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Web 2.0 Storytelling Workshop at NMC

cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

It was more than enough fun to co-author an EDUCAUSE Review paper with Bryan Alexander, but more fun to run a workshop on it at the 2009 NMC Summer Conference. We had a really active group of participants, and certainly no lightweights, as there is some pressure trying to stand up and tell something new to people like Gardner Campbell, Chris Lott, Nick Noakes, Phil Long, etc.

What we did not have was enough time.

Bryan and I had tossed together a long list of ideas which we tried to whittle down to the wiki page for the workshop:


Before the workshop, we asked participants if they did not have them already, to have accounts on twitter, flickr, voicethread, glogster, xtranormal. As an experiment as we went around the room doing normal self intros, we asked them to also tweet an intro using our #web2storytelling hash tag — this was pretty active, and other people at the conference enjoyed following along remotely.

We moved people into groups, and with pre-made group wiki pages for each to add.record their work. Being in Monterey, we came up with names like Whale Watchers, Steinback Fans, Canners from the Row, Looking for Clint Eastwood, and Summer of Love.

Our plan was to have them do some simple activities that built on each other, ideally at the end producing a story for the group (We did have some interesting discussion during the workshop whether it was more appropriate to create singly or in groups).

The first activty was meant to introduce them to Voicethread- we created one we called Mystery Places with flickr creative commons photos and some prompts to get them to respond using the VoiceThread tools.

They then were to choose one as a group to start as a “setting”, figure out how to get the image in their group page, and add some notes to the wiki describing the setting.

We then did a little song and dance on creative commons image searching, and asked them to find and use at least 2 more flickr images that could build on their story.

Next we introduced the concept of developing character voicing, and gave them some time to see how this has been done using blogs as a narrative tool. We then gave them an option to use twitter to develop a character (tweet out what a character might say) or use the fun movie creation tool xtranormal to do a mini movie (e.g. like this example).

They all dove into xtranormal.

We could barely get their attention back.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

We ran short on time for what we hope was the close, building out a story as a video using something like Jaycut or a web media poster tool like Glogster. Our idea was we had slips of paper to hand them with our own crazy pre-scripted movie endings, like “The spaceship landed and we all went inside” or “They danced with joy among the Hobbits” thinking it would be fun to see how people make a path to a given ending.

We did not get quite that far, but if you looka t the groups pages and see what they did, you might agree with us that they certainly did a lot for a 3 hour slot. See:

Thanks again Bryan for being fun to work with and everyone who was there who was fun to create stories with.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Thanks for Tweeting this. I will try review this to update my 2005 era take on digital storytelling. I was in Monterrey 2 weeks prior (my son is considering getting a BA in their TAT program. It is indeed a beautiful place to be while creating! mgf

  2. Fun fun fun fun fun fun macabre fun fun fun fun uncanny fun fun fun fun fun elvis fun fun fun fun gothic fun fun fun fun fun!

    Learned at ton, too.

    You guys redefine the phrase “dynamic duo.”

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