My Digital Tattoo: A pleasant surprise

On our recent 10th grade trip to Salvador, Bahia we had students create 6-Word Reflections. In one of our meetings one of the teachers showed examples for the kids to learn from. Imagine my surprise when one of the examples was a 6-word story that I created years ago. It was even before I started working at Graded. It’s was one of those moment, “hey, that’s my photo!” The teacher just happened to find it in her search for examples and she noticed that it was mine. This just goes to show you that you never know when your online work will show up.


You can find this one and others at the 6 Word Story Project.
You can find this one and others at the 6 Word Story Project.



Let’s get practical example #2 – Changing your assessments

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Heidi Hayes-Jacobs suggests that the first step that teachers take it to adopt a 21st century assessment. She suggests that you begin by changing one per semester. Let’s consider digital story telling as a 21st century assessment.

So, what would it take for you, as a teacher to change one of your current summative assessments into a digital storytelling project?

Identifying Related Standards and Benchmarks

When looking at your curriculum, can you find defined skills and knowledge that students can be assessed on using digital storytelling? I bet that you can find standards and benchmarks in your subject matter, and your information technology and library curricula. By using all three you’re providing students with exposure to a variety of 21st century skills and knowledge.

Take a look at the enGauge 21st Century Skills that were identified by the Digital Directors Guild.

enGauge® 21st Century Skills: Literacy in the Digital Age

Digital-Age Literacy

  • Basic, scientific, economic, and technological literacies
  • Visual and information literacies
  • Multicultural literacy and global awareness
  • Inventive Thinking
  • Adaptability and managing complexity


  • Curiosity, creativity, and risk taking
  • Higher-order thinking and sound reasoning
  • Effective Communication

Teaming, collaboration, and interpersonal skills

  • Personal, social, and civic responsibility
  • Interactive communication
  • High Productivity

Prioritizing, planning, and managing for results

  • Effective use of real-world tools
  • Ability to produce relevant, high-quality products

Digital Storytelling is not just for English and Social Studies

The Digital Directors Guild has suggestions for all subject matters.

Science – How about time lapsed photography to tell the story of an experiment? Maybe an infomercial or documentary?

Math – A visual representation of a complex problem or the story of how a student mastered their learning? Maybe a documentary on a math related topic?

Art – The use of photos to tell and artistic story or a documentary describing a historical art topic.

The possibilities are endless.

Determining the Appropriate Tool

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano has written Digital Storytelling Tools for Educators and in it she identifies 7 free tools that can be used for storytelling. As part of the process, students need to determine if they will tell the story with video, images, text or audio. Once that is determined, the appropriate tool can be chosen. This is something that our academic technology person can help you and your students with selecting the right tool and learning it. Richard Byrne in Free Technology for Teachers provides lots of links to related sites. Alan Levine at CogDog blog has identified 50+ ways to tell a digital story.

Researching Examples

You can find examples at Tech Teachers.

What else will you need to help students create digital stories?