digital storytelling,  education,  media literacy,  museums,  timeless

The future of digital storytelling in public spaces

This post is a response to a question asked on Museum 3.0 group about: “the future of digital storytelling in regards to broader social networking tools” by Angelina Russo, an Associate Professor at Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia. As this question’s related to museum of the future, I’ll begin with an editorial approach to applications of digital storytelling in museums, libraries, galleries and other public spaces before addressing technical issues.

The teaching of the activity of digital storytelling in public spaces can form part of a museum’s educational program where:

  • people learn about history, area, objects, etc.
  • the learning spans curriculum areas
  • media literacy is improved
  • citizens get their voice ‘exhibited’ in their spaces

By the way, making a digial story in a workshop offers the best experience with associated community benefits. Kiosks offer a poorer experience but fewer resources are needed. Here are some themes of digital stories shown in public spaces:

  • personal reflection by individuals about object(s) owned by museum (rights permitting)
  • personal reflection about people’s own treasured objects. This is a good way of injecting meaning when museums present iconic objects like gameboys, Etch-a-Sketch and teddy bears
  • personal stories about an era or past event
  • stories about ‘now’, which will take on different significance when exhibited in the future
  • content presented won’t always be especially commissioned, it’ll also be licensed from authors already self-publishing their digital stories and videos on the web

Technical trends include:

  • mobile phones being used to capture and increasingly to edit and upload stories
  • video clips as well as still images being used as building blocks of digital stories because individuals’ personal archives consist increasingly of video clips, often on mobile phones.
  • use of social networking tools result in more call and response and ‘answer stories’, communities of interest, online storage and editing of stories.
  • a move to high-definition video

Thanks to Angelina Russo for asking this question.

Guggenheim museum photo

Written and first published by Gareth Morlais on 8 June 2009

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