Telling Stories

Storybooks on a shelfLast week I participated in a workshop sponsored jointly by the Center for Digital Storytelling (CDS) and Swarthmore College.  It was an intense three-day experience, in which about a dozen participants were taught the basics of constructing an effective narrative using images, music, and voice.   The folks from CDS (Andrea Spagat, Lisa Nelson-Haynes) were just wonderful – skilled, patient, experienced – as were our ITS staff members who supported the workshop (Doug Willens, Michael Jones, and Eric Behrens).

I had wanted to learn more about this technology to see if it might be a useful way for IR to share information with the community.  I can envision short, focused instructional vignettes, such as tips on constructing surveys, everyday assessment techniques, or even how to interpret a particular factbook table that is vexing.   (Generally, a table that requires instructions ought to be thrown out!)   We may try one of these and see how it goes.

I learned about the technology, but I also learned some amazing stories about my Swarthmore colleagues who participated with me.   These stories often reflect important personal experiences, which could have been difficult to share if it weren’t such a supportive environment.  An unexpected outcome of the workshop is that a group of colleagues all got to know each other a lot better!