Introduction
I created my first digital story in 2003. Two brilliant teachers from Berke-
ley’s Center for Digital Storytelling led a workshop at the Center for Edu-
cational Technology in Middlebury, Vermont. That latter center inhabited
an old building, the former court­house for Addison County. ­There, Joe
Lambert and Emily Paulos met with a dozen of us, and we learned to turn
new technologies to storytelling purposes between gleaming labs and refur-
bished court offices. We wrote voiceovers while watching the morning
sun light up the Green Mountains’ slopes, scanned photos ­under fluo­
rescent lights, and shared our final films on DVD in a darkened, 19th-­
century courtroom.
In a sense, that experience was the genesis of this book. My quirky tale
of experiencing The War of the Worlds convinced me of the power of blend-
ing personal life and digital technology. Through recorded voiceover,
photos snagged through Google Images, audio tracks drawn from podcasts,
and frantically typed subtitles, I remembered being terrified by a book
when I was a child: H. G. Wells’s novel of alien invasion, hauntingly illus-
trated by the late, ­ great Edward Gorey (Looking Glass Library, 1960). I
recalled how the memory of that terror returned to me as an adult when a
copy crossed my desk at a used bookshop.1 The Center for Digital Story-
telling class helped me remix ­ those memories with technology, drawing
forth emotions I’d forgotten, eliciting new reflections. The experience was
si­mul­ ta ­ neously a deep dive into my past, a fast yet effective grappling with
multiple technologies, and an epiphany about the new nature of story.
In a dif­fer­ent sense, though, I created my first digital stories back in the
1990s, as when I created a virtual haunted mansion for students in my
gothic lit­er­a­ture class. It was ­ really just a series of Web pages, each hold-
ing some small piece of literary criticism or content. Very ­little media was
involved beyond text, dark backgrounds, and some images. ­ Those pages
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