sharing ideas.

Students at the Springfield Experience Conference worked with a variety of desktop production tools such as iMovie, iPhoto, and GarageBand to create their digital stories. They assembled media—images, video, narration, etc.—to create their public service messages. Teachers from the schools assisted their students in preparing some of the messages. By the conclusion of the workshop, most teams had a digitally-enhanced public service message prepared for their schools and communities.

The overall goal of the public service announcements created by the students is to extend the public policy process into the communities surrounding the schools by sharing the wealth of problem-solving skills developed by the high school students and their ability to plan for the future of their home communities while they are still teens.


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