The New Digital Storytelling, by Bryan Alexander

Alexander, Bryan. The New Digital Storytelling: Creating Narratives With New Media. Praeger, 2011.

In The New Digital Storytelling, Alexander addresses academic, practitioner and public audiences, arguing that digital platforms are effective mediums for storytelling and can be used successfully for research, learning and reaching large audiences. In Part I, Alexander first addresses what he calls, “creators and would-be-practitioners,” giving insight into the different sectors of digital storytelling, such as web and social media storytelling and gaming. As well, in Part I of his book, Alexander begins by defining what constitutes  “storytelling” using digital mediums, giving a survey of the series of new platforms in which these narratives take shape. Alexander argues that digital storytelling, with all of its diverse forms, is an effective means of telling a narrative, and provides a new medium for the nature of a story. Alexander also addresses the challenges of storytelling and how this affects public audiences. For instance, he explains how narratives are often associated with traditional literature and not digital mediums. Alexander gives the example of how public audiences often separate the digital world with storytelling, since they perceive that “data are cold, while stories are warm. Data lack intrinsic meaning, while stories are all about meaning” (4). In this way, Alexander notes digital storytelling can be a problematic issue within the digital humanities, as pubic audiences often separate the “digital” from  “storytelling.” In Part IV of his book, Alexander addresses how digital storytelling affects academic environments, communities and the challenges that digital storytelling poses in these environments. He also addresses challenges suggested by digital humanities scholars, and poses various solutions for these challenges that can be implemented in classroom environments (such as creating collaborative-based learning using digital storytelling). In Part IV, Alexander also illustrates examples of how digital storytelling serves as an effective tool for pedagogy in subjects pertaining to the humanities, using examples from secondary students and their instructors teaching subjects such as English and History. Ultimately, Alexander argues that storytelling across new digital mediums such as web-based programs and social media platforms, are effective means to communicate a narrative and can be particularly helpful for research and learning in educational environments.

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