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Research Guides

Digital Storytelling

A guide that gets you started in the art of Digital Storytelling

Eight Steps to Great Digital Story Telling

Planning your Digital Story: 8 useful steps 

Planning your digital story is a key to your success! Here are some steps, designed by Samantha Morra. 

1. Start with an idea

All stories start with an idea and could consist of: 

  • A topic you've touched upon in class, including questions raised 
  • Research questions
  • Fiction of non-fiction

Once you have an idea, you can write a paragraph or a proposal, or create a mind-map that helps you to be concrete about your subject. 

2. Research/Explore/Learn

You will need to develop content for your digital story by incorporating research, whether your story is fiction or non-fiction. 

At this stage, organization is very important. I often use mind-mapping to help students keep track of information. Outlines, index cards, and online note-taking tools all work as well. If students can organize their information digitally, then it makes the next steps much easier.

3. Writing and Scripting 

Use your brainstorming and research to begin your writing and scripting process. You can use the information and content that you have already created in order to put together your story like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. Think through the perspective of the piece that you are writing: Will you write in first or third person? Think of scripting your digital story as similar to outlining or even writing a research paper or essay. Think about your vocabulary choices - what audience are you writing for?

4. Storyboard and Planning 

Your written script is just one component of your planning process. You will have to inventory all of the other components (audio and visual) of your digital story, and also think through how you will inventory them. Once you have created a list of the materials that you want to include, you will need to think about how you will integrate them. You can create a storyboard that will help to move your plan along. It helps you to integrate your script with various additional components.

5. Gather or Create Images, Audio, Video, etc. 

A step that you must take when creating a digital story is to collect/gather or create the materials that you will be using, whether those are images, audio clips, or videos. Your digital may completely consist of audio (for example a podcast), or a video (for example, a vlog, documentary, or film). You might also choose to create a storymap that integrates various visuals, audio, or videos). The audio/visuals that you create will affect the tone and impact of your digital story. For clips and images that you find, makes sure that you are following usage and citation guidelines.

Learn more about Creative Commons

Learn where you can find audio visual material:

6. Put It All Together

Once you have all of the pieces, it is time to bring your digital story together.This is also a good opportunity for you to see whether you have all of the content that you need as well. This is also your opportunity to explore various tools that will help to pull your story together, including StoryMaps, timelines, and various audio and video editing software. 

7. Share

One of the wonderful advantages of digital storytelling is that you can share it widely. Sharing online is now embedded in our culture, and it offer you an opportunity to share your story widely. You can choose how to share your story, whether it is though social media, a website, or the platform that you used to create it. Some platforms allow you to share just with those who associated with your organization. 


8. Reflection 

Reflection is an important part of the learning process. 

Too often in education, we do not teach or allow time for reflection and feedback. Ask yourself:

  • What did I learn?
  • What do I know about myself that I did not know before?
  • Are there areas I can improve for next time?



Adapted from Samantha Morra's "8 Steps to Great Story Telling," at, 2013 -