Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center

GENST 349: Digital Storytelling

“Tell me a fact and I’ll learn, Tell me a truth and I’ll believe, Tell me a story and I’ll remember it forever.”
– Native American Proverb

Why Digital Storytelling?

Growing up with unprecedented access to technology has changed the way young people, “digital natives,” communicate, interact, process information, and learn (Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005; Prensky, 2001a, 2001b). The use of Digital Storytelling as an instructional tool provides a means for learning subjectivity, rather than a subject… a way of approaching, understanding, and interacting with the world that today’s digital learners relate to, connect with, and are excited to participate in.

Storytelling is the oldest form of education.

Cultures have always told tales as a way of passing down beliefs, traditions, and history to future generations. As Muriel Rukeyser beautifully put it, “The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”  Throughout history, storytelling has been used to share knowledge, wisdom, and values. Composing a narrative story can help us to make order, or ‘sense’, from experiences, thoughts, memories, and emotions, providing a deeper dimension and more vivid understanding of an intellectual concept.

Digital Storytelling is quickly emerging as a foundational skill used as a means of both educating and demonstrating learning though a creative process that extends beyond the reach of the written word.










Eight Digital Stories addressing the questions: What does it mean to be a “Global Citizen”?

People’s lives are increasingly shaped by what happens in other parts of the world. Today we are connected to the rest of the world as never before. Throughout Spring Quarter, eight teams of students from the University of Washington and Waseda University in Japan have explored the question of “What does it mean to be a Global Citizen?”  Rather than determining a correct answer to this question, we have wrestled with the age-old art of storytelling to create a more realistic, varied, and personal answer that reflects the aligned values and global issues important to these students… who will soon be leading the world as tomorrow’s professionals.

The GEN ST 349 Global Citizenship & Digital Storytelling course is a partnership between UW International Educational Outreach and the Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center, a member of the Center for Experiential Learning and Diversity in Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

“Kindness Across Differences” by Kelsey Barrontes (team manager), Justin Taylor (story lead), and Hayata Yamada (technical lead);

“Water Resource Management” by Joyous Levien (team manager), Nancy Huizar (story lead), and Ryo Hagiwara (technical lead);

“The Global Impacts of Fair Trade” by Azusa Mogi (team manager), Riabelle Vivas (story lead), and Jon Torres (technical lead);

“The Right to Higher Education” by Yuriana Garcia (team manager), Mark Bello (story lead), and Shintaro Ishimura (technical lead).

“Reducing Education Gaps” by Yudai Yamaguchi (team manager), Shujing Zhao (story co-lead), Fang-Yin Liu (story co-lead), and Yusuke Honda (technical lead);

“Where do you come from?: Foster Care” by Shelby Hebert (team manager), Luther Mitchell-Walker (story co-lead), Mizuho Masai (story co-lead), and Yumiko Fukuhara (technical lead);

“A Journey with Food” by Kurt Blomdahl (team manager), Emi Okubo (story lead), and Jessica Bonilla (technical lead);

“Littering: The ‘Paper Ball’ Effect” by Shun Li (team manager), Vy Tran (story lead), and Philmon Haile (technical lead)



The Digital Storytelling course series has transitioned between a focus on Community-based Leadership, on Asset-based Community Development, and on Global Citizenship. Each course has supported students in expressing their views on, understanding of, and passion for affecting change in a variety of issues affecting our local and global community.


KRUMP in the Community: Youth Empowerment
by Michael Fujimoto and Duku Pitia
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