Story Told!

Once upon a time…  

70 penguins by Glen Scott @ Flickr CC-BY-NC

70 penguins by Glen Scott @ Flickr CC-BY-NC


No. It was on February 20th but it feels like long, long ago… I said I was going to create a personal and visual narrative. I did.

Theoretically, I knew that digital storytelling could be an excellent tool for foreign language classes. After this project, I am 100% sure. It involves everything a language teacher might want…

  • Writing skills
  • Oral skills
  • Creativity
  • Collaborative learning
  • Deep thinking
  • Visual and digital literacy

…and so much more! As Jason Ohler suggests in Reinventing Education…

I followed steps proposed  by Ohler in Storytelling and New Media Narrative and will have my students do the same. If you’re familiar with his Art of Storytelling -Part II, you can skip straight to the video and leave me a comment. If not, carry on reading. I will be as brief as I can:

I wanted to experience the whole process myself so I have guidelines for my students. It took me some time, but it was extremely rewarding all around!

I assume that my students will take less time with the tech (steps 7-10) than I did, but they will need more guidance from 1 to 4. Interactions & feedback will also need modelling.

Steps to create a digital story:

    1. Story map/Visual Portrait of a Story (paper & pen)
    2. Collaboration with friend (face to face)
    3. Script 1: 11 pages. (Google docs/word)
    4. Script 2: 3 pages (Google docs/word)
    5. Collaboration with several friends (face to face)
    6. Story table (Google docs/word)
    7. Story board (Keynote,/Google slides Flickr, Photos)
    8. Voice recording (Garage band)
    9. Movie assembling (IMovie)
    10. Post production (IMovie, Jamendo):

Project highs:

  • Finding and revisiting MY story
  • Listening to my friends’ constructive feedback (face to face time)
  • Looking through my pictures
  • Using my own media
  • Adding sound effects
  • Sharing the story

Project lows:

  • Having to edit the text: cuts and fixes
  • Matching voice and images
  • Filling movie holes
  • Missing the exact picture or sound for the movie
  • Hearing my own voice


  • Document, document, document: collect sounds, pictures, images of every experience that you might consider using in a story. It’s always better to have your own media. It keeps it real;
  • At first, tell your story: TELL it as long as you want. The more you tell it, the clearer it will become. Don’t worry about the script size in the beginning. Tell the story again. Write, reduce, rewrite it;
  • To have a sense of how long the movie will be, write your script in Times New Roman size 16, double spaced. Each page gives about one minute of voice recording. Do the math!
  • Save time to edit the movie; it’s fun. It’s laborious, but it’s fun.

Here is my story. It will be part of a unit that I described on this previous post. I will use it as a model/example of what can be done. Students will be free to use other software and/or apps they choose to tell their stories. We will have a special session to view the final projects with guests (parents).

Séjour au Népal, un récit de voyage


I’ll add some student samples here or in another post when possible.

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5 Responses

  1. Profile photo of Stephanie Stephanie says:

    This turned out awesome! I want some pointers on how to do it

  2. Thanks! I had a blast making it and would love to help with anything you need but, just in case, check Kath Schrock’s Guide to Everything. It has extensive resources.
    The challenge now will be having the students make their own. As I mentioned, I don’t think they’ll have problem with the tech but they will certainly struggle with the writing. Also, assessing their stories will be challenging because of the personal nature of the project, I am thinking of using this rubric.
    I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

  3. Profile photo of Joel Bevans Joel Bevans says:

    Amazing job Valdir. I really like how you broke down the steps into the making process. Thanks for sharing that process with us and what an end result. You should feel very proud.

    • Thanks Joel! Really appreciate the feedback. I am sorry for not responding to your call with “my story” but this project took a bit more time than I envisioned at first! Btw, great new look on your CV!
      Take care!

  4. Magali says:

    Ouah! Valdir! Ton récit est sublime!!! J’adore ces histoires où on découvre une autre culture et en fait de découverte c’est un choc!
    Thanks to for sharing the step by step guide. I remembered that for the digital story telling I made with my grade 1, I took me forever to edit a few seconds of the movie. i had a great voiceover but no pictures…

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