Buckets of Mixable Ideas

I’m often asked for recommendations of tools or pre-built activities for digital storytelling. But like the creative acts themselves, often the best are remixes or ideas spawned from others. Here I provide some broad buckets of activities with examples drawn from projects I have been part of.

Many of these come from the DS106 Open Digital Storytelling course and specifically it’s unique platform of an Open Assignment Bank.

I was asked once by a fellow educator for recommendations in tying these to school subjects

not at all an unreasonable request. My response to Dean was more or less, “not off the shelf, but it does not take much to recast them into contexts a teaching might need.”

The other bearing is most of DS106 is aimed at post-secondary students; but we have plenty of examples where teachers have adapted one such as the four icon story assignment for primary level students. I’ve done it myself

I was asked to devise a story telling activity for 2nd graders. It dawned on me when I got to the classroom that the last time I did anything with grade 2– I was one of them! What would I do? I riffed off of a classic ds106 assignment that other educators have already shown works well with elementary school students- the four icon challenge.

Modified of course – I called it Telling a Story in 4 Pictures and 4 Sounds

Thinking on hundreds of DS106 Assignments and Daily Creates I have seen, below are six broad “families” of activities with examples linked. None of them are specific to a tool or platform, and all are potentially remixable. And these do not completely represent every activity type!

Noticing the World

Public Domain Pixabay photo by vborodinova

With our faces often buried in our phones or solely aimed at our destinations, we move through a world rich in detail, texture, subtle sounds, motion most un-noticed. Through activities aimed at paying more attention to these elements– patterns on flooring, ambient sounds, we can gain a greater sense of awareness and care for our local environments.

Creating / Understanding Character

Public domain Wikimedia Commons image

Characters are central to stories; these activities are aimed at creating media to give characters voice, presence, or to explore possible aspects into them.

Creative Combinations

“2010/365/91 I Can’t Work Under These Conditions!” flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using (CC0)

These are the creative acts such as placing media together not normally found together Creative Combinations (Juxtaposition), assembling into collections / collages (Curation), changing meaning or message (Riffing & Remixing).

Say it With Media

Public domain pixabay image by geralt

These activities all engage in communication of ideas, messages in any medium but text.

Alt-ing The Story or Reality

Public domain pixabay photo by andymeyer67

Remix or re-edit something from the known world and cast it into a different meaning, time or place.

What if? (Pure Experimentation)

Activities where you may not even be able to guess the outcome until you experiment.


Image credit: Pixabay photo by Free-Photos placed into the public domain using Creative Commons CC0

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