Sunday, September 11, 2011

Digital Story Reflection

I reflected on the story My Life in Toronto by Ambar Sabah from the Center for Digital Storytelling.

What was your overall impression of what you saw?
My overall impression of this story was that it was a creative way to tell a story about finding a place to call home. Instead of using images or people or herself to set the stage for her story, I like that Ambar chose fish instead. Because the subject of the story was migration and community, it had the potential to be trite but the creative use of color breathed new life into it. The imagery of this story was meaningful and powerful.

How could it be used in education?
A story like this one would be excellent for teaching students about identity, migration and culture. It could serve as a conversation starter about student's own experiences about making friends, building a community and their experiences in a new place. That discussion could also build empathy among students in the classroom.

How would you assess what you just saw?
I would assess this story on its use of imagery and metaphor and the deeper meaning they brought to the story. The movement of the yellow fish created the speed for the story beginning with a faster speed to mirror the crowding and chaos of her life in Pakistan and still images to show stability once she began to build a life. This story was a very personal tale for the author told through the first person instead of a detached piece. The strength of the story comes from Ambar's ability to tell her own story. The lack of music in this story allows the audience to focus on the images and narration instead of being emotionally swayed by the music. Ambar's story is relatable because it is based on a common human experience.


  1. Priscilla, I like that you commented on the lack of background music in this story. When I initially understood the idea behind digital storytelling I think I was instantly struck with the idea of brightly colored videos with music playing in the background to provoke the viewers emotions. However, as I have come to read in our textbook and in your blog, it seems that no music might be more powerful and more effective. It was initially a surprise to me, but after I watched "My Life in Toronto" and I compared it to other stories I have seen with background music, I came to realize how music can promote feelings that are not genuine from the viewer.

  2. Priscilla, I like your ideas of how to use this digital story in education. I believe it is a powerful instrument to teach beyond the curriculum, that is, teaching students to better themselves. Therefore, through their personal experiences and cultural behavior, it is possible to teach children to respect differences, which is much needed, in my opinion.

  3. I also enjoyed this particular digital story. I agree that it was a very creative way to for the author to tell her story. It definitely caught the audience’s attention, which is an essential element of storytelling!
    I think that you hit upon some important fundamentals of assessing digital stories as well. Not only can you look at the images and audio incorporated into the story, but story elements such as metaphor cannot be ignored. The story behind the video has to be just as compelling as the images used.