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"For the Love You Gave": A Digital Story 

by Katie Mullen

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
Becoming a Meaning Maker: The Theory of Digital Storytelling

Creating a digital story, although sometimes a tricky process, proves to result in an amazing product that makes an ordinary story come to life. Digital storytelling transcends the plain, monotonous, 1-dimensional interface and 

creates a moving experience that involves much more than a simple read. According to Bernajean Porter in “The Art of Digital Storytelling: Become a Digital Storykeeper,” the digital storytelling process “helps us transform isolated facts into illuminated, enduring understandings,” and has the ability to make information come to life. In an age where digital spaces are influential, the move towards more interactive spaces is welcomed. Another important part about digital storytelling is the presentation of oneself in a way that is altogether personal and understandable. The power of this storytelling is not in hearing about someone else’s life, but “rather in shifting the lens to using the setting, details, and events for telling your story with experience” (Porter). Often what makes a good story is a digital “spine” of sorts, holding the audiences' attention by delivering a timely, memorable ending.

 

As the presence of digital storytelling increases, the move towards more expressive tales is indicative of changing ideals. Individuals are portrayed online with color, texture, expressions, and vivacity, and the emergence of digital storytelling only enhances these portrayals. 

Thus, the 21st Century calls for more advanced skills that focus not only on print literacy, but also on creativity and intuition. Porter goes on to say that “the process of crafting a digital story becomes rich in technical, communication, collaborative, oral speaking, creativity, visual and sound literacy, and project management skills.” The skill of fashioning a lesson from an otherwise personal and unrelatable story is one of the most important digital skills,and it transforms digital storytellers into “meaning makers.” Authors must be innovative and creative in the process and must employ skills more applicable to real world problem solving and higher-order thinking. My favorite part about being becoming a digital storyteller is the ability to ‘feel’ my words and have others recognize the emotion in my telling, much more so than in a print read.

 

Not only does digital storytelling employ skills and techniques needed in an increasingly technological age, but it also is representative of digital rhetoric and persuasive ideals. According to Nicholas C. Burbules in his piece “The Web as a Rhetorical Place,” the key characterization between place and space is that a place has an “objective and locational direction: people can look for a place, find it, move within it.” It means something important to a person or group of people, and although it may not always be communicable to others, it is easily visible. The web is a place of meaning and purpose and the creation of a digital story mimics these central values. When one becomes a digital storyteller, they are attaching a piece of themselves, adding a personal quality, crafting their own lesson. When users are in a place, “they always know where they are and what it means to be there” (Burbules, 2002). There is also an important element of pathos to digital stories, a sense of emotion that draws the reader in and captures the sentiments of the digital rhetorician. With the combination of text, audio, images, and an overall lesson, digital stories are a multimodal interface that creates a new outlet for digital users. Digital storytelling is emotional, informative, and creative and showcases tales unlike any other.

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 Reflections of the Process

Perhaps my favorite project thus far, creating a digital story employs a variety of skills and truly makes words come to life. When seeing the finished product, clad in personal images and sentimental songs, it is apparent that all the hard work that goes in really pays off.

 

Combining sound, images, video, and words proved to be quite a difficult task, for each piece had to flow seamlessly into one another. Finding the right songs and trying to capture the right moment takes 

patience and imagination. One has to look more towards the future as the overall look and sound of a video is imagined; certain parts that may even seem awkward at first prove to be vital upon further development. Mixing the sound together was probably my strong point, for I liked setting the mood and finding the perfect moment in certain songs. I found that putting the pictures together proved most difficult, because I didn't always have the right picture for every part in my story and the order was always a little off. I wasn't really used to using iMovie before this, so at times, learning was a little frustrating. 

 

Watching my final video, I am extremely happy with how it looks and I am glad that I worked so diligently on it. I think I was able to accurately express the emotion in my story with the music, and I could take viewers through a small part of my life with old pictures. My colleagues were able to accomplish the same goals, and watching their videos truly opened my eyes to what amazing people they are. The different stories that shaped each and every person in the room are so diverse and inspiring. I love being able to know a little more about the people that I see everyday and take for granted. 

 

The power of digital storytelling, from viewing my video, is undoubtedly in the empathy and the ability to make the emotion come to life. I hope that people can feel what I felt when I wrote my story: the power in becoming who I am and the inspiration from the words of my mom. Today's culture is everchanging, fast-paced, and has a small attention span, and stories have to capture something more than just interest. Digital stories entice viewers into visiting a little portion of another's life so that perspectives can shift. My video aims to show people what influences me everyday, and I hope that one can truly feel the motivation in my words.

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About the Author

Hi there, my name is Katie Mullen, and I am currently a freshman at the Macaulay Honors College at John Jay.   On a regular day (provided it's sunny, of course), you can find me playing just about any sport; I love doing anything active. One thing that I've recently discovered about myself is that I also love traveling; I recently took a trip to Ireland to visit my relatives and enjoyed it a little bit too much. Now, I dream of traveling through more vast spaces like Australia and Brazil and Russia, and have really got to start saving up now...

 

Majoring in forensic psychology with a passion for statistics, I hope to become an intelligence analyst for a government agency like the FBI or the NSA. Criminal pathology has always been a topic of interest to me, and with these two complimentary focuses in tow, I can provide an intersting analysis of both crime and the social justice issues behind it. 

 

I was introduced to the topic of wrongful convictions in my cognitive psychology class, and I was immediately intrigued as to why they happen. I heard several heart-wrenching stories of innocent people subjected to cognitive weaknesses such as eyewitness misidentification and false confessions. It was then that I found the Innocence Project: dedicated to helping those wrongfully convicted and thwarting the issues that imprison them forevermore. I hope to educate others on the facts regarding wrongful convictions and let the stories of those exonerated be heard. While I am still only a student, I aspire to develop my skills as a writer, as a blogger, and as an activist! 

 

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How to Cite this:

Mullen, K. (Spring 2015). "For The Love You Gave" Digital Spectrum: First Year Digital Essays, Stories, and Projects, 2, 1. Retrieved from https://johnjay.digication.com/katie-mullen/Welcome/published

 

 Edited by Stephanie Velasquez

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.