Student Documentary Making and Digital Storytelling Projects


The objective of these projects is to help students to develop 21st century skills that will allow them to thrive in the changing would of media and communication. Throughout this project, students learn the following skills and knowledge:

Research Skills

Each student learns how to research a different aspect of the life and accomplishments of a great inventor of scientist that I assign to each group of student. For example, if I assign a group of students to make a documentary about Thomas Edison, the first task students need to perform is to research the life of this famous inventor and compile and abridge the information they will use for the narrative. The process is much like the process of writing an essay, but students are more engaged and exited about working on putting together a documentary that also involves choosing images, background music, video transitions, and other audio and visual effects which makes the research process more varied and fun.

Teamwork and collaboration

Students are all separated into small groups of 3 or 4 students. There are no set rules about working as a group, the only requirement is that they all put forth dedicated effort and work to accomplish the task of producing an professional informative documentary that could be used by others to learn important facts about the prominent inventor or scientist that they are assigned to research and present in documentary format. By working together as a team, students learn to be responsible, timely, and reliable. They must coordinate their efforts to meet deadlines, as well as to solve problems and overcome obstacles. The teamwork skills they develop are intended to be a preparation for collaboration and teamwork in college and in their future carriers and workplaces and effective teamwork and collaboration skills are in increasing demand.


In preparation for the narration which is at the heart of the documentary, students are required to carefully prepare the script they will use for the narration. Scriptwriting requires each student to carefully analyze, group, synthesize and organize the information they compiled during the research phase. This typically in the most time consuming and challenging part of the process, but it can also be the most rewarding and they element that ultimately defines the overall quality of the final product--the documentary.


In this phase of building a documentary, students are required to coordinate visuals with text and background music and where students determine which cinematic effects will be placed over which visuals and sounds. In essence, storyboarding is what determines the successful flow of the story. In the storyboard is usually included what the narrator will say or explain, as images or video clips appear on screen. Effective storyboarding skills are a

Narration: Students learn the basics of storytelling and documentary narration. Through the practice of narrating a story or events, students practice reading, pronunciation while at the same time ensuring that the information they convey is clear and understandable by the audience.

Video Editing: Students learn to use various video editing principles and tools. These video editing skills allow students to organize and present their thoughts, ideas, and digital work in an organized manner that allows the audience to keep their attention focused while they learn from the content of the material presented.

Student Documentary Project- Alexander The Great

Gutenberg's Biography and Contributions

The Student Documentary Project

In the student Documentary Project I teach my students how to make their own documentary. What I do is separate the class into small groups of 3 or 4 students and give each group a famous scientist or inventor they should research. To help them get on the right track, I suggest some sources of information they can use, and give them a list of questions about the topic/person they need to try to answer in their documentary.

Thomas Edison - The Great Inventor

Student Documentaries Project-Albert Einstein

Mohandas Gandhi

Digital Storytelling Project

Digital Storytelling is the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories. As with traditional storytelling, most digital stories focus on a specific topic and contain a particular point of view. However, as the name implies, digital stories usually contain some mixture of computer-based images, text, recorded audio narration, video clips and/or music. Digital stories can vary in length, but most of the stories used in education typically last between two and ten minutes.

Student Documentary Project


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