About Digital Storytelling

The 7 Elements of Digital Storytelling

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.

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 audience to the story.

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 story.

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 differ slightly 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 stories created by students. The modified elements are shown below.

1. The Overall Purpose of the Story
2. The Narrator’s Point of View

3. A Dramatic Question or Questions

4. The Choice of Content

5. Clarity of Voice

6. Pacing of the Narrative

7. Use of a Meaningful Audio Soundtrack

8. Quality of the Images, Video & other Multimedia Elements

9. Economy of the Story Detail

10. Good Grammar and Language Usage

Watch the video:  7 Elements of Digital Storytelling in 4 Minutes


More information about the elements of effective digital stories may be found online at the following sites:

Digital Storytelling in Language Arts

Teaching the Seven Elements

Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling from the University of Virginia

The Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling