The Center for Digital Storytelling (CDS) in Berkeley, California is known for developing and disseminating the Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling, which are often cited as a useful starting point as you begin working with digital stories.

CDS' Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling
1. Point of View What is the main point of the story and what is the perspective of the author?
2. A Dramatic Question A key question that keeps the viewer's attention and will be answered by the end of the story.
3. Emotional Content Serious issues that come alive in a personal and powerful way and connects the story to the audience.
4. The Gift of Your Voice A way to personalize the story to help the audience understand the context.
5. The Power of the Soundtrack Music or other sounds that support and embellish the storyline.
6. Economy Using just enough content to tell the story without overloading the viewer.
7. Pacing The rhythm of the story and how slowly or quickly it progresses.

The specific requirements of an educational digital story vary a little from the original Seven Elements for Digital Stories. Working with the Seven Elements that CDS developed, we added a few new items to make them more applicable to the types of digital storytelling our students create at the University of Houston. The modified elements are shown below.

1. The Overall Purpose of the Story 6. Pacing of the Narrative
2. The Narrator’s Point of View 7. Use of a Meaningful Audio Soundtrack
3. A Dramatic Question or Questions 8. Quality of the Images, Video & other Multimedia Elements
4. The Choice of Content 9. Economy of the Story Detail
5. Clarity of Voice 10. Good Grammar and Language Usage

For more information about how these elements are used in the classroom, you may be interested in the following articles:

The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling

A Multilevel Approach to Using Digital Storytelling in the Classroom

Additional information about the Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling may be found online at the following sites:

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