Digital Storytelling, the Data Way

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been amazed by some of the amazing stuff that’s being produced by students taking Jim Groom’s Digital Storytelling class (Jim has been blogging highlights on his bavatuesdays blog).

Part of the new OU course T215 Communication and information technologies includes various digital storytelling activities too, but I’m not sure the activities will be carried out in such an open way, which is a shame…

Anyway, Jim’s course has got me thinking about the whole idea of Digital Storytelling around data, so here are a selection of bits to pop onto a mood board to try to get a feel for what data inspired storytelling might mean…

7 Visualization Groups On Flickr to Find Inspiration

(I was hoping to post a walkthrough of an activity I’d designed as a final challenge for a robot/data logging residential school several years, but it seems that just such a walkthrough is being asked for as the piece of assessment for a residential course later this year. I’ll try to make good in a day or two with a similar sort of example using some of the F1 data we grabbed last week…)

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

4 thoughts on “Digital Storytelling, the Data Way”

  1. You rock Tony, thanks for these examples. They give me something to chew on. We are finishing up video mashups next week, and I will be working through some ideas that I will share with you for possibilities of a data digital story. It’s a great idea, and nothing like having the king of data mashups show me the way.

    I appreciate your throwing this out for me, and I think about 90% of the ideas and projects for this class have come from other people, which really suggests that such a course should be taught in a distributed format. Kind of like go to this blog on this day for your assignment, a kind of round robin class. In fact, I ight do that if I teach it again. Ask people to come up with an assignment or idea on a given day of the semester and talk about the details in class and let them go at it. It would actually help conquer one of the real issues I have with the way I am doing it now, namely they are not reading and interacting with peoples work beyond the class. One of the requirements was they find bloggers that are interested in similar things that they are working on and link to them and comment on their work, but as of now I see very little of this. That’s a shame, because that in many ways seems to be the most essential element of the class-just realizing how much is out there and how easy it is to become part of a larger network of thinking and experimenting.

    Your model will work, so how about this. You come up with an assignment, and I will send my students to your blog to figure it out. I would ask this seriously, but at the same time it is like I am giving an already insanely busy and productive guy more work. So I’ll try and hold my own here :)

    1. Hi Jim –
      Great idea re: the external sourcing of assignments. Joss and I have had a couple of chats about a related take on this arising from our JISCPress work, where Alex Bilbie, an undergrad at Lincoln, was retained as a developer on the project, and as a result now works part-time for Lincoln U Computing Services. So why’s this related? Because we thought it would make sense if we could find a way of getting university units, local companies, NGOs, etc, pitching *authentic* small project proposals into an “HE Can Help” database, and allowing students to run with those projects as part of their final year assessment.

      I’ll take the dog out for a walk now, have a ponder about possible assignment activities as I do so, and post anything vaguely relevant that comes to mind when I get back:-)

  2. Excellent post, Tony!

    As a teacher, I’d say every graph tells a story to the pupils, but these examples really help to share the story. We are currently running a research project with Durham University and VITAL ( It started as traditional storytelling in the classroom and then we realised how many areas stories are a part, for example, in designing products.

    The data visualisations reminded me of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ as an infographic (YouTube)

    Really enjoyed the post and the related links are great too. Thanks!

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