Sharing project success with digital storytelling

Jennifer at a Learning Networks event.Do you find sharing your project’s story a challenge? Or feel unsure how to showcase your participants’ achievements? Have no fear as digital media expert Jennifer Jones explains how Erasmus+ projects can flourish with digital storytelling.

It has never been easier to self-publish onto the Internet, and thanks to content communities (such as YouTube) anybody can become a ‘creator’, producing media and sharing it with their own personal audience.

Digital storytelling is the umbrella term to describe the process of using digital tools to tell stories. There are unlimited ways in which we can tell our own story, or represent the experiences of participants who engage with our projects. Examples include video, audio, writing, blogging and social media.

By capturing the process behind the scenes of activities, we are able to build up an ongoing picture of what is happening, whilst it is happening, rather than waiting to produce a final report or video at the end of the project. This is known as product media.

Product media v process media

Product media is the final product - a film, a written report, a series of resources. Process media is how we develop ideas. This could include blog posts and reflections, tweeting at events, taking photos from behind the scenes, interviews with participants and facilitators.

We should produce process media under the principle that it’s good to go as is, meaning you should take and make this content with the aim to share it online, rather than collecting it privately. With this in mind, you should always consider how to make it look and sound good.

Ensure you have high-quality sound, clear images with relevant details. You can even use mobile apps for simple video editing, adding captions and logos to your content with ease.

How can I utilise tools to share my project?

To ensure the best results from the impact of process media, you should gather the content as you go. Use an overall hashtag for your project so that you can search for it easily. 

Also, you should use social media curation tools such as Twitter Moments and Wakelet, to back up and archive the materials in context. These are particularly great tools, as you can access them at a later date for reports, evaluations, case studies, presentations and more. 

All these tools for process media help you tell the ongoing story of your project and build a rich, archival record once it has finished.

Jennifer talking to beneficiaries.

Top tips to create brilliant digital storytelling

We asked our Erasmus+ beneficiaries about the dos and don'ts behind digital storytelling and how you can promote your project to new heights. Make sure you follow these useful tips when sharing your participants' experiences.

Do...
  • Encourage participants to take the lead - ensure they have a safe online space where they can share experiences, through photos, writing or video. Curate the strongest content and bring it all together with a common theme or event.

  • Use images – we all know pictures can paint a thousand words and what better way to tell your story than with participant photos (getting permission first) during and after the activity.

  • Have a prompt – think about your target audience and participants. Ask them questions that are easy to answer and create great talking points.
Don't...
  • Think video needs to be professionally shot – videos recorded with mobile devices can be just as, if not even more, captivating and endearing than professional footage as it brings your story to life.

  • Leave it too late – think ahead during your project and capture participants’ experiences when they return to record their highlights.

  • Forget to make the most of existing opportunities – use any promotional opportunities already happening within your organisation, such as contributing to newsletters or PR campaigns.

There are many ways Erasmus+ beneficiaries can disseminate their projects in the online world. You can find more information on digital storytelling, advice on social media and more tools in our digital toolkit.

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