Digital Storytelling
Brien Gorham
By Brien Gorham
English Teacher  
December 6, 2018  
One of my favorite episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation is called “Darmok.” In this episode, Captain Picard must learn how to communicate with the Tamarians, an advanced alien race who speak only in allegory and metaphor. Of course, to decode this language, Picard must figure out the folklore and mythology of this culture, all while fighting off a dangerous beast on a strange planet. Star Trek teaches us that stories can be a powerful bridge, a way for people from different worlds to connect and bond. While we may not have to fight off dangerous monsters here on The Ridge, we do have an abundance of rich and wonderful stories waiting to be tapped.  
To help bring to life the stories of our students, we have engaged in a Digital Storytelling initiative here at Forest Ridge. The goal is to bring more opportunities to students to tell both their own stories and the stories of others through a variety of digital tools. Through the use of podcasting, “green screen” filming, stop motion, and more, students are learning new ways to reach wider audiences. We hope each student has multiple opportunities to engage in some form of digital storytelling throughout the school year so that she gains confidence in both the power of her own story and in her ability to engage with complex digital tools.  
To aid in this, the Digital Media Lab has added new audio tools and sound dampening to help students create richer audio productions. We now have a full time green screen set up in our new Center Studio and several students have learned how to use Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) to create green screen productions quickly and easily for class projects. Additionally, I have been working with a group of students to form the Ridge Film Lab, a project based group that helps students get film productions off the ground.  
Storytelling goes far beyond simple entertainment. Storytelling allows us to share experiences. It helps us cross bridges. It’s even become a marketing strategy for businesses. At Forest Ridge, we teach students to believe in the power of their own story and we give them the tools to shape those stories and share them with the world. And, on the off chance she finds herself on a hostile distant planet, she’ll know what to do when a strange alien says to her, “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra!”
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