Easy Dancing by Joanie, a middle school computer/art teacher who participated in California’s CUE Spring 2005 Digital Storytelling Camp. Joanie tells a touching story about a defining moment...
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Learning from one's own experiences depends upon being able to communicate our experiences as stories to others. Schank, R. Tell Me a Story
Itza Wrap is a variation of digital storytelling expressing personal narratives/experiences about lessons learned from projects, initiatives, grants or units of study. They are reflective stories that reveal personal experiences and answer the questions what did you hear? What did you learn? And what do you think? What insight(s) did the experience give you? What do you now know or understand? Itza Wrap stories showcase personal experiences in grants, goals, initiatives and special projects, add compelling human experience to text/numeric evaluations or action research projects, or create personal reflections for student/teacher portfolios on lessons learned.
This category of stories has more to do with conveying the emotional, inspiring and qualitative value of experience rather than conveying specific information about content or program logistics or summarizing details. Digital storytelling at the end of projects, programs or initiatives engages each person's voice in telling the personal story of lessons learned using their own unique experiences.
Itza Wrap digital stories honor the work and learning of the participants, as well as inspiring others in ways that data cannot. These digital stories require participants to answer some very important questions for themselves and others: What difference did we make? What difference can the work or learning we develop continue to make for others?
Three Plot Points
The personal narrative of an Itza Wrap digital story is organized around three main plot points: context, experience and impact.
- The first plot point identifies the context of the project for the viewer. What was the title and purpose(s)? What results, and outcomes were expected? For whom? Do not take up too much story space telling project information or implementation logistics - this is not directly about knowing the project. We need to know only enough to give the context for your story. Consider context as similar to a story's setting.
- The second plot point describes your personal experience. Where did you start in your beliefs, skills or attitudes? What were the key highlights or learning experiences? There isn't time to include everything that happened - find the story in the story that will quickly represent the essence of your experience. Consider experience similar to a story's plot.
- The third plot point reveals the impact or difference that was made - the lesson(s) learned. This is the key message that makes up a major portion of the emotional space if not story space. Understanding "impact" should not be an afterthought or post script - it is the heart of the story for the author as well as the viewers. The Itza Wrap story is organized around sharing the impact. Design visual representations, sound, the use of "guest voice(s)" and other digital compositions to evoke understanding, inspiration and appreciation for lessons learned - the differences that were made. Consider impact as similar to a story's dénouement
Whether in businesses, organizations or schools, the power of people's work and experiences is much greater than the numbers found in evaluations or bottom lines. Any individual, non-profit organization or business that wants to generate publicity or even build community within their project groups, will find these personal digital stories of their work worth doing and probably even more powerful than sending out a professional camera crew to try to capture their stories.