Saturday, January 20, 2007

The digital revolution would have begun very differently if early computers had booted up in a word processor...

Excerpted from Jason's new book, Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: New Media Pathways to Literacy, Learning and Creativity...

Revelation #2: The digital revolution would have begun very differently if early computers had booted up in a word processor rather than a programming language.


It is hard to imagine, but in the early 1980s there wasn’t really any software! Word processors, spreadsheets and image editing programs were still far into the future. Computers booted up in a programming language, which was fine for the engineers among us. The rest of us would dig deep to find the programmer within and succeed after a fashion, despite our liberal arts degrees.

Even though programming was a calling few of us had, that didn’t stop me from using computers as storytelling machines. One of the first computer assignments I gave my high school students was to write a computer program that told a story about the values and principles that guided their lives. Despite clunky keyboards, fuzzy screens and truly inelegant software, the light of their stories shone through.

I have been involved with digital storytelling since the earliest days of personal computing, and although the tools have changed dramatically over the years, the nature of a good story – as well as the need to tell a good story – has not.

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