Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Digital Storytelling


Storytelling to Hone Presentation Skills

See also Grace Baron's PSY334 "Practicum in Human Services" page, in which she used Pecha-Kucha in class to report back on intense internship experiences

Increasingly, faculty at Wheaton have been encouraging Digital Storytelling practices in their students' class presentations, particularly by assigning the Pecha-Kucha presentation style. Pecha-Kucha limits the presenter to 20 slides, each of which is displayed for exactly 20 seconds. The slides advance automatically, outside of the presenter's control.

Truth be told, Pecha-Kucha presentations do not have to be Digital Stories (narrative form is not required), but there are significant similarities in the use of slides with images — rather than written text — to accompany a short oral performance. And like a good storytelling, Pecha-Kucha presentations should be engaging, entertaining social events, not dry formal affairs.

Because it shares so many features with Digital Storytelling, we have tended to treat Pecha-Kucha as manifestations of the same principles underlying Digital Storytelling: clarity of communication, multimedia presentation, and compressed, emotive treatments of topics.

Making your chase for change

Students in Lisa Lebduska's ENG280: Writing in Professional Contexts class each gave a Pecha-Kucha pitch for a change on campus; Kevin Morton took on smoking at Wheaton.

Analyzing media

Students in "Writing about Writing" were asked to compose rhetorical analyses of representations in the Trayvon Martin killing. Their goal was not to determine the guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin’s killer. It was, instead, to examine the various visual and textual representations of the killing, and to consider how these representations both reflected and shaped audience views of Zimmerman, Martin and race in the United States.

Digital storytelling allowed the students to examine media images related to the killing, to examine what was and was not being said; what was changed; what was juxtaposed and why and to tell their own stories about storytelling. While sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, a flag is never just a flag.

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