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The New Digital Storytelling: Creating Narratives with New Media 3.8.2011 Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0313387494
ISBN-10: 0313387494
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  • The New Digital Storytelling: Creating Narratives with New Media
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is an essential guide for those of us trying to figure out how to use these cool new tools to make a real dent in the world around us--Bryan Alexander is out on an important frontier." (Bill McKibben, Founder, 350.org; Author, Educator, Environmentalist; Schumann Distinguished Scholar, Middlebury College)

"Bryan Alexander is a born teacher, born storyteller, an online veteran, and a wonderfully readable writer: a perfect formula for a book about digital storytelling. Whether you are a teacher, a parent, or a citizen interested in the ways digital media are transforming the age-old craft of storytelling, this book is for you." (Howard Rheingold, Critic and Writer, Stanford University)

About the Author

Bryan Alexander, PhD, is the director of research for the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE), headquartered at Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger; 3.8.2011 edition (April 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0313387494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0313387494
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #829,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This review is cross posted at: [...]

Bryan Alexander's The New Digital Storytelling, Creating New Narratives With New Media is an excellent, highly readable, and comprehensive treatment of storytelling in our digital world. Dr. Alexander manages in 230 pages of text to capture the universe of available methods, processes, resources and tools available to storytellers, as of 2010. His 36 pages of notes and bibliography includes an exhaustive list of websites and sources used.

Dr. Alexander aimed his book at "creators and would-be practitioners," storytellers looking for new digital ideas, to include teachers, marketers, and communications managers. Whatever your background, he assures in the introduction, "herein you will find examples to draw on, practical uses to learn from, principles to apply, and some creative inspiration." I can't speak for those in the target audience, but as one with but a casual interest in storytelling, I can say Dr. Alexander delivered! Over the course of the couple of days of reading, I came up with about a half-dozen ideas and discovered my MacBook Pro has a lot more under the hood than I ever appreciated or used.

That said, Dr. Alexander warns that his book is not a "hands-on manual" on the tech media discussed. In fact, he assumes the reader will not "be a technologist" and the material is presented accordingly. He says:

"The New Digital Storytelling straddles the awkward yet practical divide between production and consumption, critique and project creation."

The book is divided into four parts:

Part I Storytelling: A Tale of Two Generations

In Chapter 1 Dr. Alexander provides an unambiguous meaning to digital storytelling: "Simply put, it is telling stories with digital technologies.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For many reasons I cannot recommend this as a source of educational information.

Style: The author bloviates. Everything is meaningless in this book. He uses his literary degree to fill the book with inapt, empty and oftentimes confusing descriptors. The reading level for this book is clearly post-collegiate, however the content is supposed to be aimed at those with less knowledge of the internet - working professionals or undergraduate students. I can't imagine an 18-year-old being able to absorb any meaningful information from his ramblings. And that is not hyperbole. This is a book of ramblings: he uses references that he expects his audience to understand, but that have no bearing on the message he is trying to convey. He breaks out into tangents several times per paragraph. I have a Liberal Arts degree. I've read many textbooks on several subjects from just as many authors, and I have never had a harder time trying to glean what the intended message was supposed to be.

Content: The author has concocted what I can only assume he believes to be a clever analogy for online content. He calls collections of related content "books" for some reason. i.e. a blog post, a podcast and a youtube video on a single website to convey information about a single topic is a "book." I mean what in the..? I think the author is attempting to create an anecdote for people who do not understand web content or digital media; or people who only read books and never went online before. He has invented a version of reality where the digital world is a collection of stories told by several people. It's a strange, disconnected paradigm, and one which he expects the reader to understand implicitly.
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Format: Hardcover
This comprehensive overview of digital storytelling is brilliant, simply brilliant. Bryan Alexander's distinctive blend of literary and technological expertise contributes to his engaging description of multimedia narratives and related topics. As a professor aiming to enhance students' visual and digital literacy, I found this text to be inspiring and provocative. Almost every chapter as well as numerous references in the book's exhaustive bibliography prompted me while reading to conceptualize new class exercises, assignments, and course objectives. And as a former full-time writer, editor, and marketing consultant, I can imagine innumerable ways that Alexander's ideas may serve as catalysts to innovative marketing and promotional campaigns. Highly recommended for teachers, scholars, entrepreneurs, communications and other professionals, and anyone interested in exploring the unparalleled potential of digital storytelling to further countless pursuits.
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Format: Hardcover
Most readers will enjoy the review of platforms not often considered when discussing digital storytelling including games, augmented reality, and mobile devices. Combines discussion of good storytelling with current technologies very well. Technologists will appreciate the chapter on organizing and structuring a digital storytelling workshop.
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Format: Hardcover
I received this book as holiday gift and read it in its entirety while flying to and from the MLA conference in Seattle. As a college instructor who has been experimenting with gaming and networked writing with English students, I found this to be an invaluable resource. In fact, there were so many intriguing examples of web-based storytelling projects that I wound up springing for the in-flight WiFi just so I could hunt them down on my iPad. Granted, this book would have been better as an e-book with active hyperlinks to eliminate the flipping back and forth between the notes, references, and Internet content, but to marginalize what the book *does* offer because of this shortcoming seems misguided.

Also, there's a perfectly good reason why Alexander spends so much time talking about gaming: game culture is pervasive for high school and college-aged students. This is not a waste of time as some reviewers seem to think but rather provides a timely and much needed collection of resources to help instructors incorporate game-based methods of digital storytelling into their teaching practice. As someone who has used games in college courses with great success, the discussion of game narratives is essential as its influence on higher education will likely continue to grow.

If you want a how-to guide or a purely theoretical treatise, this is neither--although the book does provide a detailed chapter on how to get started and is theoretically well-grounded. However, if you want a book that provides a ton of examples of how digital storytelling is emerging in fascinating ways, it's well worth the (admittedly hefty) price tag.
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