DigiTales - The Art of Telling Digital Stories

Overview of Evaluating Projects

"A story should be remembered for its soul, not the bells and whistles."  Bernajean Porter

If you don’t have a good or powerful story, script, and storyboard, then there will never be enough decorating that technology can do to cover it up. On the other hand, demonstrating exemplar craftsmanship with mixing the technical elements in artful ways to unfold your story creates compelling, insightful, original and memorable pieces of communication. The richness of a good story can be diluted when technical elements are not artfully developed, over used, distracting, or just plain annoying.

Quality craftsmanship intentionally uses each technical element (images, sound, transitions, music, special effects, titles, pacing, and design) to provide an integral contribution to telling the story in a way that the removal of that element would lesson the emotional impact and understanding. Bernajean’s book, Evaluating Digital Products, provides useful tools, samples, guidelines and resources to support training effective uses of these scoring guides. See Evaluating Digital Products book. See Digital Media Scoring Guides.


Four general ways are listed to consider for the wrap-up feedback approach after digital stories have been created.


Informal Reflecting: In group workshops or home viewings, storytellers are often asked to give informal reflection comments about their making-a-digital-story experience. After their digital story is shared with everyone, impromptu comments are invited from viewers based on their own experience with the person’s onscreen story. However, this comment time should be structured very carefully—with respect and love. Try questions like:

  1. What parts of the story touch you?
  2. What images in the story most grabbed you?
  3. What reaction to the story would you like to share with the storyteller?

Formal Reflecting:   Formal Reflecting: A more formal peer review process might be used called "GalleryWalking." This process is organized to capture written narrative reflection comments from viewers on each digital story. Viewers learn as well as provide feedback from their peers as they rotate through looking at each digital story on its own workstation screen. It is uses the metaphor of walking through an art gallery while expecting all viewers to leave written comments at each story station that reflect on what they found appealing and what might make the story even better. See Peer Review.

Informal Evaluating: There are many elements for both technical and good story structures that need to come together to create a powerful, moving piece of communication. Online Digital Media Scoring Guides are provided for individuals, students, teachers or groups to evaluating the quality of their digital product. But rather than think of these scoring guides as a way to give "grades," the items in the scoring guide might be used as a self-reflecting checklist by authors as they design their story. No grade is given but authors are guided to develop exemplar digital media products. Download Overview of Scoring Guides. See Digital Media Scoring Guides.

Formal Evaluating: Online Digital Media Scoring Guides are provided for individuals, students, teachers or groups to quantitatively evaluate the quality of a digital media product. Formally evaluating many of the digital stories created by adults or new storytellers may not be appropriate. This formal approach is mostly expected to be useful in educational settings to support new learners in acquiring visible skills using technology. See Evaluating Digital Products book. See Digital Media Scoring Guides. Download Overview of Scoring Guides. Three areas of description are provided here as an overview of the elements found in the Digital Media Scoring Guides:

  • Content and Craftsmanship of Communication
  • Fourteen (14) types of Communication
  • Nine (9) Traits for Scoring

Content and Craftsmanship of Communication

Each scoring guide is divided into two components: Part I: Content Communication and Part II: Craftsmanship of Communication. Each of these two parts carries equal weight when scoring a digital product. The traits used in Content Communication were constructed using national benchmarks for genres of writing. The traits used in Craftsmanship of Communication were developed and prototyped with Illinois schools to represent evaluating the quality of using the functions of technologies artfully for communicating ideas and thoughts rather than evaluating the technology use itself. The Digital Media Scoring Guides were field-tested, reviewed, and co-copyrighted by Bernajean Porter in partnership with NCREL/NCRTEC (North Central Regional Lab/North Central Regional Technology Education Consortium).

Fourteen (14) Types of Communication

Narrative Information/Expository Persuasive Environment(s)
1. Personal Expression
2. Myths/folk talkes
3. Short story
4. Summary Reports
5. Book reports
6. How-to directions
7. Biographies

8. Advertisements
9. Describe/conclude
10. Analyze/conclude
11. Analyze/persuade
12. Compare/contrast
13. Cause/effect

14. Participatory Environment

Nine (9) Traits for Scoring

There are nine (9) traits represented in each of the fourteen types of communication scoring guides. Each trait has a number of elements identified to consider as exemplar communications are developed. The online version on DigiTales’ Website now gives users the opportunity to first choose a communication type and then customize their scoring guide by checking ONLY the traits and elements being evaluated at that time. Not all traits or elements would be expected to be included in each digital product. For example, you may or may not be presenting or developing an interactive product. Also learners do not need to master all elements at one time. Eventually, of course, they will be able to practice over time acquiring exemplar skills in their communication digital products.

Part I: Content Communication

  • Preparation Process
  • Content Knowledge
  • Format / Organization

Part II: Craftsmanship of Communication

  • Text Communication
  • Image Communication
  • Voice / Sound Communication
  • Design of Communication
  • Presentation Communication
  • Interactivity of Communication
About | Storykeepers' Gallery | Digital Tools | Workshops | Evaluating Projects | Resources | Home
Copyright 2004 © DigiTales

Duplication without Written Permission Prohibited