Digital storytelling

This resource will help you understand basic concepts and tools to create a digital story.

What is a digital story?

A digital story is a multimedia presentation combining a variety of digital elements within a narrative structure (a story). Media may include text, images, video, audio, social media elements (e.g. Tweets) and interactive elements (e.g. digital maps).

“…digital storytelling combines the best of two worlds: the "new world" of digitised video, photography and art, and the "old world" of telling stories.”

Dana Atchley, Digital Storytelling pioneer


Before you begin, check your Subject Outline or assessment description to find out how you’re required to submit your digital story and what format/s are accepted by your Subject Coordinator.

While there are many ways to create a digital story, here are some key questions to help guide you along the way:

  • What is the purpose of telling this story?
  • What feelings and perspectives do I want to convey to the audience?
  • How might I sequence the story with a beginning, middle and end?

Examples of digital stories

Other useful guides

What is Digital Storytelling? (2:03)

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


What is Digital Storytelling?

Digital Storytelling uses multimedia tools to bring narratives to life.

Digital Stories can be used to explain a concept, to reflect on a personal experience, to retell a historical event, or to make an argument.

Digital stories are typically videos that combine audio, images, and video clips to tell a story.

Even though we recommend that digital stories be two to three minutes long, a lot of work goes into making one!

Once you’ve determined the purpose of your digital story, you will need to create a script and a storyboard.

Digital stories are versatile and can cover a wide variety of topics.

When writing a script, students will need to decide what their digital story will accomplish.

The script or storyboard will reflect what type of digital story that the students will make.

They will then need to record their script and find media for their storyboard.

The Next Step is to create your video!

Depending on your script and storyboard, you may need to:

  • Record your voiceover
  • Gather or create images or video clips
  • And choose music and sound effects

Finally, put all the elements together and enjoy the final product!

If you’re interested in learning more about these steps, check out the guides and videos that we have linked in the description.

So, why create a digital story?

Creating a digital story is an engaging way to share information that requires creativity, self-direction, and experimentation with new technologies.

Digital Storytelling

You may want to collect images, music, media and statistics to help tell your story. There are many websites where you can access free content but remember to carefully read and follow any attribution and usage rules for each item and check the site’s licensing or ‘terms of use’ page.

Find images

Find music and videos

Find open data and statistics

Find and correctly use Creative Commons material

Tip: Keep track of citation information as you collect material. That way you’ll have all the information you need to properly reference it later. One strategy is to set up a spreadsheet with column headings such as: creator, title, URL, licence.

You can only take and use photographs, sound recordings or videos of someone if they have provided you with their informed consent.

Before a participant can give their informed consent, you must ensure they clearly understand:

  • what a digital story is
  • what your digital story is about (e.g. themes, topics)
  • how your digital story will be created (what platform/software you are using)
  • what they are asked to contribute (e.g. voice, image, video)
  • how their contribution may be edited and what context it will be used in
  • where your digital story will be accessed from (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo) and how long it will be available there
  • who will and who might be able to access and share your digital story.

For children, informed consent should be obtained from a parent or legal guardian.

UOW Talent and Performance Release Form 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander material and information

If you plan to explore aspects of Aboriginal knowledge and culture in your digital story, it is important to also familiarise yourself with the following resources:

Now you’ve collected a variety of media, begin creating and editing your digital story with the Learning Co-Op’s tools for creative production:

You can also use equipment and software in the UOW Student Makerspace to put together your digital story.

Just as you include referencing in any other assignment, you must reference all elements of your digital story that are not your own, including ideas, data, images, video and audio.

See the  Referencing Guide for how to credit different types of material (this guide does not cover all forms of digital media, so if a type of media you’re using isn’t shown, check with your lecturer about how to reference it).

While some sites like Unsplash and Pixabay have licences that do not require you to give credit, free material under Creative Commons licences still requires you to give credit and indicate the type of licence:

It’s usually acceptable to have the list of credits at the end of your digital story.