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Anthology Storytelling 1: Storytelling in the age of the internet, new technologies, data, artificial intelligence

Anthology Storytelling 1: Storytelling in the age of the internet, new technologies, data, artificial intelligence

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Anthology Storytelling 1: Storytelling in the age of the internet, new technologies, data, artificial intelligence

229 pages
2 hours
Oct 29, 2018


The purpose of this anthology is to provide an overview of the themes-universe under which storytelling is labeled today. Storytelling has gained increasing attention for a variety of purposes, from literature, science, technology, education, leadership to marketing.  Storytelling has seen many technological disruptions since the dawn of humanity. From people sitting at the campfire, listening together to stories, to the internet which enables global audiences, and technologies like AR and VR with new user experiences up to immersiveness.

What about this question: Does storytelling influence the lives of billions of people like the smartphone, robots, graphene-based batteries, nuclear-fusion, deep learning? 

24 authors voice their views of their angle of storytelling. 

Oct 29, 2018

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Anthology Storytelling 1 - Ruediger Drischel




This anthology is dedicated to the storytellers and story listeners in all the branches of storytelling. As a start into an ongoing reflection about storytelling with regularly themes & contributions in a digital journal, this anthology is just the first oversight. 

A full-hearted THANK YOU to all the distinguished contributors, who sound like an A-list of storytelling: from the dedicated, renowned storytellers, the highly talented blogger, the professional science writer, the famous marketer, the enthusiastic artist, to the academics of world top-tier universities, who all show their interest and engagement for an issue, which is deeply rooted in the human civilization: Storytelling.

A special thank you to Gene Bellinger who delivered the first contribution to this project, to Marc Jadoul for his creative proposals for the title and the cover and finally to Allison Bartsch, who corrected my own contributions to make them better comprehensible to the distinguished readers. 

Ruediger Drischel, September 2018 




My dear Adeimantus, you and I are not engaged on writing stories, but on founding a state. And the founders of a state, though they must know the type of story the poet must produce, and reject any that do not conform to that type, need not write them themselves’.

Socrates to Plato’s brother Adeimantus in Republic.

I regret, not to sit face to face with Plato in a cafénion, at the Plaka¹, below the ruins of the Acropolis, near the ancient Agora, after a pleasant sailing trip from Crete via Santorini to Athens. It would take two minutes or two Turkish coffees, to convince Plato that he himself had been one of the greatest storytellers of all times.

Though Plato refers storytelling predominantly to poetry and literature, ".... (to) know the type of story  …." is an indication, he knew about the diverse understandings of storytelling.

A discourse about Storytelling

While everyone today seems to be excited about storytelling, they use the expression in a different context with different meanings. That is the new Babylon in which we live day by day.

The main objective of this anthology is to initiate a discourse about storytelling. If storytelling has as many meanings as the many use cases indicate, storytellers should know what they are talking about. This anthology, as a selection of articles, is a start of an ongoing process, a reflection of storytelling. Where Plato had to stay out of the discourse because storytelling was not his focus and priority, this anthology will step in.

To anticipate a paradigm shift for storytelling with the title of the anthology A New Age of Storytelling would be overstating the new aspect. Stories are still stories, people are still people. Yes, a diversity of new use cases reflects the ongoing evolution of civilization.

The real game-changer, though, is technology. In this regard has storytelling seen many new ages since the dawn of humanity. From people sitting at the fire, listening together to stories, to the internet which enables global audiences, and new technologies like AR/VR which create new user experiences happened with remarkable steps.

The impact of Storytelling on technology

The subtitle of this anthology is Storytelling in the age of the internet, new technologies, data, artificial intelligence. The impact of technology on storytelling seems to be obvious. What about this question: Does storytelling influence the lives of billions of people like the smartphone, robots, graphene-based batteries, nuclear fusion, deep learning? I am convinced it does.

Stories reflect the wishes, intentions, conflicts, life planning of the tellers and their audiences. They contain valuable information for technologists in creating a future for a humane civilization by transforming the essence of the stories into new technologies, products, services.

Back to the top. Plato writes, while the founders of the state must know the stories, they should not tell them. Similar, the technologists must understand the stories, though not be the storytellers. The interesting part is where storytelling and technology begin to dovetail. McLuhan might have said, the technology is the story, the technologist is the storyteller.

Here is a different take: The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values, and agenda of an entire generation that is to come. Steve Jobs, 1994.

Who is this elusive most powerful person? The technologist or you? Because they need each other, why not both?

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir Water Night.

Storytelling - A Tentative Structure

This tentative classification reflects the underlying structure of the anthology: 

CULTURE: Literature, Tales, Arts  

HUMAN RELATIONS. Education, Personality Development, Leadership, Therapy 

LIFE EXPERIENCE: Motivation, Faith, Morals 

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, PHILOSOPHY: Systems Thinking, Design Thinking,

New Technologies, Artificial Intelligence

ECONOMY: Business, Marketing, Product Development 

ALL THINGS STORYTELLING: Storytelling Theory, Best Practice, Perspectives 

A step to the development of a detailed taxonomy to navigate in the storytelling landscape.




Digital Storytelling at the National Gallery of Art

Julie Springer, National Gallery of Art;  Sara Kajder, University of Virginia; Julia Borst Brazas, Chicago WebDocent Project, USA

A Tapestry of Tales: How Storytelling Weaves Culture

Jon Ferreira

From Aristoteles to AI

Jason Xenopoulos

Confusion of Tongues

Storytelling As A Contribution To Overcoming Babylon

Ruediger Drischel

Digital Storytelling at the National Gallery of Art





Stories put us in touch with ourselves, others, and our surroundings. Using innovations in multimedia technology, student, and adult audiences can make personal connections to visual art and museum artifacts through new ways of storytelling. Digital storytelling is a new medium for this age-old practice and one that is humanistic, culturally rich, and globally relevant. This paper will review the pedagogical dimensions of a digital storytelling tutorial for K-12 teachers that took place at the National Gallery of Art's Teacher Institute in the summer of 2003. It will also examine how the concepts presented have been translated into real-world experience in Chicago public schools. The value of digital storytelling - for teachers and for museums - will be addressed through the perspectives of the museum educator who organized the Institute, a language arts teacher who served as a technology coach, and a program enrollee who develops online educational resources for Chicago public schools.


The 2003 Teacher Institute explored the connections among storytelling, imagery, and learning, while it examined the ways teachers can use art objects with storytelling activities in the classroom. The last three days of the program were an intensive, hands-on tutorial in which participants told their own stories about an artwork, artist, or experience with art through short, digital movies.  With help from coaches, teachers wrote, designed, and produced an electronic story using Adobe Photoshop Elements, Apple iMovie software, and Smartsound Sonicfire Pro.

Prior to their arrival, participants were offered tips on script duration, number of images, and use of video clips. A password-protected Web site was established to help them prepare.  The site outlined the educational premise for storytelling (digital and otherwise) and offered bibliographic and Web resources for crafting an effective movie (See Figure 1).

Why Storytelling, and Why Do It Digitally?

With the growing interest in storytelling across many sectors of society, it seemed a timely topic for the Teacher Institute and offered a perfect link to narrative art. Word and image go hand in hand. Until the Twentieth Century, paintings and sculpture were often vehicles for storytelling, and effective storytelling has always used rich visual metaphors for immediate, sensory effects. Recent research also suggests that people process and retain information in narrative structures and that stories are fundamental to making meaning.  According to learning theorist Roger C. Schank, stories are at the core of human intelligence.

Stories allow us to share our experiences and build a sense of community with others. Penninah Schram says:

Storytelling connects people.  It connects hearts. It helps answer questions like: Who am I? Who are my people?  With what values did they live? How should I live? How should I die? What are the legacies that I want to transmit to my children and to the next generation? (Mooney & Holt, 1996).

Bill Harley believes that storytelling is particularly important today:

With all the noise we have in this culture, it's heartening that one person talking can still command attention.  (Mooney & Holt, 1996).

The pedagogical dimensions of storytelling could be summarized as follows: they are

Humanistic: a culturally rich and venerated practice, global in relevance; encourages people to value their experiences both imaginary and real, and it puts us in touch with ourselves and others. Stories communicate values.

Cross-disciplinary: stories apply to many K-12 subjects, including language arts, history, social studies, and humanities

Cross-cultural: narrative structures cut across cultural and geographic spaces and unite oral, written, and technological literacies.

Multisensory, multimodal:  they have visual, auditory, kinesthetic properties

Constructivist: storytelling is learner-centered; tales are created out of an individual's knowledge and experience.

Learning directed:  we learn in narrative structures and think in terms of stories.

Storytelling about museum objects can be particularly powerful. Cultural treasures that have been singled out for preservation - cherished over time, fought over, bartered, stolen, celebrated in verse - can have a singularly powerful and evocative presence. Properly structured, storytelling activities encourage people to connect to these artifacts on a deeper, more personal level, reaching an understanding that goes beyond the more traditional, intellectualized parameters established by museum professionals (historical, cultural, stylistic, and biographical).  If proof is needed of the power of museum treasures to inspire storytelling, witness the rise of popular books and movies inspired by works of art, most recently Jan Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Digital storytelling allows many of the traditional elements of performance-based storytelling to be seamlessly integrated - the visual and verbal, the kinesthetic and auditory.  Because it incorporates a wide range of task - including scriptwriting and editing, image manipulation, voice-over narration, music selection, and timing - digital storytelling allows educators to address multiple learning styles within a single lesson.  Since it draws on a wide range of academic skills, digital storytelling also has impressive cross-curricular potential. Finally, it helps learners of all ages build the technological skills required in an increasingly electronic society. As they learn word-processing and imaging software or transfer video clips and still photographs from digital cameras to computers for use in their movies, digital storytellers master general technology concepts and operational skills.

Among master teachers, digital storytelling is rapidly becoming a major vehicle for building twenty-first-century literacies. According to Kathleen Tyner (1998), it offers the advantages of an experiential approach to learning while combining oral and alphabetic literacies with those intrinsic to the new multimedia.

The National Gallery Experiment

These theories and educational goals informed the 2003 Teacher Institute at the National Gallery of Art.  As part of a six-day professional development program about storytelling and the visual arts, teachers of varied disciplines, K-12, participated in a three-day digital storytelling tutorial conducted by Joe Lambert and Emily Paulos of the Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley, California.

Using Apple iMovie and Photoshop Elements imaging software, teachers produced a 3- to 5-minute movie that focused on an artistic motif of their choice.  They were asked to come to Washington with a one-page script of their voice-over narration and 10 to 20 images with which to tell their story. Participants were also provided with step-by-step guidance on how to build an effective story: the Center for Digital Storytelling's May 2003 revision of the Digital Storytelling Cookbook and Travelling Companion  was made available to them in printed and pdf formats. Upon completing the Institute, all were given copies of Lambert's book (2002), which covers technical matters while making an eloquent case for the transformative power of storytelling.

Meg's Story

Digital storytelling can be a compelling and satisfying process, from crafting the right story through every stage of the technological telling. It is learner-centered in the best way imaginable as it asks us to make meaning out of experience we deem significant.  The digital story made by Meg Garcia, a high school English and Art History teacher from southern California, is an outstanding example of authentic, object-based storytelling. Meg's story revolved around the child she hopes one day to have - a daughter, to be named Matisse after the French early Twentieth Century artist.  His colorful, decorative paper cutouts provided the visual foundation of the narrative. In these decorative collages painted with opaque watercolor (gouache), cut with scissors and then pasted in place, Meg saw her dreams for this child unfold:

Matisse Margaret Garcia will be the name of my daughter. I want my child to be unique and use her personal pair of scissors to craft the shape of her life. I want her imagination to be as vivid as gouache on paper …. I want her to be named after Matisse, who, in the face of crippling arthritis could not keep the sea snail in the depths of the ocean ….

Several factors make Meg's digital story successful. First, she is comfortable enough in her knowledge of Matisse and his work to allow her personal reflections to remain center stage. She thus avoids anything reminiscent of the documentary or historical narrative, which too often seems amateurish. Throughout, she strikes exactly the right emotional chord, overcoming the novice storyteller's inclination to aim for neutrality and distance, while steering clear of the opposite extreme: sentimentality. Her sensitivity to the artworks is keen and the associations gleaned from each personal and real. Words are chosen with a precision and economy that allow the individual images to carry the force of the story. What cannot be conveyed here, in writing, is the expressive power of Meg's own voice.

For educators looking to provide students with opportunities to develop literacies beyond the traditional printed word, digital storytelling is ideal (Kinzer & Leander, 2002; Leu, Karchmer, & Leu, 1999; Kinzer & Leu, 1997).  It brings students' narratives and inquiry into the classroom, extends their literacy skills, and challenges them to create within a multimedia environment that develops their skills as writers, directors, artists, programmers, and designers.  Further, students must exercise comprehension skills as viewers, asking how it is that they understand the story as it's now told in an oral, visual, and textual form. Here, meanings are not fixed and additive but multiplicative (Lemke, 1998).

Classrooms across the country have integrated digital storytelling into their content curricula.  Secondary science students use digital stories and

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