Saturday, February 5, 2011

Reflections from International DST Conference - Day 1 (Part One)

With over 200 participants registered for the 4th International Digital Storytelling conference I am not phased at all by the fact that I am the only New Zealander present and have probably travelled the furtherest to be here. The small number of participants provides an intimate context to establish and maintain some great conversations with other participants - a little different from the thousands I am used to at Ulearn.

So what was the attraction to a conference on the other side of the world I hear you ask? As I detailed in my previous post Digital Storytelling has captured my interest for some time, the opportunity to hear both Glynda Hull and Joe Lambert at the same event was definitely something I was keen on engaging in, but what was more appealing was the fact that I would hear about Digital Storytelling in a range of different contexts - health, education, social justice, historical colletions and across a range of different countries. It seemed to me that this was an opportunity to experience professional development like no other.

Without a doubt, Day One has been amazing! I have been inspired during workshops as well as by conversations held throughout lunch and morning tea sessions. Today, I sat with a lady at lunch who is currently a photo-journalist as well as having a background in social anthropology. I also met a filmographer, an aviation museum curator and a woman who uses digital storytelling in student teacher reflections all whilst chatting over lunch. I've always been a firm believer as a teacher in the importance of looking outside the walls of education to be inspired by other sectors and using this to inform my own thinking. This conference has already exceeded my thinking in this area. The common theme that brings us all together is stories: Everybody has a story to tell!

Reflection on the Opening Korero.

Joe Lambert from the Center for Digital Storytelling opened the conference with a brief overview of the history of Digital Storytelling and a re-cap of previous International Digital Storytelling Conferences. What the heck is storytelling? Just about everybody today is a storyteller, from our Twitter and Facebook updates to slideshows and movies of happenings in our lives. The mix of images, audio, video and a story is considered Digital Storytelling.

While I feel that I am familiar with the Center of Digital Storytelling (CDS) and the work they do (well at least I thought I was) it seems that I have yet to scratch the surface to the depth of the CDS model, which means I really do need to look into the work they do.

While brief, Joe Lambert's message opening speech was clear: Digital Storytelling is about giving voice to those who do not have a voice. It's not only the 'how to' of Digital Storytelling but how it can make you a better person and how it changes you. What does this mean when I adapt it to my context working with early childhood teachers in Tāmaki-Maungakiekie, and who are we to give voice to those who have a voice? Surely Everybody has a voice? Isn't it more about strengthening, turning up, spotlighting ones voice? It looks like I've got some 'intellectual conflict' in store for me (Burman, 2009). More thinking on that statement to come later.


  1. Very inspiring Naketa. I too am excited by what I have seen developing through digital storytelling and know it is a very powerful tool. I love the notion of giving voice to those who do not have a voice. This is something that was done really well in the Tamaki Transformation Project!!! Can't wait to delve deeper and learn more. Thanks for sharing and enhancing my professional learning and thinking:-)

  2. Hi Naketa, have enjoyed your twitter updates and posts from the conference. I am a big fan of using primary source material to support learning as you might know from my support of Digistore. I see digital story telling as part of this not only learning from 'the raw materials of history" but students also creating and sharing their own history. Love the video you shared and have embedded on the Digistore wiki.

    Nga mihi nui,


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